As part of the Mohawk Valley Community College Cultural Series, the Venerable Tenzin Yignyen, ordained Tibetan Buddhist Monk and visiting professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will create a ceremonial sand mandala in the library in Payne Hall at MVCC’s Utica Campus.
Yignyen will work on the mandala from 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, through Thursday, Feb. 20, and 6-7:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, Feb. 17 and 19. The public is welcome to watch him at work. Admission is free.
A mandala is a cosmic diagram that represents the dwelling place of a deity, a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of the mandala made from colored sand. It is ritualistically dismantled once it has been completed, and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.
After taking four full days to create the mandala, Yignyen will dismantle his work in a ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 20, during which he will pour the sand into a body of water just a short walk away from the College’s Utica Campus. This ceremony begins in the Payne Hall library and is open to the public.
Yignyen was ordained as a monk by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and entered Namgyal Monastery in Dharmsala, India, in 1969. He completed studies of the monastery, including the monastic rituals and philosophical studies. In 1985, he received the monastery’s highest degree, “Master of Sutra and Tantra,” with highest honor. In 1989-1990, he assisted in the research and translation for the book “The Wheel of Time Sand Mandala,” in conjunction with the Samaya Foundation in New York City.
The Cultural Series is brought to you by MVCC’s Cultural Events Council, in collaboration with MVCC’s Program Board, with significant support from the Student Activity Fee. The series maintains a major social media presence that can be followed on Facebook at “MVCC Cultural Series.” For the complete series lineup and ticket sales, visit www.mvcc.edu/culture.