Buddhist monk constructing sand mandala at Numen Lumen Pavilion

The sand mandala, which features colorful sand carefully constructed by a Buddhist monk, is meant to spread healing and peace.

A Tibetan Buddhist monk is spreading healing and peace throughout the Numen Lumen Pavilion with the construction of a sand mandala through the end of the week.

Geshe Sangpo prays during the opening ceremony of the sand mandala construction.

Geshe Sangpo of the Kadampa Center for the Practice of Tibetan Buddhism in Raleigh, N.C., will be constructing the Green Tara sand mandala inside the Sacred Space until Friday at 3 p.m.

Sand mandalas are an ancient, sacred art form practiced by Tibetan Buddhist monks. The creations represent the perfect balance and harmony at the center of the Tibetan Buddhist religion, or as Kadampa Center Outreach Coordinator Elise Strevel describes it, the sand mandala is a “two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional meditative world.”

“When people come here to view and experience the creation of this mandala, which represents the calling together of all the positive, peaceful energy, they are each bringing a little piece of that energy with them, and they all leave with the collective energy they’ve generated,” Strevel said.

The sand mandala is carefully crafted by monks who use funnels to pour colorful sand into vibrant, geometric figures.

Geshe Sangpo uses special tools to create the sand mandala.

The Green Tara sand mandala represents the desire to achieve compassion, loving kindness, peace and goodwill. It honors Green Tara, the female Buddha of Compassion and Peace.

Sangpo and Strevel have come to campus for the fifth consecutive year to introduce the community to this ancient Buddhist ritual.

“It’s really so amazing that everybody has the desire, the aspiration, the intention of wanting some positive qualities — some peace and goodness and joy in this world,” Strevel said.

Following the sand mandala’s completion, it will be destroyed and its sand will be shared with the community and the earth to spread peace and to represent the importance of “reducing attachment.”

Visitors observe as Geshe Sangpo constructs the sand mandala inside the Sacred Space.

“It honors the way that everything is going to change,” Sangpo said. “Whether you are very famous, rich or beautiful, at the end of the day, all of us have to go. You don’t bring anything with you.”

Sangpo says, instead of holding onto the physical things we value, it is important to live a meaningful life by helping others.

“If you spend every day like that, your life is meaningful,” he said.

Visitors are encouraged to frequently stop by to see the sand mandala’s progress. Sangpo will continue to construct the sand mandala at the Numen Lumen Pavilion through Wednesday at 5 p.m., then again on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the mandala will be deconstructed.