October 25, 2011—In conjunction with the exhibition Picturing Enlightenment: Thangka in the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, monks from the Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies in Ithaca, NY, worked for a period of four days in the college’s Frost Library to create a sand mandala.
Opening and closing ceremonies took place to mark the beginning and end of the sand mandala installation. After four days of meticulously placing sand onto the mandala platform, the monks dismantled the mandala and traveled with the sand from the Frost Library to the closest body of water, located near the Norwottuck Bike Path. Viewers of the installation accompanied the monks to the stream, where they remained a captive audience as they watched the sand enter the water. According to Tibettan Buddhist tradition, when sand meets stream, the blessings of the mandala are disseminated into the world for the benefit of all beings.