Union College


News Releases for the the Week of: April 05, 2005

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12 Tibetan monks to visit from April 11-15

'Monk cam' to show live construction of 'Sand Mandala of Wisdom' in Nott Memorial

Twelve Tibetan monks from the Gaden Jangtse Monastery in India will be visiting Union College from April 11-15 for a series of events, including a meditation lesson, multi-tonal chanting concert, a philosophical debate, and the four-day construction of a colorful "Sand Mandala of Wisdom" in the Nott Memorial.

This is the monks' second visit to Union. A group of seven was here in October 2001. The monks are again visiting several colleges in the U.S. and Canada from their home monastery in Mundgod, South India, in order to share the rich heritage and sacred arts of Tibet.

Monk Mandala

The monks will work on the mandala Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The construction of the colorful and intricate mandala will be broadcast live via the College's website at http://www.union.edu/monkcam/.

A video installation, Nanomandala will also be on exhibit through April 24 on the first floor in the Nott Memorial, in conjunction with the visit .

Nanomandala was created by UCLA artist Victoria Vesna and UCLA nanotechnologist James Gimzewski, based on a mandala created by monks from the Gaden Lhopa Khangtsen monastery in India.  The artists note that the purposeful arrangement of individual atoms bears some resemblance to the methods monks use to laboriously create sand images -- particle by particle. 

Other events during the monks' visit, all free and open to the public, will include:

The monks will dismantle the mandala during the closing ceremony then travel to the Mohawk River at Union's boathouse pier to release the sand into the river. Buses will be available for those who would like to accompany the monks to the river for the conclusion of the dismantling ceremony.

The monks, along with a translator, will also visit various classes at Union. Several groups of elementary and middle school students will come to campus to watch the monks build the sand mandala, including students from the Kenney Center, Girls Inc., a Brownie troop, and Capital District schools.

The original Gaden Jangtse Monastery was established in 1409, and at one point was India's second largest monastery with 7,000 monks. Little of the original monastery remains after the 1959 Communist invasion of Tibet. The monastery was re-established in South India, and now serves about 3,000 monks.

The monks' visit to Union is funded through a Freeman Foundation grant of the East Asian Studies Department.

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