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Monks create sand mandalas

Eileen JoyceLobsang Wangchuk is one of six monks from India who are constructing sand mandalas during their visit here.
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Six monks, from India’s Gaden Shartse Ling Monastery visiting Nevada County for the next few weeks, have a special connection here.

“The late Gesche Lobsang Gyatso, a monk who used to teach in Nevada County in the 1980s, would say this place is very unusual because of the gold,” explained Lobsang Wangchuk, originally from California and who has led his fellow monks on their American tours for 15 years. “Gesche Gyatso said people’s karma went through cycles faster here.”

His third annual visit here, Wangchuk agrees that Nevada County is unusual in that “very open-minded beings live here.”



This year’s 4-foot wide sand mandala or intricately-detailed and colorful symbolic art is called the “Wheel of Life,” based on Buddhist cyclic existence teachings from 2,500 years ago.

The mandala, which was begun this past Monday at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center and should take two weeks to complete, illustrates the far-reaching effects an individual’s actions can have, Wangchuk noted.




Lectures about the mandala will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Monday at the cultural center.

“We hope that people have a new view of their life, to transform themselves, bring peace and harmony to the community,” Wangchuk said. “It starts with an individual, then goes to family and spreads through the community. Spread wisdom, love and compassion.”

Group healing empowerment sessions, in which negative energy is removed from individuals, will be at 3 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31.

The construction of the sand mandala can be viewed daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sand mandala viewing closes two hours before the lectures and empowerment sessions. The mandala dissolution ritual at St. Joseph’s will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 1.

St. Joseph’s Cultural Center is at 410 S. Church St., Grass Valley.

The monks will build a smaller sand mandala at North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center on the San Juan Ridge from Feb. 2 to Feb. 5.

A lecture will be on Feb. 4 and the mandala dissolution ritual at the Schoolhouse will be on Feb. 5.

Suggested donation for the empowerment sessions, lectures and destruction ritual is $15 each. Proceeds will go to the monastery.

Call 272-4725 or 265-7737 or check http://www.sierrafriendsoftibet.org for more information.


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