The cycle of existence in many and bright colors

As part of its weeklong Grand Opening Celebration, downtown Buddhist center Urban Dharma hosted the “Vast and Noble Heart Sand Mandala.”  The mandala ritual involves the extremely precise construction of Tibetan Buddhist iconography with colored sand.

Using straws and funnels, monks and other practitioners work together for as long as a few weeks on the intricate depictions. At Urban Dhrama, Ven. Khenpo Choephel Rinpoche, resident-lama of Three Rivers Dharma Center on Pittsburgh, Pa, and Ven. Lama Konchok Sonam, head-lama of Drikung Meditation Centerin Boston, presided over the five-day ritual.

And what happens with the delicate, detailed construction in the end? In the course of a vigil, the mandala will be deconstructed (e.g., swept into an urn) and ceremonially spilled into the French Broad River by 12 Bones on Riverside Drive. The “Dissolution of Mandala and Walk of Compassion Procession” takes place on Sunday, July 22, starting at 2:30 p.m. For more information about Urban Dharma and the week’s remaining events, visit

Photos by Max Cooper


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.