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Living Mandala Takes Root at Emory

April 27th, 2012 No comments

It all began with a trip to Dharamsala, India, in the summer of 2010.

An Emory Arts delegation comprised of University vice president and secretary Rosemary Magee, visual arts professor Julia Kjelgaard, dance professor Anna Leo, director of education at the Carlos Museum Elizabeth Hornor, associate VP of communications Nancy Seideman, senior editor Hal Jacobs and others met with His Holiness the Karmapa, one of the highest incarnate lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

At his monastery, along with Emory-Tibet Partnership director Geshe Lobsang Negi, an Emory study-abroad class and guests, they learned about the Karmapa’s idea to develop a  Living Mandala as a creative way of inspiring Tibetans and others to appreciate and value the environment. For the Karmapa, the construction is a spiritual practice much like the Tibetan Buddhist practice of the “mandala offering,” whereby the spiritual aspirant offers up the entire universe in purified form to the enlightened beings. (A mandala is a sacred representation of the universe as it appears from the perspective of full enlightenment.)

The seed was planted, leading the Emory Arts delegation to collaborate with others on campus to create a space that would reflect the convergence of spirituality, environmental care, healing, and the arts. Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, dean of the Chapel and Religious Life, offered to host this Living Mandala in the Pitts Garden so as to honor those who have come before us and whose memories continue to live among us.

On seeing the work in progress, Lobsang Nyandak, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative to the U.S., said he believes it is the first living mandala in North America.

The garden was kicked off with a public ground laying and a blessing ceremony on March 26, 2012,  led by Geshe Lobsang Negi and monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery. Students and the public, under the direction of University Landscape Architect James Johnson, moved dirt and gravel and tended to plants over the next several days. The final consecration ceremony was held March 29 with the Drepung Loseling monks in attendance.

See Emory news release about 2012 Tibet Week

Short Videos about Emory’s Living Mandala

Photo #1 by Juana Clem McGhee, #2 by Myron McGhee, #3 by Hal Jacobs.

The Living Mandala Honors Emory’s Community

March 15th, 2012 No comments

The Living Mandala, located in the Pitts Gardens of Cannon Chapel, honors those who have come before us and whose memories continue among us. This memorial tribute is dedicated to Emory faculty, staff, students, including their families and friends. We wish to commemorate their spirit, which sustains community and brings healing to the earth and joy to humankind. The planting will be designed and created by members of the Emory community together with the monks of Drepung Loseling monastery.

The seeds of the inspiration for the Living Mandala took root in the summer of 2010 in a conversation between Emory faculty, staff and students with His Holiness the Karmapa at his monastery near Dharamsala, India, about the necessity of raising environmental awareness in India and around the world.

His idea of establishing mandalas created from monastery plantings led to the plan for a “Living Mandala” on the Emory campus as a collaborative endeavor reflecting the convergence of spirituality, environmental care, healing, and the arts.

This Living Mandala offers a contemplative place to all who seek moments of reflection and restoration, and who aspire to sustain the earth and our community through spirituality, healing, and creativity.

Schedule

Monday, March 26 – Noon, Opening Ceremony; 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm – Public Planting

Tuesday, March 27 – 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm – Public Planting

Wednesday, March 28 – 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – Public Planting

Thursday, March 29 – 6:00 pm – Closing Ceremony

For more information, contact Elizabeth Hornor, Marguerite Colville Ingram Director of Education, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, ehornor@emory.edu

 

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