Living Mandala at center of Tibet Week

By Leslie King | Emory Report | March 26, 2012

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Tibet Week events began March 26 with a public ground-laying of the Living Mandala and a blessing ceremony. Emory Photo/Video.

Emory holds its 12th annual Tibet Week beginning March 26 through March 31. This year's events revolve around the circular symbol of the mandala with the planting of a "Living Mandala" in the Pitts Garden outside Cannon Chapel as a highlight.

All of Tibet Week's events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, all will take place at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on campus.

Events begin Monday, March 26 with a public ground-laying of the Living Mandala and a blessing ceremony, to be led by Geshe Lobsang Negi and monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery, at noon in Pitts Garden.

The public plantings of the living mandala are Tuesday, March 27, noon to 2 p.m. and Wednesday, March 28, noon to 3 p.m. in the garden. A consecration ceremony is Thursday, March 29 at 6 p.m. with the Drepung Loseling monks.

Rosemary Magee, vice president and secretary of the University, says the Living Mandala is a collaboration between Emory landscape architect James Johnson and the Dreprung Loseling monks. Campus Services' Jimmy Powell is advising on the types of plants to be used and their care.

"Everyone is invited to take part in the assembling and planting of the mandala," says Johnson.

The Living Mandala "is a wonderful way to remember members of the Emory community, their contributions and their spirits," says the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, dean of the Chapel and Religious Life, whose office is hosting the Living Mandala.

It "will also offer a place for quiet reflection and meditation in our sometimes noisy and complicated lives," Magee says.

To see different types of mandalas, including paintings, three-dimensional works, portable mandalas, and ritual objects related to mandala ceremonies, visitors can view the Carlos Museum's special exhibition, "Mandala: Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism" through April 15. 

Talks and panel discussions on Buddhism's relationship to science, medicine, life and death are also planned for Tibet Week.

"Opening to Life While Facing Death" with Susan Bauer-Wu and Geshe Dadul Namgyal will be March 26 at 7:30 p.m. They will discuss Buddhist and secular practices for approaching death and dying. Bauer-Wu, assistant professor in the School of Nursing and a meditation and mindfulness expert, will sign copies of her book, "Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious and Life-limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion and Connectedness," at 6 p.m. prior the discussion.

"Tibet is Burning: Reflections on the Rise of Self-Immolations in Tibet" will feature Lobsang Nyandak, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Representative to the United States, on the political situation in Tibet. This discussion, on March 27 at 7:30 p.m., is sponsored by Students for a Free Tibet.

"Tibetan Medicine: Mapping Current Research and Charting Future Directions," a panel discussion, is March 28 at 7:30 p.m. Traditional Tibetan Medical doctors Pema Dorjee, Tashi Dawa and Tenzin Choedon and doctoral student Tawni Tidwell discuss research at Emory related to this type of medicine.

"Buddhism & Science: An Unholy Alliance?" is a panel discussion where Geshe Lhakdor and David McMahan will reflect on the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, moderated by Geshe Lobsang Negi at 7:30 p.m. on March 29.

Meditation will be held Monday through Friday at 5 p.m. each day with different leaders, including Bauer-Wu, John Dunne, Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Bobbi Patterson and Geshe Dadul Namgyal.

For more information on all events, visit www.tibet.emory.edu.