Five Tibetan monks (in exile) from the Gaden Shartse Monastery have been in town this past week sharing their philosophical and cultural traditions. Yesterday I visited the Maritime Heritage Center to see the specially trained monk complete the Sacred Medicine Buddha Sand Mandela. Before they leave today, the mandala, the beauty that took days to create, will be destroyed. The message: All is impermanent, transitory, attachment foolhardy.
As a microcosm of the universe, a mandala (accent on the first syllable) represents the journey towards enlightenment. Its creation is a meditation; so is its contemplation. Like most, it is a square shape with four gates and a circle at its center point. This particular mandala is aimed at healing, sending positivity into the environment and comes at a propitious time for our community inasmuch as the new hospital and wellness complex is completed. In fact, the monks have blessed the facilities.
At the heart of their visit, however, is the wish for peace. At the end of the PBS News Hour on Friday, Judy Woodruff took a moment to reflect on the difficult week it has been—for all of us, especially those most directly affected by the massacre in New Zealand and the crash in Ethiopia. Until she somberly addressed her colleagues, acknowledging them, I had not internalized how devastating reportage in times like ours must be. I had not weighed the emotional cost to those who love their jobs yet deal in tragedy with no end in sight.
In the wake of what has happened in New Zealand, in Pittsburg, in Charleston, and throughout the world, the monks’ message of peace bears amplification.