Tibetan monks return to Durango

Creation of sand mandala began Tuesday

Tibetan monks Konchok Jampa, right and Lobsang Tsundu from the Gaden Shartse Monastary work on a sand mandala at the Open Shutter Gallery in 2015. The monks are returning to Durango to raise money for their monastery. Enlargephoto

Durango Herald file

Tibetan monks Konchok Jampa, right and Lobsang Tsundu from the Gaden Shartse Monastary work on a sand mandala at the Open Shutter Gallery in 2015. The monks are returning to Durango to raise money for their monastery.

Six Tibetan monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India will be in Durango until July 17 to offer teachings and blessings.

Peaceful Heart of Durango, a volunteer organization, will help host events throughout the week.

This will be the monks’ fourth visit to Durango. They depend on donations for their survival.

“They visit the States every few years, and we are lucky to be one of their stops,” said Suzanne Tyrpak, a volunteer with Peaceful Heart of Durango. “There are approximately 1,600 monks, students and refugees at their monastery in India. Donations will provide food, education materials and upkeep for their monastery. They live on $2 a day in India, so every dollar helps, and it is tax deductible.”

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the monks will begin constructing a sand mandala at Sorrel Sky Gallery and dedicate it to the Buddha of Wisdom.

It takes anywhere from 75 to 125 hours to complete the mandala, which is created by hand from colorful sand.

The mandala will be ritualistically dismantled at 4 p.m. July 15, when the monks will pour it into the Animas River as a symbol of life’s impermanence. Attendees will receive a small portion of the sand as a remembrance.

The monks also will offer personal, home and business blessings by appointment.

Donations are accepted at all events, but no one will be turned away.

Tibetan monk Lobsang Tsundu works in 2015 to create a sand mandala, a spiritual symbol in Buddhism. Enlargephoto

Durango Herald file

Tibetan monk Lobsang Tsundu works in 2015 to create a sand mandala, a spiritual symbol in Buddhism.

Jangchub Chophel, left, Geshe Tenzin Dhonag, center left, and other members of the Gaden Shartse Monastery in southern India make their way to the Animas River in 2011. Enlargephoto

Durango Herald file

Jangchub Chophel, left, Geshe Tenzin Dhonag, center left, and other members of the Gaden Shartse Monastery in southern India make their way to the Animas River in 2011.