CSU, Chico News

Rare Mandala to be Created at Beginning of Spring Semester

Date: 12-21-2007

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

As California State University, Chico students return to campus for the spring 2008 semester, they will be treated to a rare sand mandala being created by a well-known Tibetan scholar and teacher.

The Venerable Lama Losang Samten, founder of the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia, will be creating the Kalachakra sand mandala in the ground floor mall of the Bell Memorial Union from Jan. 28 until March 1.

Samten has special permission from His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, to create this intricate, multi-hued mandala, known as The Wheel of Time. He will be working on the mandala from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays, taking time during the day to discuss the project with interested parties.

While in Chico to create the mandala, Samten will also be speaking to some CSU, Chico classes and will participate in the Tibetan Cultural Festival, to be held Feb. 16 and 17 at the Masonic Family Center in Chico.

Born in central Tibet, Samten and his family fled the country in 1959 and resettled in Nepal and later India. As a boy, he became a Buddhist monk and joined the Namgyal Monastery. In 1988, he came to the United States at the direction of the Dalai Lama to demonstrate the meditative art of sand painting. Since then, he has created sand mandalas at museums and universities around the world.

Samten has established Tibetan Buddhist centers in Hartford and El Paso as well as Philadelphia. In 1995, he gave back his monastic vows to lead a lay practitioner’s life of scholarship and teaching. In 1995-96, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching the Tibetan language.

Sponsors for the event include the CSU, Chico Peace Institute; the Religious Studies Student Society; Psi Chi, the psychology student honor society; and Sigma Tau Delta, the English student honor society.

Lyn Dean, CSU, Chico Peace Institute board member and an organizer of the event, said every detail of the Kalachakra mandala has symbolic meaning and represents the progression toward a state of awakening and inner peace.

Dean said the public is invited to take part in opening and closing ceremonies. On Jan. 28, sand for the mandala will be ritually collected. After the mandala is completed on March 1, some of the sand used will be distributed to those present, and some returned to nearby Chico Creek.

To participate in the event or for more information, contact Dean at 879-0972.