- April 7, 2018
- 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
CIIS Main Building
Desai | Matta Gallery
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Mandala of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig ): The Mandala of Compassion
In the fall of 2017 two monks from the Tibetan Buddhist Sera Jey Monastery of India were in residence at CIIS for one week to create a mandala of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. After an incredible week of meditation, attention, care, and artful engagement, the monks graciously allowed us to preserve it for several months. On April 7, 2018, at 2pm–timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of CIIS–the monks will return to CIIIS to complete the final stage of sand mandala ritual, its dissolution and dispersal back to its elemental forms so it can be transferred into the ocean, thereby spreading its blessings.
Buddhist sand mandalas are tangible manifestations of the ephemeral nature of all things. Contemplation of mandalas are said to engender tender feelings of compassion for all living beings who also are subject to the vagaries of impermanence.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word, and its Tibetan equivalent is dkyil-'khor, meaning 'that which encircles a center.' A mandala is the palace, or celestial residence of the "deity" - a symbol of wisdom and compassion. The structure of this palace models that of the ancient palaces in India. Every aspect of a mandala structure has a deep meaning.
All four directions have doorways that represent the four immeasurable qualities of love, compassion, joy and equanimity. In the center hub of the mandala is the seed syllable HRIH, which represents the essence of Avalokiteshvara. This syllable can be understood as the visual and sonic manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, containing the essence of his enlightened qualities. A fire wall and a ring of Vajras surround the mandala and protect it from negative energies and conditions.