Fix Reporter's Notebook

Buddhist Sand Art Created At Trinity College

Francis Byrne /


The mandala built at the Trinity College Austin Arts Center



Francis Byrne
Conn., U.S.A. – A recent mandala exhibit at the Trinity College Austin Arts Center showed the Buddhist art of sand.
The Sacred Art of Sand,” was open at the college for about a month before
closing over the weekend.
Buddhist nuns who came to the U.S. from Nepal to show this off are incredibly
skilled, using metal tubes to form intricate designs with colored sand. 
entering the room where the mandala is being made, you had to remove your
shoes, as is customary in their culture, and the atmosphere inside brought you
into another world. There was a distinct smell of incense, and as I walked in,
the nuns were in the middle of a melodic chant.
were all dressed in simple red robes with nearly all of their hair cut off.
mandala, a large circle with intricate symbols, sat alone in the middle of the
room, with a backdrop of an altar of the current Dalai Lama.                       
was a space where visitors could try the art of mandala making, and the nuns
even treated some of them to a display of their skill as they worked on the
mandala. The process is extremely physically straining, as it requires them to
bend over at unnatural angles and take great care with the delicate sand grains.
nuns escaped brutal treatment in Tibet to form the Keydong Thuk-Che-Cho-Ling
Nunnery in Kathmandu, Nepal. They are building a new monastery and their trip
to the U.S. was, in part, a way to raise funds for this.
October 14, the day after the exhibit closed, the mandala was destroyed by
being put back into the Connecticut River, as is custom with the work of art in
Buddhist culture.
the mandala was is a great experience, and I’m glad I did. I recommend that anyone
who has a chance to see a mandala do so when they can.