Day One with the Drepung Loseling monks in Library Hall

August 14, 2010

Opening ceremonies packed Library Hall and filled the air with an incredible energy brought on by the monks’ deep-throated chanting, the clash of cymbals and the vibration of their long horns.

Blessing the Yampa Valley environment and dazzling the crowd

Chanting over the colored sand.

The deep call of long Tibetan horns reverberates throughout the Library.

After the ceremony, the monks started the intricate drawing of the lines for our chosen mandala: Avalokiteshvara, which signifies compassion.  Preparing to lay down the sand required hours of delicate geometric calculations using a large compass, snap lines and rulers — laying down the outline for the mandala in chalk.

The drawing of the lines begins.

Lines got increasingly complex before the monks erased the segments that they will not need for the mandala design.

And the laying down of the sand began!

The monks mix their own sand colors starting from a plain marble sand. The nontoxic pigments will be harmless when the monks send them down the Yampa River on Wednesday.

The mandala's first sands...and the base for many layers to come.

The 10 monks took turns laying down layer upon layer of sand throughout the day. Sometimes, as many as four of them worked at once. Other times, when things got particularly delicate, only two would work at a time.

By the end of the day, minute details were being painted grain by grain.

The end of day one…where the monks left off.

Steamboat's mandala of compassion at the end of day one.

The monks have finessed the heart of the mandala to reflect subtle shading, astounding intricacy and three-dimensional elements.

And where the community sand painting left off…
It’s nearly completed by hundreds of enthusiastic kids and adults alike who skillfully worked the chakpurs all day long! We’ll be wiping it away so everyone can help recreate it again throughout the week.

The blank slate at the start of the day: Our community sand painting with the wonderful volunteers who learned their sand painting techniques first-hand from the monks so they can now help you!

The end of the day: Local artists embraced the ancient art of sand painting, nearly bringing Debi Champlin's design to completion.

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~ by steamboatlibrary on August 14, 2010.

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