SAVANNAH, Ga. – A Savannah writer concerned about recent violence in his city has called on Tibetan monks to bring peace.
In response to a request from Murray Silver, the monks started a two-week project Monday to create an intricate mandala, a detailed Buddhist sand design symbolizing the universe.
As a gesture of peace, the monks – exiled from Tibet, which is ruled by communist China – create several mandalas around the world each year. And now they hope to bring peace to Savannah, which, Silver said, is their favorite place to visit.
“I can’t tell the police how to do their job. I can’t tell the mayor how to do his job. Instead of just sitting down and complaining about it, I wanted to do something about it,” Silver said.
Silver lives near the Savannah shopping center where a police corporal was shot last December. The city also was struck by the shooting last month of a county commissioner’s son.
The mandala being created in Savannah is a duplicate of one requested by the Dalai Lama that was on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s Sackler Gallery in Washington soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Both mandalas depict a celestial mansion and are twice as large as a typical mandala.
About 50 people attended Monday’s opening ceremony where the monks, clad in traditional burgundy and yellow robes, chalked the initial design. In the upcoming days, they will fill the intricate blueprint, one found in ancient scriptures, with colored sand.
The monks pay no attention to passers-by and sing a deep chant while they work.
“Everything the monks do, they have been doing for 2,500 years,” Silver said. “None of this changes. This religion doesn’t undergo changes and fads.”
But the mandala will not last forever. To emphasize life’s impermanence and distribute healing energy, the mandala will be poured into the Savannah River on Jan. 18 after it is completed.
Information from: Savannah Morning News