The Venerable Tenzin Yignyen, an instructor of Asian languages and cultures, was recently featured in the Democrat and Chronicle for creating a sand mandala at the Harley School in Brighton, N.Y. The mandala is a religious image made with colored grains of sand; Yignyen and students dismantled the mandala through a ritualistic ceremony at the end of his visit.
A photo essay of Yignyen’s time at the Harley School is on the Democrat and Chronicle’s website.
Yignyen, a high-ranking monk within the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery, has taught at the Colleges since 1998. He was ordained as a monk and entered Namgyal Monastery in Dharmsala, India in 1969. He completed studies of the monastery, including the monastic rituals and philosophical studies. In 1985, he received the monastery’s highest degree, “Master of Sutra and Tantra” with highest honor, which is equivalent to a Ph.D.
He has constructed sand mandalas in many different venues, including colleges and schools, art museums, Times Square in New York City and at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington, D.C. He has also constructed mandalas in Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia.