Students in HWS sand mandala class displayed work–then destroyed it
(April 29, 2005) GENEVA, N.Y.—Buddhist tradition dictates that a mandala that has taken months to create must be ritually dismantled and dispersed in a body of water, symbolizing the impermanence of life.
The Venerable Tenzin Yignyen and his sand mandala students performed just such a ceremony, capping off the 15 weeks they have spent creating the sand mandala together by pouring it into Seneca Lake. The closing ceremony was held on May 7 in the atrium of the L. Thomas Melly Academic Center of the Warren Hunting Smith Library and concluded on shore of Seneca Lake.
Tenzin, an instructor of Asian languages and cultures at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a high-ranking monk within the Dalai Lama's personal monastery, swept his intricate and colorful sand creation, scooping the grains into a pot and pouring the grains into Seneca Lake. All in attendance walked with him to the lake. The action was done in recognition of the Tibetan belief that man-made creations are insignificant.
Tenzin joined the HWS faculty in 1998 to complement the staff and aide in the Colleges' pursuit of global awareness among students. In addition to creating the mandala, he is an instructor in meditation, Tibetan Buddhism and art, as well as Asian studies.