The Sacred Footsteps Mandala tours have been a great success over ten years now, with six previous tours reaching hundreds and hundreds of people throughout Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Wherever they go, the monks are greeted warmly and their skills and patience fascinate all who see them.
The 2013 visiting monks arrived in Australia at the beginning of April and the 2013 Tour set out on an extensive tour throughout Victoria and New South Wales with 23 programs ahead of them during their six month stay with Drol Kar Buddhist Centre as their base.
The monks commenced the 2013 Sacred Footsteps Mandala tour with their first Mandala in Box Hill Victoria in the second week in April. They completed a beautiful mandala before moving on to their next engagement at Werribee Plaza Shopping Centre. During the tour the monks had the opportunity to attend His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Sydney in June.
The tour continued through until the end of September.
Our sincere thanks to Venerables Kalsang Dhondup, Tashi Gyaltsok and Geleck Palden for coming all the way to Australia to help. They worked very hard and we hope they enjoyed their time in our country.
See the SFT 2013 Itinerary to see where the monks travelled in the tour.
Some images from the tour
Purpose of the Monks’ Visit
•To share some of the most distinctive aspects of Tibetan culture with the people of Australia.
•To promote peace and cross-cultural relationships
•To promote the sponsorship programs Nying Jey Projects for Tibetan Communities (Australia) and help to improve eductional opportunities for young Tibetans in Tibet.
The mandala is a representation of an enlightened being’s place of residence and everything that is contained within it. Each part of the mandala is rich in symbolism and reminds the meditator of the insights
and states of mind and feelings he/she is trying to accomplish.
The exact design and proportions are laid down in ancient Buddhist text. The monks have memorised the text and carefully follow the iconography laid down long ago. Every part of the mandala symbolises different aspects of the teachings and the realisations of the enlightened being whose mandala it is.
Made by pouring fine trails of brightly coloured sand onto a mathematically precise framework, the mandala is a wonder of intricacy and detail. A full mandala takes 7 – 10 days to construct. Simpler forms can be created in 4 – 6 days. After completion, the whole beautiful creation is swept away in a matter of seconds and returned to the waters or the earth to remind us that all things are impermanent.
Chanting and meditation
The monks begin each day a short session of chanting. The deep intonation of the male voices join in unison in prayer creating a soothing and contemplative state of mind for the listener.
From the mysterious, magical, intriguing land of Tibet comes a rare opportunity to experience at close quarters the artistry and the traditions of an amazing country and its people.
A visit to your school by the monks can provide students with an unforgettable and unique experience.
The main offering in 2013 is the one day Sand Mandala Experience
A variety of other programs can be included in conjunction with the one day mandala creation: demonstrations of butter sculpture, sand art, Tibetan calligraphy; talks and forums; workshops, sand drawing, butter sculpting, making prayer flags, Tibetan calligraphy, meditation
Other features of the tour
The monks offer a variety of other experiences for a community such as pujas, blessings, private family prayers, Tibetan language and writing classes, participation in forums, cultural exchange, multi-faith events and visits to institutions such as hospitals, prisons, youth and elderly care facilities.
The Sacred Footsteps from the Roof of the World Mandala Tour made many friends over the six months – March to August 2011 – and most importantly achieved one its main goals of promoting sponsorships for Tibetan nuns and students in Tibet and for exiled monks and young people in India. The tour finished in Orange NSW on August 20, and the monks and tour staff returned to Paraparap to unpack the tour materials and spend a few restful days before saying goodbye and returning to India on August 27.
We thank Sonam Rinchen, Sonam Kalsang and Kalsang Dhondup very much for coming such a long way to be a part of this grand undertaking. They did a wonderful job. The mandalas were spectacular and they impressed everyone they met with their patience, discipline and friendliness.
We hope they enjoyed their six months as temporary ‘Aussie monks’.