Background Information


Buddha taught Mandala teachings 2500 years ago but until 1989, the sand Mandala construction was kept secret as part of Tantric teachings and was only given to very advanced practitioners by a highly qualified Lama. Previous to that date, the construction of the Mandala was performed by monks and nuns in monasteries and nunneries for initiation ceremonies and ritual practices. There was no opportunity for the public before that time, to see the construction of a Sand Mandala.

In 1989, the first Sand Mandala was created in the Natural History Museum in New York City by the Namgyal monks with help from the Samaya Foundation. Since that time, for the past two decades, the Tibetan monks and nuns have constructed and demonstrated the Sand Mandala throughout the world.

The purpose of constructing the Sand Mandala is not just to show the ancient beautiful art or to convert people to Buddhism. Rather it is to teach people the main message behind the Mandala itself.

There are many different levels of lessons that one can learn from the Mandala depending on one’s mental disposition, one’s interest and one’s Karma. But generally speaking, the Mandala is a reflection or expression of our inner self--- our inner positive qualities. It presents us with opportunities of how to cherish those qualities and a means to rid ourselves of negative qualities, so we may be happy and peaceful.

Five levels of essences that can be taken from practice of Mandala.

  1. For the advanced Buddhist tantric practitioner, Mandala is used where one receives initiations from ritual masters to preform rituals of visualizations that include invocation of the deities, making offerings and purifications etc. It is the place where you transform your ordinary state of mind into an enlightened mind.
  2. For the intermediate level, Mandala serves as a toll for spiritual development such as Love, Compassion, Patience, Humility, Self Discipline, Contentment and Wisdom to overcome negative emotions such as Hatred, Impatience, Ego, Undisciplined mind, Greed and Ignorance to promote ethical life.
  3. For the beginner, Mandala serves as an object of Meditation to develop mental stability and clarity to reduce anxiety, frustration, worry and stress etc. It is a method to remind us to live in the present moment.
  4. For the artist, Mandala is an ancient Tibetan art that has many fascinating unique qualities such as background history, meanings and purposes that reflect value of our life and remind us to live happy and let other live happy too. It is also part of cultural offering to the rest of the world from Tibet.
  5. Mandala is also used to purify and bless the people and the world from negative forces and to bring harmony and peace to the world. It is to remind us of the importance of educating the heart to become a warm hearted good human being to reduce man made problems that came from selfish narrow minded and greedy attitudes.

The message of the Mandala includes all the important elements that can make us a happy and a caring person.
The Mandala painting itself is very beautiful art but the main beauty and the uniqueness of the Mandala is in the meaning behind it which can beautify our life and world. The construction is also considered as a blessing for the area and for the people who live where it is constructed. Through the power of the Mandala the negative energy of the area can be removed and the positive energy can be established.

There is no one specific measurement for a Mandala. It is considered in the realm of infinite bliss and an inconceivable enlightened universe—the highest one that human beings could ever achieve. So, a Mandala could be as large or vast as the Universe or as small as the size of a palm of a hand. In Buddhist scripture, there are many different sizes mentioned.

Personal Information

I have taught classes in Mandala painting and sand Mandala construction at colleges, and have been invited to teach at Museums, Art Galleries, religious institutions and at educational centers all over the world.

In teaching the Mandala at these different locations to all those who attend, I try to teach people how important is the inner treasure of Love, Compassion, Kindness, Patience and Contentment for individual development and for peace in the world as well. At the same time, I note how destructive Hatred, Desire, and Ignorance can be in our lives.


In the monastery, the size of the Mandala table is 7’ square and 3’ to 6' high.
The following information is suggested for your preparation.

Preparations for construction:

1. table for Mandala [size depending on the particular Mandala]
2. table for altar 3’ x 2’ x 3’ x 5” approx.
3. table for tools 2’x 1’ 5” x 2’ approx.
4. 24 clear plastic cups
5. 2 vases with flowers
6. 3 lb. uncooked rice
7. A plate of fruit
8. 2 packets of incense
9. 2 packets of tea light candles
10. A pitcher and a lighter
11. A meditation cushion
12. A CD or cassette player
13. 2 table cloths

The Mandala table is to be prepared ahead of time. Items 2 -12 can be prepared the day before the construction begins. Most of these items are for the altar.


• Hosts will cover all transportation expenses of the monk or monks, including round trip fare [air, bus, taxi, train, etc...] from the home of the monk/s to the location of the construction.
• Hosts will cover food, housing, and material costs.
• Honorarium of $250 per monk, per day.

Work Schedule for monks:
Each day -9AM to 4PM
Meditation for 30 -40 minutes every morning before the Mandala construction.
12: 30 PM 1:30 PM Lunch Break
1:30 PM – 4:00 PM Continue work

First Day-9AM begins the setting of altar
9:45 Monk/s draw outlines of the Mandala & apply sand

On the dismantling day:
Meditation, completion of Mandala, viewing by audience.
12:00 PM- 1:00PM dismantling of Mandala which includes a short ritual ceremony, and the placement of blessed sand in containers followed by return of sand to a nearby body of water.

NOTE: Everyone is welcome to meditate and to watch the Mandala construction as the monk works.
Questions are welcomed.