A Visit With the Drepung Gomang Monks
I attend a small Spiritualist Church, The JourneyWithin, located in New Jersey. Its humble beginning is a story in itself. Recently, we invited the Deprung Gomang Monks to honor us with a visit and were elated when they agreed to come. The Monks go on tours throughout the states (and perhaps the world), to bring awareness of their plight, share their traditions and to spread a message of peace and unity. Although all of our beliefs may not be the same, during their visit it didn’t matter. You just wanted to be around them. You needed to feel their energy. To be in their presence, you immediately felt the calmness and inner peace that is their very core.
They had an opening and closing ceremony filled with music, chanting and blessings. They chanted for us and we sung for them. It was moving to say the least, and they appreciated us just as much as we appreciated them. In between the ceremonies was when they worked on the most incredible peace mandala. If you’re not familiar, a mandala is a colorful piece of artwork made up of symbols. It may include a variety of religious symbols, elements (earth, wind, and fire), people, etc. Each symbol has a meaning and a purpose.
To create the mandala, a chalk drawing using rulers and string, so that the lines are precise, are first drawn out on a wooden platform. Fine sand is dyed with brilliant colors and inserted into long metal cone/tube like instruments, which the monks then use to gently tap out sand, a few grains at a time. Sections are carefully layered until they become three dimensional. They are precise and meticulous in their work. What it represents to them means too much to allow for error, and you immediately sense its importance.
I sat in our little chapel and watched these talented Monks sit on the ground, legs crossed pretzel style and work for hours on this mandala. I crossed my legs and meditated, totally absorbing the energy from the room. The chanting music playing in the background filling me, and I allowed myself to let go and chant along within my mind. I felt safe and I felt accepted.
In most cases the finished mandala is destroyed by sweeping up the sand and setting it free in a nearby body of water symbolizing that nothing has permanence. The waters are said to carry healing energy throughout the world. Some, like my church, opt to preserve it so it can remain on display. Not an easy feat, but it can be done.
Several weeks after their visit, I was still basking in the afterglow of their energy. Their message of peace, unity and healing is one we should all share. We must do better, be better, be selfless and be more giving. Recognize that there is no I alone and that we are truly one. We need to heal and to be healed so we may all persevere.
Love & Light be with you always - Leslie