Tibetan Monks, closing ceremony

The Tibetan Buddhist monks spent their final morning at the Palo Alto church. In addition to completing the sand mandala, they chanted for ten minutes in each worship service. As beautiful as the sand mandala was, I enjoyed the chanting the most: something about the low notes they managed to produce with their throat-singing, or more properly overtone singing, really got to me.

And of course they destroyed the sand mandala in a closing ceremony. They chanted for a good twenty minutes, and then one of them walked around the table and then drew his hand radially out from the center across the design in each quadrant and then again between each of those places. Then another monk came and swept the sand into the center; he used an ordinary four inch paint brush, which I thought was a nice touch; the best religious ceremonies mix the sublime with the ordinary.

The closing ceremony, just before the monks destroyed the mandala.

After the ceremony was over, I was talking with someone who said that twenty minutes of their chanting was plenty for her; but I said I disagreed, and could easily have listened for another hour.

One thought on “Tibetan Monks, closing ceremony”

  1. 2 recovered comments

    Jean says:
    January 20, 2011 at 4:44 am
    Wow. That’s extraordinary. I love the way it ends, just gone. Like a good book — you read it, you get to the end, you close the book, and it’s gone, but still there. Lovely.

    Dan says:
    January 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm
    Jean @ 1 — Nice. I was thinking more about a performance of a piece of music, but yeah — the text that pre-exists one’s reading of it, and that persists after one has finished reading.

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