Himalayan Buddhist Monks to Create a Sand Mandala at the Garden

09/26/2018 10:00 AM - 09/28/2018 04:00 PM PT


On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday September 26 - 28



The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden will host a very special spiritual event during the last week of September. From Wednesday the 26th through Friday the 28th, several Himalayan monks will create a Buddhist sand mandala at the center of the garden’s En Gallery as a prayer for peace and compassion. On Sunday, September 30th at 10:30am, the monks will perform the Dissolution Ceremony during which they will deconstruct the mandala that they have spent days creating – a lesson in the impermanence of all things.

A mandala is a Buddhist cosmological diagram that represents the enlightened realm of a Buddhist deity. It can also represent the world in harmony. Sand mandalas are a particularly powerful type of mandala, as they are constructed using millions of particles of sand that symbolize the potential for all beings to live together in harmony and peace if we all create more space for each other in our hearts. It is said that when a sand mandala is created, all sentient beings and the surrounding environment are blessed. All who view it experience joy and peace.

The monks are from the Ngari Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Ladakh. At the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, they will create the mandala of the Buddha of Compassion, the deity Avalokiteshvara (known in Chinese as Guanyin and in Japanese as Kannon), who is considered the most compassionate of all Buddhist deities as he has sworn to postpone his own enlightenment until all sentient beings have become enlightened.  The purpose of the construction of this particular mandala is to encourage everyone of us to generate a compassionate heart for the benefit of all sentient beings.

This special event is part of the monks’ 2018 Great Compassion Mandala Tour of the United States to raise awareness and funding to support the Ngari Institute in the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh. (Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama visiting the Ngari Institute.) Located in a small village called Saboo, the school was created to empower and enrich poor and needy students in this remote area by imparting a combined learning of both modern scientific knowledge and ancient Buddhist wisdom.

The creation of the mandala will take place at the En Gallery at Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden Wednesday through Friday, from 10am-4pm. Viewing of this sacred ceremony is free with garden admission. However, we do encourage our visitors to make a donation to the monks for sharing this ceremony with our guests. In the Buddhist tradition, both the act of creating a sacred image and the act of making an offering to those who create such imagery are good karma that help us all attain spiritual merit and a higher rebirth. All proceeds from the monks’ tour will serve the children of the Ngari Institute. (Photo: His Holiness the Dalai Lama visiting the Ngari Institute.)

For more information about the Himalayan monks who will be visiting us, please see www.ngariinstitute.org. To make a reservation for garden admission to watch the Dissolution Ceremony, please vist the Open Day Last Sunday event page.

  • Reservations close at 5pm the day before.
  • Members receive complimentary admission for two.
  • Children 12 and under are free.
  • The garden is wheelchair accessible.
  • Picnics welcome. Sorry, no pets allowed.
  • We are open rain or shine. We are unable to issue refunds.
  • The City of Pasadena prohibits street parking by our visitors on any of the surrounding streets in our residential neighborhood. Please follow the signs to park in one of the two driveways on the property. Being considerate of our neighbors makes it possible to offer the garden to the community.

(Events at a Glance)