Today, on Monday 21st September, the United Nations International Day of Peace, and two days before the Autumn Equinox, Tibetan monks from Tashi Lhunpo monastery in India are building a sand mandala especially for the volunteers of Cherry Tree Nursery. The monks, exiled from their homeland, have visited the charity project before, to bless the nursery on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Items such as yak wool shawls and singing bowls from the monastery’s UK Trust are sold at the Nursery’s plant sales.
A Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from coloured sand, and are an important part of the unique Tibetan Buddhist culture. The intricate designs are made up with grains of coloured sand to depict the palace of the Buddhas. At the completion of the sand mandala, it is ritualistically destroyed to illustrate the impermanence of existence and to release the Buddhas back to their realms. This is done in accordance with tradition with special prayers and music. Sand from the finished sand mandala is distributed in flowing water so that its health-giving properties can be spread as widely as possible.
The Cherry Tree Nursery is a Bournemouth charity based on horticulture, providing meaningful occupation in a supportive environment, aiming to restore well-being to people with mental illness.
The event is taking place today from 8:30am until 3pm. It is open to the public, who are asked to be discreet and sensitive to the project.