Tibetan Monks Create Medicine Buddha Mandala at Bastyr

The final masterpiece, the Medicine Buddha, displayed on the last day at the clo

Hundreds of thousands of grains of sand. 31 hours. 10 Tibetan monks. Five days. One incredible sand mandala. That’s what the Bastyr University Kenmore community experienced in early May 2014, as the monks returned to campus to create one of their stunning masterpieces.

For one week, from Monday through Friday, nearly a dozen monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India worked with painstaking detail on the sand mandala in the University's Chapel, using vibrant colors and very steady hands. The finished piece portrayed the Medicine Buddha, symbolizing health and living.

“It was fitting that we made this sculpture at Bastyr University,” said Khentul Rinpoche, the group’s leader. “Naturopathy gels perfectly with the theme of our creation, in that both strive to focus on the root cause of one’s health.”

At the end of the week, the mandala was swept away. The sand was carried to Lake Washington and washed away, spreading the Medicine Buddha’s health into the body of water.

The monks’ Bastyr visit was one of many at colleges and universities across the country: They were at the University of Tennessee and University of Missouri prior and were headed to the University of New Mexico after.

The visit to campus, courtesy of the University’s Student Council, marks a return for the monks who last visited in 2010.