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Communications and Marketing

Sands of global peace

Hundreds of Lake Forest College students, staff and visitors watched Tibetan monks create and destroy a sand mandala in a rare on-campus event.

Others attended a related panel discussion on Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity at First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest on Oct. 1 and a Tibetan Cultural Pageant at the city’s Gorton Community Center on Oct. 2.

But the high point of the visit by the monks from Drepung Gomang Monastery in South India took place at the Center for Chicago Programs (CCP), where the College’s first sand mandala was created.

“We had people here all day long,” CCP Director Davis Schneiderman said.

A mix of students, staff and visitors filled the Center at the daily opening and closing chants and every hour in between to witness three monks silently apply streams of colored sand to create an intricate medallion to promote compassion and peace.

During the Oct. 4 closing ceremony, viewers witnessed the ritual removal of the colored sand from the cobalt-blue board upon which it was painstakingly created. The group walked to Forest Park Beach with the visiting monks to release the sand into Lake Michigan and back into nature.

“People from all corners of the college community expressed their appreciation of the monks’ visit to our campus,” Associate Professor of Religion and Asian Studies Cathy Benton said.

Benton called the opportunity to witness the mandala’s creation an “extraordinary experience” for the College and surrounding community.

This marked the first time a Buddhist sand mandala was created at the College.