Mandala gala focus at Latrobe Regional Gallery

THE impermanence of beauty will be respected when Tibetan monks create and sweep away a mandala at the Latrobe Regional Gallery this week.

Using coloured crushed granite, the mandala – a floor sand painting that celebrates the life and achievements of Buddha and Tibetan culture – is being shaped at the Morwell gallery.

Coordinator and Venerable Choden Thubten of the ‘Sacred Footsteps from the Roof of the World Australian Tour 2015’ said the Gyumed Tantric College monks started with chanting and blessings before beginning the six-day process of creating the mandala from memory.

Ms Thubten said symbolism in the mandala included the lotus flower – referencing how compassion and love could emerge from the muddy waters of life.

“It’s an intuitive process, they say prayers and ask the enlightened beings what would be of most benefit in the place,” she said.

The ordained nun said the impermanence of the sand artwork was also important, and was swept away to remind us of the transient nature of our own lives.

“We’re attached to the beauty of it, but the dissolution helps us let go,” Ms Thubten said.

LRG education public programs officer Nicole Brindley said the monks’ presence transformed the gallery and was a highlight of the annual calendar, first coming to Morwell in 2007.

“It’s popular with audiences and open to the community, whether they have experience with the Tibetan culture or not,” Ms Brindley said.

Other activities during the monks’ visit include a Buddhist talk with Venerable Choden Thubten tomorrow from 5pm to 6pm.

Guided meditations will be offered from 10.30am to 11am on Saturday and Sunday.

Residents are also invited to make personal mandalas from 1.30pm to 3.30pm on Saturday and view the completed mandala from 12.30pm to 2pm on Sunday before the dissolution ceremony from 2pm to 3pm.

Mayor Dale Harriman said it was always an inspiration to host the tour.

“We feel very fortunate to have the monks visit the region once again and to be able to share with our community the creative process of the ancient mandala,” Cr Harriman said.

The Latrobe Regional Gallery has special opening hours for the tour opening at 9.30am each morning.

Admission is free for the general program, but some sessions have a small fee.

For more information on booking school group visits, places at the evening talk and guided meditation sessions, phone the gallery on 5128 5700.