On Faith

Buddhist monks to teach sand painting in Saxapahaw

June 4, 2013 

Buddhist Monks of the Drepung Gomang Monastery will be creating a sand mandala and teaching the ancient Tibetan art form of sand painting during a five-day event June 12-16 at the SaxArt Gallery at the corner of Jordan and Church streets in Saxapahaw.

Sand painting is thought to have originated in India and transferred to Tibet in the Middle Ages. The sand mandala is constructed as a vehicle to generate compassion and realization of the transitory nature of reality and to promote social and cosmic healing of the environment.

An opening ceremony is set for 10 a.m. June 12. The monks will complete their sacred sand mandala over five days and will hold a deconstruction ceremony at 2 p.m. June 16. The mandala site will be open to the public during the week.

“The monks are eager to introduce the arts and culture of Tibet to people in the area,” said coordinator Eve Barkley. “They wish to communicate a message of peace, wisdom and compassion to heal anxious minds in these troubled times.”

Two-hour workshops are offered to those who want to learn how to use the same techniques the monks use to create a sacred sand mandala. This class is taught on the floor, so participants should bring a pillow.

Workshops are limited to 15 people and will be taught from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 15. Each workshop is limited to 15 people and the suggested donation is $25. Register at monkstour.info/product.

The monks have been coming to the United States for 10 years, sponsored by Drepung Gomang Institute, an educational nonprofit located in Louisville, Ky. Local sponsors are the SaxArt Gallery, the General Store and Quest Martial Arts Center.

Spirituals celebration

Noted author and illustrator Ashley Bryan along with the 100 Men in Black Chorus and Dean Luke Powery of Duke Chapel, will lead a celebration of spirituals in lecture, picture and song at 7 p.m. tonight (June 5) at Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St., in Durham.

Bryan, 89, is the illustrator and author of many award-winning children’s books, including two illustrated books of spirituals. The 100 Men in Black Chorus will sing spirituals with Dr. Paula Harrell accompanying and the Duke Chapel dean providing historical context. The all-male chorus has members of all ages and ethnic groups from throughout the Triangle and is directed by Marion E. West.

In addition to serving as Duke Chapel dean, Powery is an associate professor of the practice of preaching at Duke Divinity School.

This event is free and open to the public and sponsored by Durham Library Foundation, the St. Joseph Historic Foundation: Heritage Center and Alazar Press.

Clothes giveaway

The Take and Wear Clothes Closet, located at Lystra Baptist Church, will be open Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Anyone needing clothes is welcome.

There is no advantage to arriving before 8:45 a.m. Numbers will be drawn to determine the order in which people may shop. Each family can get two bags of clothes and everything is free.

Lystra Baptist is located at 686 Lystra Road, off U.S. 15-501 north.

ICON lecture

A new organization, ICON (Issues Confronting Our Nation), in the Triangle is sponsoring its first lecture at 7 p.m. June 18 at the Levin Jewish Community Center, 1933 W. Cornwallis Road in Durham.

Diana West, author of “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character,” is the speaker. Her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times.

ICON was organized after the 2012 elections to keep citizens in the area informed about major issues Americans face across the country. For more information go to iconlectureseries.com.

Zen Center ceremony

Myojun Barbara Ambros will give a presentation on the “Anan Koshiki,” a chanted ceremonial for Venerable Ananda, at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 23, at the Chapel Hill Zen Center.

The ceremony, which originated in the 13th century and has been transmitted in a Soto Zen nuns’ lineage since the 19th century, praises Ananda for his role in the founding of the nuns’ order, his physical beauty, his exemplary conduct as the Buddha Shakyamuni’s attendant, his perfect translation of the Anan Koshiki and examine how it fits into the tradition of chanted ceremonials within modern Soto Zen.

Short excerpts from a video of a contemporary performance will show how today’s Soto nuns approach the ceremonial and articulate their place in the predominantly masculine tradition of Japanese monasticism.

Myojun Barbara Ambros is a professor of Religious Studies as the University of North Carolina, specializing in East Asian Buddhism.

The Chapel Hill Zen Center is located at 5322 N.C. 86, 2.5 miles north of I-40 at Exit 266.

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