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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibetan Cultural Fair

January 16, 2009

Trisha Smith
Maui Weekly - Hawaii
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Cultural tour shares arts and philosophy.
Enjoy the peace and sanctity of one of the world’s most mysterious and isolated cultures during the Tibetan Cultural Fair at Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center in Kahului.
Until Sunday, Jan. 18, this exhibition will offer a glimpse into the lives of the people of Tibet―a small country settled high on the Himalayan mountain range. A showcase of Tibetan arts, crafts, carpets and thangka (painted/embroidered banners) will be on display free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
Throughout the duration of the six-day fair, five Tibetan Buddhist monks from Dzongkar Choede Monastery of Mysore, India, will construct a 49-square-foot Medicine Buddha sand mandala.
The Dzongkar Choede Monastery is one of the oldest in Tibet, built in the western part of the country in 1270. It has since developed into one of the biggest repositories of Tibetan folk culture. When the sanctuary was leveled, the monks were forced to live in exile. With the support of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the government of India, reconstruction began in 1972.
Mandala, a Sanskrit term meaning “circle,” is a diagram created in sand or paint. Grooved metal tubes are filled with millions of grains of dyed sand―each particle representing goodness―and are rubbed or lightly tapped to release a flow, as each part of the mandala is “drawn.” Specific design proportions and details are in ancient Buddhist texts.
“It’s a spectacular sight,” said Monty Carpenter, coordinator of the Tibetan Cultural Fair. “A very significant Tibetan ritual.”
Carpenter is a mandala instructor himself, and will be on hand during the fair to provide information about the process.
Usually, sand mandalas are destroyed to symbolize “the transience of life and the ideal of nonattachment to the material world.”
“It’s a beautiful exercise of nonattachment. Monks usually dismantle the mandala and throw the remnants in the ocean, so sand shall meet sand again, coming full circle,” said Carpenter.
For this special occasion, the monks will dismantle the mandala on the final day and distribute the sand to the public.
“Because of all the time, energy and focus put into it, the sand from the mandala has a very powerful, special quality to it,” said Carpenter. “People will receive packets of the sand to carry around with them, or it can even be used perhaps to sprinkle on the sick for healing.”
The mandala to be constructed throughout the event represents the residence of Medicine Buddha, the Buddha of Healing. The Buddha of Healing symbolizes the “pure, perfected universe,” and allows those that view its beauty to establish such wonderful feelings of peace and completeness. A mandala is believed to have a positive effect on all those who are fortunate enough to view its greatness.
“During the construction of this ancient sand painting, the tools used by the monks as they focus―sometimes in unison―can make a noise with somewhat of a mystical quality. Very meditative,” said Carpenter.
The monks are on a cultural tour to share Tibetan arts and philosophy around the United States and Canada.
The Tashi Pendey Foundation―a subordinate of Tibetan Cultural Conservancy―is a Maui nonprofit located in Waiehu, supporting preservation of Tibetan traditions and raising awareness of those still in exile. This fair is a great opportunity for the foundation to highlight the Tibetan culture, as well as collect funds for exiled children, elders, nuns and monks.
Longtime supporters of the foundation, Stephen J. Luczo and Bob Neal, are also event sponsors.
The Tibetan Cultural Fair is being held on the shopping center’s lower level, next to Ben Bridge Jewelers.
Contact Carpenter at 669-3000 or visit for more information about the Tashi Pendey Foundation.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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