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CBD 2018: Compassion Buddha Sand Mandala Viewing

November 3, 2018 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Location: Arrillaga Alumni Center Lobby

Free and open to the public. Registration opens on September 11.

A mandala is a symbol that translates literally to “center and its surroundings.” It is a physical representation of interdependence and interconnectedness in all of life. Created as a tool for visualization and meditation, every detail of a mandala—the design, the colors, and placement of symbols—is deliberate and holds layers of meaning. After creating the mandala with intense concentration, the final grains of sand are placed and then the entire sand painting is swept up in a final display of impermanence.

Highly respected Tibetan Buddhist monks Geshe Lobsang Dorji and Geshe Lobsang Cholphal from the Sera Jey Foundation will create the sand mandala of the Compassion Buddha in the gracious lobby of Stanford’s Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center. The venerable monks will carefully place millions of grains of colored sand on a flat surface, following precise and ancient instructions passed down over thousands of years. The creation of this mandala is intended to help the viewer generate compassion for all beings.

The mandala will be created from November 3 through November 8, beginning with an opening ceremony on Saturday, November 3 from 10:00-10:30am and ending with a closing ceremony on Thursday, November 8 from 4:00-4:30pm.

On Sunday, November 4 from 3:00-4:00pm Geshe Lobsang Dorji will give a talk on the tradition of the sand mandala with a focus on the mandala for the Compassion Buddha.

As the final part of the closing ceremony, the monks will provide small bags of the mandala sand to give away to those in attendance. The sand is considered blessed. If any sand is left, it will be placed in a small urn and then taken to the ocean and spread in the water to bless the oceans and their creatures.

This Contemplation By Design Summit session is presented in partnership with the Sera Jey Foundation and hosted by the Stanford Alumni Association.

The public is invited to watch the monks create the mandala in the Stanford Alumni Center Lobby from Saturday, November 3rd through Thursday, November 8th. The schedule is:

Viewing: Saturday, November 3th: 9:30am-12:30pm
Opening Ceremony: 10:00-10:30am***
Viewing: Sunday, November 4th: 11:00am-4:00pm
Talk by Geshe Lobsang Dorji: 3:00-4:00pm***
Viewing: Monday, November 5–Thursday, November 8th: 10:00am-5:00pm
Closing Ceremony: Thursday, November 8th, 4:00-4:30pm***
Location: Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, 326 Galvez St, Stanford, CA 94305

Please note: While the mandala will be on view during the above hours, the monks take occasional breaks during the day including an extended lunch break from approximately 1:00-2:00pm. In addition, every day will begin and end with a puja (blessing) which will last approximately 10 minutes. The public is welcome to participate in the puja. A puja includes prayer and meditation intended to help bring to mind the qualities of the Buddha of Compassion. During the puja practice the mandala artists generate compassion and the intention to benefit others.

***Registration is required for the free talk on Sunday, 11/4 and the opening and closing ceremonies on Saturday, 11/3 and Thursday, 11/8 due to space limitations. TO REGISTER: Please search using the words ”Compassion Buddha Sand Mandala” on the Health Improvement Program registration page. All other viewing times do not require registration.


Free and open to the public. Registration opens on September 11.

Arrillaga Alumni Center Lobby
General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Health Improvement Program, Stanford Alumni Association
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November 3, 2018, 9:30 am