Tibetan Buddhist shrine room

Buddhist event

The Tibetan Shrine from the
Alice S. Kandell Collection

This extraordinary Tibetan Buddhist shrine room is on public display for the first time. Acknowledged by practicing Buddhists as a sacred space, this shrine room contains hundreds of superb works of Buddhist art created between the twelfth and nineteenth centuries, including bronze sculptures, thangkas (scroll paintings), ritual objects, textile banners, and painted furniture.

In the Realm of the Buddha | March 13–July 18, 2010 | Arthur M. Sackler Gallery


Buddhist monk and mandala master Venerable Ngawang Chojor created a  in the Sackler pavilion March 13–21, 2010. A mandala is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional palace that exists in the mind of the artist; it is considered a place where Buddhist deities reside. The intricate process of creating a mandala, which requires great patience and focus, serves as an aid to Buddhist meditation. Upon completion the mandala was consecrated, then swept up and dispersed to signify the impermanent nature of existence.

The ritual was captured by a camera mounted on a platform directly above the mandala. Images shot at five-minute intervals.

Categories: Art, Encyclopedia, History, News & events, Tibetan, Video

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3 replies

  1. I was fortunate enough to attend the Kalachakra initiation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Toronto a few years ago, and was able to witness the construction of the Mandala first hand, beginning with the precise string measurements conducted by His Holiness and continuing through several days with at least two monks working on it at all times. The sound of the chakpurs and the scrapers, the Dalai Lama’s voice intoning the words of the initiation, the assembled monks chanting…it was magical. When the Mandala was complete, everyone was allowed a short period for close-up observation. Needless to say, the detail and precision were fantastic. At the end of the initiation His Holiness was the first to put a stroke through the Mandala and within five minutes the whole thing was swept away. Then we all trooped down to the shore of Lake Ontario and watched the Dalai Lama sprinkle the sand into the lake. Something I will never forget.

  2. watching that sand mandala is quite something. are they using chopsticks?

    • Hello Isabella, no they use a metal funnel (Chakpur) with the sand inside.

      Sand Mandala made at the Dalai Lama visit to Nottingham in 2008. Photo: RSR

      Above is a photo from a Sand Mandala made when the Dalai Lama visited Nottingham, England, in 2008. The monk vibrates the Chakpur to release the coloured sand.

      If you ever get the opportunity to see one made it’s worth the trip.

      Hope this helps,



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