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Monks Return To New Canaan's Silver Hill Hospital, Will Build Sand Mandala

Labrang Tashi Kyil Monks Return to Silver Hill Hospital
Labrang Tashi Kyil Monks Return to Silver Hill Hospital Photo Credit: contributed

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- The Tashi Kyil Monks will be making a stop in New Canaan on their 2016 U.S. tour. Silver Hill Hospital will host the monks for several days and also welcomes the public to a community session on Sunday, March 13.

The monks will stay from Friday, March 11, until Wednesday, March 16. During their stay, they will build a sand mandala and lead sessions for patients and the public.

"As the only psychiatric hospital to host the monks, it gives me great pleasure that we can bring them to the community once again," said Dr. Sigurd Ackerman, Silver Hill Hospital's president and medical director.

"We can all benefit from their teachings about spirituality, mindfulness and compassion, especially in our fast-paced, digital culture."

Over the course of their visit, seven monks will work together to construct a sand mandala, an ancient Buddhist symbol of harmony. To do so, millions of grains of colored sand are poured from a traditional cone-shaped tool called chakpur to create an intricate design on an eight-foot wood platform.

When the design is complete, it's a cultural tradition to have a ceremony to dismantle the mandala and pour the sands into a nearby river or stream so the waters can carry the healing energies throughout the world.

"Building a sand mandala requires a great deal of patience and the ability to work together toward a common goal," Ackerman said. "The process also teaches a lesson on the impermanence of the material aspects of life."

The community session will be from 4-5:30 p.m. Community members will have the opportunity to watch the monks demonstrate a "Tashi Sholpa" dance, which is used to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he visits the monastery, participate in an art workshop, and observe monks working on the sand mandala.

For more information, call 203-801-2382.

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