INTRICATE, beautiful and painstaking – the creation of a sand mandala at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) has attracted hundreds of people this week.
Bathurstians have immersed themselves in Tibetan culture to watch three visiting monks create the masterpiece.
For six hours each day since Tuesday, they have worked with crushed marble, which has been coloured with vegetable dye, to create the mandala.
They monks were brought to Australia for a six-month tour of regional NSW and Victorian towns thanks to the Drol Kar Buddhist Centre. The Sacred Footsteps from the Roof of the World tour sees the monks create a new sand mandala in each town, and for Bathurst the monks chose to create a Tara – a female representation of Buddha.
So far this week, more than 660 Bathurstians have flocked to the gallery to see the work progress.
Spokesperson for the monks, Choden Thubten, said the trio enjoyed having people come to observe their painstaking work.
“Because there’s been so much interest they’re really inspired,” she said.
Ms Thubten told the Western Advocate earlier this week that the monks have memorised around 20 different mandala designs, and the choice of creating a Tara for Bathurst was done with purpose.
“She represents compassionate action and feminine energy,” Ms Thubten said. “This mandala brings peace, learning, contentment and the particular qualities of the Buddha they chose [Tara].”
A number of people have returned each day to watch the monks, while for others it was the first time they have seen a mandala being created.
“If they haven’t seen it before they’ve always got a lot of questions and they always ask what happens at the end,” she said.
When the mandala is complete, the monks hold a ceremony to dissolve the work.
“We return it to the elements and because water flows everywhere it’s a way of flowing to a lot of places,” Ms Thubten said.