Making The Mandala

I normally post a single photograph at a time but today we visited the Virginia Holocaust Museum where a group of Tibetan monks was working on a mandala.  It was an inspiration to witness the patience, concentration and precision of the monks at work.  To give you a better feel for the whole scene I decided to post a series of photos.

The Tibetan Buddhist art of mandala is a practice in which the participants create an elaborate, beautiful mosaic of colored sand.   They work on the mandala for many days, adding little bits of colored sand to fill in each section.  The sand is added slowly and precisely to create crisp, clear lines.  When the mandala is finished the monks sweep up the sand and discard it in a river.  The process is both meditative and a practice in impermanence.

This monk was working alone when we arrived.  His concentration was remarkable.

photograph of a Tibetan monk concentrating on adding sand to a mandala

Despite the crowd of people watching, the monks remained focused on the task at hand.

photograph of a crowd watching Tibetan monks make a mandala

One of the monks gets more blue sand to add to the mandala.

photograph of a Tibetan monk getting colored sand to use for a mandala

Up to three monks worked on the mandala at a time.

photograph of two Tibetan monks working on a mandala

photograph of Tibetan monks working on a mandala

Here you can see some of the vibrant colored sand used to create the mandala.

photograph of the colored sand used by Tibetan monks to make a Mandala

I’ll leave you with a classic Buddhist wish, part of the metta bhavana, or “loving kindness”, practice…

May you be well.

May you be happy.

May you be free from suffering.

GlobeHopper

photograph of the GlobeHopper coffee shop in Richmond, VA

There’s a lot of character in the building housing the GlobeHopper coffee shop: stained glass, murals, and even a little neon light.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

Inside Saint Ignazio’s

HDR photograph of the inside of Saint Ignazio Church in Rome, ItalyIf you are ever in Rome I recommend visiting Saint Iganzio’s Church.  From the outside it doesn’t look very exciting but once you walk through the door you will be amazed.  I’m sure some art history buffs will argue but I thought the ceiling was better than the Sistine Chapel’s and there was no waiting in line and no admission.  What you can’t see in the picture is all of the amazing sculpture that decorates both sides of the church.

The lighting in these churches ranges from very dark to extremely bright.  To create this image I had to blend 5 different exposures together.

Click on the image to see a larger version of it.

Statue in Piazza del Campidoglio

photograph of a statue in Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, Italy

My friends and I were pass through Piazza del Campidoglio in the late evening when I captured this image of one of the statues in the piazza.  We walked by it earlier that day but the statue was in the shade so the lighting was very cool and flat.  The evening sun cast its warm, hard light on the statue in a way that made for a much better photo.  I considered converting this image to black and white or even just desaturating the colors.  Eventually I decided I liked the warmth and intensity of the colors just the way they were recorded by my camera.

Spacious

photograph of a woman and child in a large, open area behind a large, ornate chandelierI caught this image at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, quite unexpectedly.  I was photographing the Blue Ridge Chandelier, on the right side of the image, when the girl moved to look out an enormous window off the left side of the photograph.  I was immediately drawn to the spaciousness of this image.

 

Chihuly Boats

photograph of a Chihuly exhibit of glass in a boatThese boats are filled with Chihuly glass work and displayed on a mirrored surface.  The effect was a dazzling display of color reflected as if the boats were floating in still water.

Blue Ridge Chandelier

photograph of Dale Chihuly's Blue Ridge ChandelierThe Blue Ridge Chandelier was one of the Chihuly works on display at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA) in the fall of 2012.  This photo gives some perspective of the size of the chandelier, which is 18 feet tall.