Mandala Sand Painting by the Mystical Arts of Tibet


Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in southern India will construct a mandala sand painting and perform special ceremonies August 14–18 at Asia Society Texas Center. During this ritual, millions of grains of sand are meticulously placed in order to purify and heal the environment and its inhabitants.

Events are offered FREE to the public (except for Saturday's Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing performances). Seating is not guaranteed at high-traffic times. A livestream of the mandala creation will run on Asia Society's website, with a new link posted daily.

During viewing hours, families can make their own lungta ("Wind Horse") prayer flag while learning about the symbolism of the flags and proper techniques for creating and hanging them. The prayer flags will be strung together and hung at Asia Society Texas Center.

Photography of the exhibition without flash is permitted.

Admission to Site Lines: Artists Working in Texas, in its final week in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, will be free.

About Mandala Sand Paintings

This artistic tradition of Tantric Buddhism, painting with colored sand, ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. Millions of grains of sand are meticulously placed on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. To date, the monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, and colleges and universities in the United States and Europe.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning sacred cosmogram. These cosmograms can be created in various media, such as watercolor on canvas, wood carvings, and so forth. However, the most spectacular and enduringly popular are those made from colored sand.

In general, all mandalas have outer, inner, and secret meanings. On the outer level they represent the world in its divine form; on the inner level they represent a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into enlightened mind; and on the secret level they depict the primordially perfect balance of the subtle energies of the body and the clear-light dimension of the mind. The creation of a sand painting is said to effect purification and healing on these three levels.

About the Drepung Loseling Monastery

Following the legacy of Drepung Loseling Monastery, India, Drepung Loseling is dedicated to the study and preservation of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of wisdom and compassion. A center for the cultivation of both heart and intellect, it provides a sanctuary for the nurturance of inner peace and kindness, community understanding, and global healing.

Hours and Admission

Viewing hours vary each day. Please see below for a list of special programs and activities offered.

Wednesday, August 14

Viewing Hours: 12–6 p.m.

Opening Ceremony: 12 p.m.
After consecrating the site through chanting and music, the monks draw the mandala's outline on a wooden platform, then begin to lay the colored sands using a metal funnel called a chakpur.

Thursday, August 15 – Friday, August 16

Viewing Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Saturday, August 17

Viewing Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Community Mandala: 12–4 p.m. (while supplies last)
The whole community is invited to take part in the art by helping create a sand mandala. Guests will learn how to use the chakpur to fill in the design with sand.

TICKETED PERFORMANCES: Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing:
Matinee performance: 2 p.m. | Full-length performance: 7 p.m.

Purchase Tickets

Sunday, August 18

Viewing Hours: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Closing Ceremony: 2 p.m.
The monks will dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the sands to symbolize the impermanence of life. The sand will be distributed to the audience at the conclusion of the ceremony, while supplies last.

Live Stream

Day 5 (Sunday, August 18)


Day 4 (Saturday, August 17)


Day 3 (Friday, August 16)


Day 2 (Thursday, August 15)


Day 1 (Wednesday, August 14)

Press Release

HOUSTON, August 6, 2019 — Asia Society Texas Center welcomes back to Houston the Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in southern India, to construct a sand mandala over five days and to perform music and dance ceremonies. 

It is FREE for the public to witness the mandala construction ritual, from the opening ceremony, to the construction work when millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place, to the closing ceremony when the mandala is brushed away, symbolizing the impermanence of life.

The monks’ visit has become the highlight of Asia Society’s summer offerings; thousands of people gather each year to watch as the monks work. This is their fifth annual visit to share their art and ceremony with Houstonians, and given their visits’ popularity, their time is being extended by a day (for a total of five days).

During the opening ceremony, the monks consecrate the site through chanting, music, and mantra recitation. They then begin the painting by drawing an outline of the mandala on a wooden platform. Over five days, they lay the colored sands using a traditional metal funnel called a chakpur.

Throughout the five days, the public can observe the monks’ work and even get involved by decorating a Lungta prayer flag. Attendees can also help create a community mandala on that Saturday afternoon (August 17), 12­–4 p.m.

On Saturday (August 17), the monks will present two performances of Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing, which draws from Tibetan temple traditions and features music, dance, and ornate costumes. The monks are particularly renowned for multiphonic chanting known as zokkay (complete chord); they also utilize traditional instruments, such as 10-foot-long dung chen horns, drums, bells, cymbals, and gyaling trumpets.

Additionally, families can enjoy free admission to the exhibition Site Lines in its final week at Asia Society.

About the Drepung Loseling Monastery

The artists are monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery, which has been re-established in South India. The performers on The Mystical Arts of Tibet tour are not full-time professionals; rather they are genuine monks who are taking time off from their life-long devotion to contemplation and study to participate in the tour. 

About Asia Society Texas Center

With 14 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the rest of the world. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.


The Mystical Arts of Tibet tours are organized by the Drepung Loseling Monastery. Performing Arts and Culture programs are presented by Wells Fargo. Major support for Exhibitions and Performing Arts and Culture programs comes from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Dr. Ellen R. Gritz and Milton D. Rosenau, Jr., the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance and the Anchorage Foundation. Generous funding also provided by AARP, The Clayton Fund, Miller Theatre Advisory Board, Texas Commission on the Arts, Ann Wales, Wortham Foundation, and through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional exhibitions and programming to Asia Society Texas Center.

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