Tibetan Monks Return to Create Sand Mandala and Perform Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing

Houston, Texas—Asia Society Texas Center is pleased to welcome back to Houston the Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery. From August 10-13, the monks will construct a sand mandala and perform special ceremonies in the Center’s Edward R. Allen III Education Center. During this ritual, millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place in order to purify and heal the environment and its inhabitants. After its completion, the sand is swept away, symbolizing the impermanence of life.

A special performance of Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing on Saturday, August 12 will complement the mandala creation. The performance will feature the monks’ renowned multiphonic singing and utilize traditional instruments such as 10-foot-long dungchen horns, drums, bells, cymbals, and gyaling trumpets. Rich brocade costumes and masked dances, such as the Dance of the Sacred Snow Lion, will add to the splendor. This is a rare treat for Houstonians to see the monks perform. Their sellout performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center received national acclaim, described as “remarkable” by The New York Times and “a universal expression of the human subconscious” by The Washington Post. Those looking to attend this year’s performance at Asia Society are encouraged to purchase tickets early, as last year’s concert was a sellout, and tickets this year are again limited.

The monks’ visits to Asia Society Texas Center in 2015 and 2016 drew nearly 7,000 people. Similar to previous years, guests will be able to take part in the art by completing a separate community mandala on Saturday, August 12.

All events and activities, with the exception of the Saturday performance, is free and open to the public. For more information, or to purchase tickets for Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing, please visit AsiaSociety.org/Texas or call 713.496.9901.

The Mystical Arts of Tibet tours are organized by the Drepung Loseling Monastery. Exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Wells Fargo. Performing Arts at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Bank of America. Major support comes from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Ellen Gritz and Milton Rosenau, the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance and the Anchorage Foundation. Generous funding also provided by AARP, The Clayton Fund, Kathy and Glen Gondo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, New England Foudnation for the Arts, Ann Wales, and through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a premier group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional programming and exhibitions to Asia Society Texas Center.


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Purchase online or call 713.496.9901
Robed in magnificent costumes and playing traditional Tibetan instruments, the Drepung Loseling monks perform ancient temple music and dance intended to kindle world healing. The Loseling monks are particularly renowned for their multiphonic chanting known as zokkay (complete chord) and are the only culture on earth that cultivates this most extraordinary vocal ability. Each of the main chantmasters simultaneously intones three notes, thus each individually creating a complete chord.


*The monks will be working on the sand mandala from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, August 12. The Education Center will remain open until 7 pm for visitors to view the sand mandala.

Sunday, August 13

Viewing Hours: 10 am-completion of Closing Ceremony

Closing Ceremony: 3 pm
The monks will dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of life. The sands will be distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while supplies last.

About Asia Society Texas Center

With 12 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 west. 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.

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 painstakingly laid into place 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.