Photos: San Jose Buddhist temple hosts sand mandala ceremony
Residents circled the mandala as the monks getting ready to break the sand. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

    Two visiting monks of the Sera Jey Foundation spent the last week teaching Buddhist philosophy and creating a sand mandala at a San Jose Vietnamese temple.

    The sand mandala is an ancient Buddhist tradition that can only be created by a few selected monks. The ceremony, steeped in symbolism and ritual, is believed to represent a cosmic map of the universe to enlightenment and peace.

    After spending days meticulously pouring sand by hand to create the mandala, the monks ended the holy ceremony with the breaking of the sand circle, symbolizing Buddhism’s belief in the impermanence.

    An Lac Temple, headed by Nun Nguyen Thanh, hosted a mandala closing ceremony Sunday with more than 50 residents joined in praying and chanting. The event benefits the Sera Jey Monastic University in India.

    Geshe Lobsang Dorji (left) led the days-long process to create the mandala by hand pouring colored sand. Photo by Jana Kadah.
    More than 50 San Jose residents joined the visiting monks in praying and chanting Sunday. Photo by Jana Kadah.
    Some prayed for the health of their families. Others were grateful to witness the holy ceremony. Photo by Jana Kadah.
    An Lac Temple is among the many Buddhist temples in San Jose where Vietnamese residents can connect with their religious beliefs. Buddhism has been an integral aspect in Vietnamese culture for thousands of years. Photo by Jana Kadah.
    Nun Nguyen Thanh of An Lac Temple was moved to tears during the ceremony. She knelt in front of the sand mandala as chanting filled the main hall of her temple. Photo by Jana Kadah.
    Geshe Lobsang Dorji led an hours-long chanting and teaching session before breaking the mandala. Photo by Jana Kadah.
    The sand mandala, steeped in symbolism, highlights a Buddhist lesson that nothing last forever and encourages people to live ethically. Photo by Jana Kadah.
    Residents circled the mandala as the monks getting ready to break the sand. Photo by Tran Nguyen.
    With each sweep, the colorful circle quickly disappeared. Leftover sand went into small ziplock bags to be handed out among participants as protection charms. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

    Contact Tran Nguyen at tran[email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter. Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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