Asia Society Texas Center is pleased to welcome back to Houston the Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in southern India. From August 16-19, the monks will construct a sand mandala and perform music and dance ceremonies.
The monks’ visit has become the highlight of Asia Society’s summer offerings; thousands of people gather each year to watch the monks work. This is their fourth visit to share their art and ceremony with Houstonians.
It’s FREE for the public to witness the mandala construction ritual: during the ritual, millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place in order to purify and heal the environment and its inhabitants.
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 four days, they lay the colored sands using a traditional metal funnel called a chakpur. Guests will be able to view the monks’ progress in person and online via a live stream at www.asiasociety.org/texas.
The monks will also present Sacred Music, Sacred Dance, which draws from ancient Tibetan traditions and features multiphonic chanting, 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.
NEW this year: the monks will add a shorter, family matinee performance so younger children can enjoy the ceremonies.
To date, the monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery have created mandala sand paintings and performed in more than 100 venues in the United States and Europe. They have sold out performances in Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, have been featured on movie soundtracks such as Seven Years in Tibet starring Brad Pitt, and have released recordings, two of which achieved top-10 on U.S. and Canadian New Age charts.
MANDALA CREATION—FREE TO THE PUBLIC Thursday, August 16, 12 pm – 6 pm (Opening Ceremony starts at 12 pm) Friday, August 17, 10 am – 6pm Saturday, August 18, 10 am – 6 pm, with Community Mandala 12 pm – 4pm)
Sunday, August 19, 10 am – 3 pm (Closing Ceremony starts at 2 pm)
SACRED MUSIC, SACRED DANCE PERFORMANCES
Saturday, August 18, 2 pm family matinee of, $15 Members; $25 Nonmembers Saturday, August 18, 7 pm full-length performance of Sacred Music Sacred Dance, $35 Members; $45 Nonmembers
All of the monks’ activities will take place at Asia Society Texas Center, located at 1370 Southmore Boulevard in Houston’s Museum District.