In the heart of Coconut Grove, on Main Highway just west of the downtown hustle and bustle, is a quiet unobtrusive building painted in bright reds and greens — Zen Village. To local area devotees, the Tibetan Buddhist Temple Center is a sacred space for community gatherings and meditation.
Founder and director of the not-for-profit association, Master Chufei Tsai, recently welcomed six Tibetan monks visiting from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Northern India, along with Tsepak Rigzin, the monks translator and Emory University scholar from Atlanta. The monks were invited for a week of educational classes, meditation, and special services.
“Their visit came about after one of our members requested a blessing from the monks,” said Master Tsai. “Everything worked to bring them here for a week for the sand mandala and self-empowerment programs. The sand mandala represents the unshakable divine order. The purpose of the ritual is to bring peace and strength to the community.”
The Tibetan Sacred Art Performance sand mandala creation was the highlight of the week’s activities. The monks worked on the mandala or symbolic circle of art every day for eight hours for an entire week. Using funnel, scraper and tube-like instruments, the sand is crafted into shapes like fish, monkeys, and designs suggesting the cosmos or universal realm. It is made with different colors of sand created on a unique table with precise geometrical measurements as to the placement of colors and depth of the sand on the complex work of art.
“Each layer has its own meaning,” said Master Tsai. “Every grain of sand placed carefully by the monks in total concentration and prayer has energy and patterns of energy. It represents the land of heaven in a harmonic pattern designed as an empowerment and blessed experience for all to benefit from.”
After the completed sand mandala is formally presented, it is ultimately swept away in a special ceremony and deposited in a nearby body of water to represent the intransigence of life and the impermanence of beauty so as to cultivate in the observer a spirit of detachment.
Zen Village has been in its current home for eight years. The center provides wellness programs to support individual and spiritual strength for the community through yoga, meditation, healing qigong and ancient wisdom. To find out more about Zen Village, 3570 Main Hwy., call 305-567-0165, visit www.zenvillage.org, www.heartforhumanity.org, or send email to email@example.com.