Tibetan Buddhist Monks will Construct a Mandala Sand Painting and Perform Special Ceremonies at UUCA



Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta Commemorates 50 Years at Cliff Valley with Tibetan Mandala Exhibition


After 50 years at 1911 Cliff Valley Way NE, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta is moving. In March, UUCA sold the property to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. UUCA has signed a lease for temporary space at 1190 West Druid Hills Dr. Ste. 150, where they will hold Sunday services while their newly purchased building at 2650 N. Druid Hills Rd. NE is undergoing renovations.

To commemorate their leave-taking, UUCA will host the monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery who will construct a sand mandala. In this artistic Tantric Buddhist tradition, millions of grains of sand are laid into place on a platform to create the image of a mandala. This weeklong process begins Sunday, July 29 at 2:00 pm with a colorful opening ceremony in UUCA’s iconic sanctuary in the round. Over the course of the week, the sanctuary will be open to the public who is invited to particulate in community and family events as well as special lectures led by the visiting monks.

Visit UUCA any time from 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Monday through Friday or 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM, or Saturday, Aug 4 to see the monks at work and the beautiful colors of the sand forming into the mandala. The closing ceremony will take place, Sunday, Aug 5 at 11:30 AM where the mandala is ceremonially swept away. Half of the sand is distributed to the audience, while the remainder is will deposited into a nearby creek.

Preceding the Sand Mandala closing ceremony UUCA will host its final worship service from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. In this special service, UUCA will recognize former UUCA ministers as well as ministers that were ordained at UUCA- many of which are now leaders of their own congregations through the South. There will be a reception with light refreshments to follow.


Symbolism, Lectures, and Sand Painting

Two lectures will be held during the week, which will explore different themes of sand mandala construction.

The first, “Meditation for Focus & Stress” is Wednesday Aug 1, at 7:00 PM. One of the monks will deliver an illuminating lecture on the how the spiritual practice of mediation can improve focus and relieve stress. This lecture takes place in the UUCA sanctuary while the monks continue the construction of the mandala.

“Symbolism of the Sand Mandala” will be Saturday, August 4, at 2:00 PM. Join the Monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery for a lecture on the symbolism of the Sand Mandala. The Mandala is a sacred cosmogram used as an object of contemplation. It depicts the pure nature of the world in which we live as well as how we can live most effectively. The monks will explain the symbolism captured in the details of the mandala.


Community Events, Activities

Visitors are invited to join trained staff throughout the construction of the mandala, for a hands-on experience with traditional sand painting to create a Community Sand Mandala. Participants will learn to use the chak-pu  (traditional tools used in Tibetan sand painting) to create a mandala in a design that represents this community. There will also be paper mandala design and crayons for small children.


Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA) is one of the largest Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States, with roots in Atlanta going back more than 120 years.

We are a community of faith that encourages and supports the individual spiritual quests of its members, who share a respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person and a commitment to social justice.

UUCA’s 700 members and contributing friends hail from all corners of the Atlanta area and represent many diverse backgrounds.

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