Monks making messages in sand

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Tradition: Tibetan Buddhist monk Karma Gyasey works on the sand mandala

Tibetan Buddhist monks have returned to Queenstown with a message of compassion and kindness.

Geshe Jamyang Sherab and Karma Gyasey are back in the resort for the third time creating a sand mandala over 10 days.

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition involves creating and destroying mandalas made from coloured sand, after which most of the blessed sand will be offered to attendees at the closing ceremony.

This year the monks are creating a Chenrezig Buddha mandala – Chenrezig is the buddha of compassion.

Organiser Kaari Schlebach reckons that’s something we could do with a little bit more of.

“In this day and age, if everybody had a little bit more compassion and understanding, the world would be a more peaceful place,” she says.

“Compassion starts within our own hearts.”

Having the monks in Queenstown’s not about religion, but “the basic human need for love, compassion, understanding, and kindness”.

Anyone can check out the monks at work, between 10am and 4pm daily, at 26 Arawata Terrace, Sunshine Bay.

Prayers are also held daily at 9.30am – and for those who don’t want to pray, they’re welcome to head along and meditate, Schlebach says. The mandala’s closing ceremony’s being held at 2pm on Sunday.

Sand not offered to attendees will be offered to Lake Wakatipu.

Entry is free, but a koha is welcome.

– DAISY HUDSON