This Week: Asia Society Welcomes Tibetan Monks to Houston

by Christopher Blay August 13, 2019

A sand mandala painting by monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery at the Asia Society in Houston, Texas.

The Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC) in Houston celebrates the return of monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery of southern India; Houston is  a stop on their Mystical Arts of Tibet tour. The monks will construct a sand mandala over a five-day period, August 14-18, and will also perform music and dance ceremonies at the ASTC. The performances coincide with the final days of Site Lines, a free exhibition on view at the ASTC. Site Lines features the works of Texas artists who have connections to China, India, Japan, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

For their fifth summer visit to Houston, the Drepung Loseling monks will prepare for and construct the mandala; the public is invited to witness their mandala construction rituals. For a ceremony on the opening day of their Houston visit, the monks will consecrate the mandala site through chanting, music, and mantras, after which they will draw an outline of the mandala on a wooden platform. They will then lay in the colored sands using a traditional metal funnel called a chakpur.

The complete list of events is as follows:

Wednesday, August 14: Opening Ceremony (12–6 pm viewing hours)

After consecrating the site through chanting and music, the monks draw the mandala’s outline, then begin to lay the colored sands using a chakpur (metal funnel).

Thursday, August 15 and Friday, August 16 (10 am–6 pm viewing hours)

The monks continue working on the mandala.

Saturday, August 17, 10 am–6 pm (Viewing Hours: 12–4 pm for the Community Mandala) 

The whole community is invited to try their hand at using the chakpur to contribute to a sand mandala.

Also on Saturday: Performances of Sacred Music, Sacred Dance for World Healing. 2 pm family matinee, and a full-length performance at 7 pm.

Sunday, August 18, 10 am–3 pm. 2 pm closing ceremony.

The monks dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the sands which will be distributed to the audience at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Everything is free, except for the Sacred Music, Sacred Dance performances. Ticket prices for Sacred Music, Sacred Dance: Family matinee: $15 for ASTC members, $25 for non-members. Full-length performance: $35 for ASTC members; $45 for non-members.

For more information and tickets, please go here.

Via ASTC: With 14 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the rest of the world. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.

Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore at Caroline, Houston, TX, 77004



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