Practicing Buddhist monk and sand mandala artist, Venerable Geshe Jamyang Sherab, leaves New Zealand this month to return to India, on a sponsored visit to attend teachings with the Dalai Lama.
Geshe Jamyang has been studying English as a second language (ESOL) at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and has visited New Zealand three times in the past.
In 1999 he accepted an invitation to create a Tibetan sand mandala at Whangarei Museum for the new millennium, then he returned in 2001 on a year-long tour to create fifteen mandalas throughout the country, and he came back a third time in 2004 to settle at the Tibetan Centre, Jam Tse Dhargyey Ling, in Kamo near Whangarei.
Geshe Jamyang’s sand mandalas are a source of great fascination to all who see them. They are large circular artworks painstakingly created by hand from coloured sand.
The works are a Tibetan Buddhist tradition symbolising creation and then destruction, and which illustrate the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.
“My teacher in India recognised my interest in art and introduced me to mandalas. I enjoy making them – it makes me feel special. I like that they are both religious and artistic at the same time,” says Geshe Jamyang.
“I’m enjoying learning English,” says Geshe. “Although I find the grammar quite challenging. I do speak a range of Indian dialects though, and they are even harder.”
Geshe Jamyang will attend Tibetan New Year celebrations in India before returning to New Zealand to attend level 3 ESOL at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic next year.