Seth Lightcap
Sierra Sun

Seth Lightcap/Sierra Sun

The Venerable Lama Losang Samten, a renowned Tibetan scholar, spiritual teacher and artist, spent the last six days creating an intricate sand painting inside the former Buckhorn restaurant at The Rock commercial complex in Truckee. Using ancient techniques and drawing from memory, Losang has created a mandala called the ‘Wheel of Compassion.’

“This is the most precious mandala,” said Losang referring to the wheel of compassion’s importance amongst other mandala imagery. “The mandala of compassion has the most power to change our lives. It holds a message to have more kindness for our neighbors, our enemies, and ourselves.”

The drawing is created using watercolor-dyed sand distributed onto the table using ancient utensils called ‘Chakpo.’ One of the hollow tools is filled with sand while the other is rubbed along a grated surface down its length. The reverberation of the tools knocks out a few particles of sand at time onto the table surface.

Tibetan born, but currently residing in Philadelphia, Losang was taught the art of sand painting while studying in exile in India.

“This type of Tibetan art is 2,600 years old, but you cannot see it in Tibet today,” said Losang while changing sand colors. “It is illegal to create mandalas or practice such religion in Tibet because of China. I hope this will change.”

After the public viewing of the mandala on Friday, Losang dismantled the creation. Some of the blessed sand was distributed to guests while the remainder of the all-natural materials were washed into the Truckee River.