Skip to Content
Tibetan Monks Create Mandala.

Tibetan Monks Create Mandala.

By Gabriel Escalera

Gaden Shartse Monks Bring Ancient Mandala Art to Omaha

June 21st, 2024


For more than 2,500 years, the creation of a Mandala has begun in much the same way. A Mandala is a geometric pattern with circular designs, shapes, and lines, meaning “circle” or “center.” Mandalas are significant in Buddhism, symbolizing the universe, and are used in meditation.

Tsering Dawa, a Tibetan monk from Gaden Monastery in South India, became a monk at age 10 and has dedicated the rest of his life to his religion. After blessing colored sand and tools, Dawa and other monks place intricate patterns on a surface using an ancient technique. The designs, deeply embedded in the monks’ minds, come to life with the rhythmic sound of a metal stick rattling in a sand-filled tube echoing through the room. This sound can last for hours, a mesmerizing backdrop as the monks meticulously craft their Mandalas, just as the first Buddhist monk did centuries ago.

Joseph Benson, now the Tour Director of the 2023-24 Gaden Shartse Tour, used to work as an event promoter in Omaha. One day, he started driving a monks’ tour, leading to a whole new lifestyle.

The monks tour the USA to share their wisdom and demonstrate the intricate art of making a Mandala, which takes hours to complete, only to dissolve it at the end as part of the ritual. They also offer butter sculpture demos, land, house, business blessings, and lectures in exchange for donations. These donations will help them raise funds to build much-needed extra rooms in their monastery.

The Gaden Shartse tour is in Omaha until June 22nd, with different events at Drips Botanical Elements on 1822 Vinton Street. For more information, visit Drips Botanical Elements