Tibetan Monks Bring World Peace Tour To Biloxi

A group of Tibetan monks is traveling the world with a mission to promote peace and understanding.

The monks are teaching and sharing a very visual tradition at the Buddhist temple in Biloxi.

Their chanting prayers echo off the walls of the Van Duc Buddhist temple. Through an interpreter, the 82 year old master teacher shares his faith's foundation.

"The basic principle of Buddhism is to enhance the positive experience of ones mind by cultivating some sort of unbiased compassion to all beings," said interpreter Lobsang Dhonden.

Building a "sand mandala" is part of the Buddhist tradition. The intricate pattern is carefully formed by shaping grains of colored sand.

"It has a very small hole. And the monk puts the sand in it. And when they rub the metal, because of the friction, the sand falls out of it," the monk explained.

The mandala takes four days to build. Buddhists say it represents positive energy.

"Significant benefit of seeing the mandala, receiving energy from the mandala, is that right now we are in the realm that is unpure. And it can create karma that can give realm which is more pure in the future," he said.

Building the mandala requires thoughtful concentration. Much of the Tibetan monks' teachings revolve around the power of the mind.

"It is more like a study of ones mind, rather than typical religion," said Dhonden.

The monks will consecrate the mandala on Sunday. Then, to emphasize its impermanence, it will be swept up and destroyed, with portions of the sand handed out to those who attend the service.