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Back by Popular Demand, Tibetan Monks Visit Houston to Build Mandala and Perform Sacred Ceremonies

FREE to the Public: Witness the Creation of the Mandala and Participate in a Community Mandala


August 13, 2018

NEW This Year: Family Matinee of the Monks’ Performance

HOUSTON, August 10, 2018 — Asia Society Texas Center is pleased to welcome back to Houston the Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in southern India. From August 16-19, the monks will construct a sand mandala and perform music and dance ceremonies.

The monks’ visit has become the highlight of Asia Society’s summer offerings; thousands of people gather each year to watch the monks work. This is their fourth visit to share their art and ceremony with Houstonians.

It’s FREE for the public to witness the mandala construction ritual: during the ritual, millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place in order to purify and heal the environment and its inhabitants.

During the opening ceremony, the monks consecrate the site through chanting, music, and mantra recitation. They then begin the painting by drawing an outline of the mandala on a wooden platform. Over four days, they lay the colored sands using a traditional metal funnel called a chakpur. Guests will be able to view the monks’ progress in person and online via a live stream at

The monks will also present Sacred Music, Sacred Dance, which draws from ancient Tibetan traditions and features multiphonic chanting, music, dance, and ornate costumes. The monks are particularly renowned for multiphonic chanting known as zokkay (complete chord); they also utilize traditional instruments, such as 10-foot-long dung chen horns, drums, bells, cymbals, and gyaling trumpets. NEW this year: the monks will add a shorter, family matinee performance so younger children can enjoy the ceremonies.

To date, the monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery have created mandala sand paintings and performed in more than 100 venues in the United States and Europe. They have sold out performances in Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, have been featured on movie soundtracks such as Seven Years in Tibet starring Brad Pitt, and have released recordings, two of which achieved top-10 on U.S. and Canadian New Age charts.


Thursday, August 16, 12 pm – 6 pm (Opening Ceremony starts at 12 pm)

Friday, August 17, 10 am – 6pm

Saturday, August 18, 10 am – 6 pm, with Community Mandala 12 pm – 4pm)

Sunday, August 19, 10 am – 3 pm (Closing Ceremony starts at 2 pm)


Saturday, August 18, 2 pm family matinee of, $15 Members; $25 Nonmembers

Saturday, August 18, 7 pm full-length performance of Sacred Music Sacred Dance, $35 Members; $45 Nonmembers

All of the monks’ activities will take place at Asia Society Texas Center, located at 1370 Southmore Boulevard in Houston’s Museum District.

About the Drepung Loseling Monastery

Drepung Loseling Monastery in southern India is dedicated to the training of young spiritual aspirants in Tibetan Buddhist traditions. The Monastery has become an important center for religious learning and practice, and is currently home to over 3,000 monks.

About Asia Society Texas Center

With 13 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.


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