I also had a great time with a new friend, Tenpa, in the picture below. He's a young monk, a second generation Tibetan refugee born in India. So friendly and anxious to practice his English, he explained the design to me. The center of the mandala is a globe with four animals sitting on one another's back; a bird atop a rabbit atop a monkey atop an elephant. "Four harmony brothers," Tenpa said, "to show how even ones who are very different can live together with peace."
They are a funny bunch, the monks, quiet as they bend very close to their work. When they do speak, it sounds like singing. No slaves to fashion, they wear gold and maroon robes and go barefoot. Although I noticed one wore purple argyle socks. They smile and nod alot. I asked Tenpa, "What if someone needs to sneeze while he is working?" and he got the joke.
The seven monks will tour in the US for two more months, creating mandalas, sharing Tibetan culture and raising money for their monastery in Dehra Dun, India. "When I sleep, the rain falls on me," Tenpa said, "when we have enough money, we will have a new roof." He invited me to visit the monastery when I'm in India. "It rains in the guest house too, but only in May and June."
What a totally cool day!