Tibetan Monk Lama Tenzin Spreads a Message of Compassion

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset The Venerable Tenzin Yignyen wants us to recognize happiness: “If you do something you are proud of, that’s happiness. It lasts much longer than pleasures.” The Tibetan Buddhist monk and friend of Ross School spent the week of September 28 to October 2 at the Upper School campus teaching students about Tibetan philosophies of mindfulness and mediation. He explained how these same philosophies, implemented as mindful and compassionate practices, epitomize the Ross Core Values. At the center of Lama Tenzin’s meditative teachings lies the sand mandala—a Tibetan tradition of artistic creation and destruction. The mandala chosen by Lama Tenzin for this visit was one of compassion, constructed with colored marble dust, a set of Chakpur drawing tools, and a great quantity of patience. He created the mandala throughout the week in the Ross Gallery, and parents, teachers, and students from both the Upper and Lower Schools seized this exceptional opportunity to witness Buddhist tradition and to participate in active learning about Tibetan philosophies.


On Friday, in a shared final ceremony, the mandala was swept into a vase, its elements to be returned to the sea. Lama Tenzin imparted his closing wisdom on the attentive crowd, maintaining that the best way to preserve art is to destroy it. The ceremony served as a metaphor for the Buddhist idea of detachment as the true route to happiness. A peaceful group of students, parents, and teachers exited the Gallery, contemplating Lama Tenzin’s message of compassion and feeling motivated to spread the reach of happiness among the campus community. We wish to extend our many thanks to the Parents Association for sponsoring Lama Tenzin’s annual visit to Ross.