honors all paths to God, according to acting spiritual leader Richard Burdick. In addition to the Christmas festivities, the church will host its 5th weeklong visit from Tibetan Buddhist monks.
The monks are from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India. They seek to demonstrate the Tibetan culture and promote world peace while supporting their 3,000-member monastery, which has built up from 250 monks who escaped Tibet when China took over that country in 1959, according to Ann Armstrong Patterson, who coordinated the monks' visit.
The church Office Manager Wendy Beck told Northeast Cobb Patch that the 10 monks are spending the week working on a mandala sand painting of the Medicine Buddha to promote world healing at the church. They are also performing their transcendent temple dances and music. It will be their last North American appearance before they return to India.
Highlights of their visit from Nov. 27 through Dec. 4 include opening and closing ceremonies, creation of the mandala, an Interfaith meditation service, and a special event, Sacred Music Sacred Dance.
The mandala construction is open to the public from noon until 7 p.m. daily through Saturday.
Saturday at 7:30 p.m., the church will host the monks' sacred dance. Tickets are $20 each. The performance features multiphonic singing, wherein the monks simultaneously intone three notes of a chord. The Drepung Loseling monks are particularly renowned for this unique singing. They also utilize traditional instruments such as 10-foot long dung-chen horns, drums, bells, cymbals and gyaling trumpets. Rich brocade costumes and masked dances, such as the Dance of the Sacred Snow Lion, add to the exotic splendor.
On Sunday, the completed mandala will be on display from 1 to 2 p.m., with a closing ceremony to follow. The mandala sands will then be dispersed into Lake Cherful in Mountain Park.
Endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the monks tour has three basic purposes: to make a contribution to world peace and healing; to generate a greater awareness of the endangered Tibetan civilization; and to raise support for the Tibetan refugee community in India.
For more information, a detailed schedule of activities is available.
Unity North Atlanta Church is located at 4255 Sandy Plains Rd., near the intersection with Wigley Road.