Although much of Tibetan culture has been squelched by Chinese occupation, Tibetan medicine survives, its practical uses continuing to bring spiritual and physical balance to a people thrown off-kilter by invasion and exile. Visiting the Sackler this week, monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery, an outpost of Tibetan Buddhism in exile in India, will apply a karmic Band-Aid to the world. Over the course of nine days, employing thousands of years of tradition and millions of grains of colored sand, the monks will painstakingly demonstrate one of the more magical and spiritual Tibetan medical practices, the art of the sand mandala. At the higher levels of Buddhism the mandala applies to the world collective, the divine mansion where deities and sacred geometry promote peace, balance, compassion, wisdom, and heightened consciousness. At the individual level it is a map, a blueprint for whole health. Imagine the mandala as a three-dimensional structure and pass through its doors, each floor a step in the path to enlightenment: body, speech, mind, and, finally, wisdom. It is said that just to view the mandala can bring peace and healing, and Buddhists believe its very creation creates a karmic ripple that can calm the world. Upon completion and in accordance with tradition, the monks will destroy the mandala, transporting the sand to a nearby river (here the Potomac) to distribute its magic throughout world. From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. & 2-4 p.m. Aug. 1-5 & 7-9, and from 2-4 p.m. & 5-7 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Greg Pavlovcak)

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