A half dozen children sit silently while Keydong nuns chant. There is no distraction from the morning chanting meditation, not even when a woman walks into the room wearing heels; a sign requests that visitors remove their shoes.
The hanging of yellow tapestries and burning of incense morph an otherwise characterless room into a space where prayer does not seem unusual.
After rounds of horn blowing and cymbal clanging, the chanting ends. One-by-one, the nuns remove their saffron yellow shawls, fold them, stand, and walk away. Visitors look around, unsure of what to do next. Moments later, the women return, ready to delve back into working on the mandala.
The Tibetan Buddhist nuns — who live in exile in Kathmandu, Nepal — have been creating a sand mandala since September 13 in the Austin Arts Center on the Trinity College campus, where Tibetan art is also on display.
The mandala is on display, free of charge to the public, from 10-5 through Friday and 1-5 on Saturday. On Sunday, October 14th, there will be a dismantling ceremony at noon.