New York Buddhist Church Main Altar

In March, 2014, my daughter and I took a fabulous trip to New York City.

We were wandering about the Upper West Side when we discovered that the Monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery were in residence from March 15-March 22st , at  The New York Buddhist Church and were creating a “sacred traditional sand mandala of the Buddha Amitayus, the Buddha of Infinite Life.”

They were just beginning the intricate geometric outline of the mandala as we entered the room.

Sacred Geometry is very precise

After some time, you can see the outline of the Buddha Amitayus in the center of the mandala. Amitayus is equivalent to Amitabha.

“Amitābha[2] (Sanskrit pronunciation: [əmiˈt̪aːbʱə]), also Amida or Amitāyus, is a celestial buddha described in the scriptures of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal buddha in Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of East Asian Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute, magnetising red fire element, the aggregate of discernment, pure perception and the deep awareness of emptiness of phenomena. According to these scriptures, Amitābha possesses infinite merits resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. Amitābha means “Infinite Light” so Amitābha is also called “The Buddha of Immeasurable Life and Light”.


After the mandala is completed and the ceremonies are over, the monks dissolve the mandala. Here is a lovely time-lapse video of the entire process taken by a member of the New York Buddhist Church.