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Peace Week events include creation of sand mandala by Buddhist monks, talk by former neo-Nazi T.J. Leyden

Eleven Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in India will highlight Old Dominion University's Peace Week activities, April 5-9. The monks will spend the week at ODU to create a sand mandala, a Tibetan Buddhist tradition that features a circular design with concentric geometric forms and images of deities.

Sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, ODU's first Peace Week will also feature a keynote address, "Turning Away from Hate," by T.J. Leyden, a former neo-Nazi skinhead who has since worked with the Task Force Against Hate at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and written the book "Skinhead Confessions."

A popular speaker at colleges and universities, Leyden will tell his story and explain how easily hatred and prejudice can become a malevolent force in any community. The free talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in the Webb Center North Cafeteria.

Peace Week activities get under way with the sand mandala opening ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 5, next to the new student art gallery in Webb Center's south mall. Here, the monks will prepare the site with chants and music, after which they will begin to draw the line design for the mandala.

According to the Mystical Arts of Tibet Web site, "Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks. Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants."

During the sand mandala closing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 9, the monks will dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sand to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists. Half of the sand will be distributed to the audience. The monks will then carry the remaining sand to the Elizabeth River, where it will be ceremonially poured to disperse the healing energies of the mandala throughout the world.

For more information about these and other Peace Week events (below), contact Leah Douglas, graduate assistant for the Division of Student Affairs, at 683-5869 or lcdougla@odu.edu.

Monday, April 5

  • Sand Mandala Opening Ceremony, Webb Center, South Mall, 11:30 a.m. (continues until 5 p.m.)
  • Community Sand Painting, South Mall, 12:30 p.m.

Students and the public have an opportunity to create a sand painting in conjunction with the mandala sand painting exhibition.

  • Candlelight Vigil, Webb Center front steps, 7 p.m.

A candlelight vigil will be held to honor those currently affected and those who have lost their lives to violence in all of its forms. Stop by and light a candle for peace.

Tuesday, April 6

  • Sand Mandala, Webb Center, South Mall, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • "Turning Judgment into Compassion: The Basics of Non-violent Communication," Tidewater Wesley Foundation, 1338 W. 49th St., noon to 2 p.m.

Join the Tidewater Wesley Foundation for a free lunch, lecture and conversation led by Eddie Oliver. Lunch begins at noon, followed by the lecture at 12:30 p.m.

  • Creative Writing Workshop: Forgiveness, sponsored by Writers in Community, Webb Center, Newport News Room, 2-3 p.m.

Join Writers in Community for a creative writing workshop focusing on "forgiveness." Registration preferred: contact Mary Westbrook, ODU adjunct faculty member in the English department, at mwestbro@odu.edu. Please bring paper and a writing utensil.

  • Open-Mic Night, sponsored by the Military Student Union, Webb Center, House of Blue, 7-9 p.m.

How do you interpret peace? Show us how at Open-Mic Night. Admission is free, and acts can sign up at the door.

Wednesday, April 7

  • Sand Mandala, Webb Center, South Mall, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • T.J. Leyden, "Turning Away from Hate," Webb Center, North Cafeteria, 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 8

  • Sand Mandala, Webb Center, South Mall, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Peace in Action Fair, Kaufman Mall, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Interested in how you can help create more peace? Stop by the Peace in Action Fair to talk to representatives from local agencies that encourage and create peace.

  • "Peace," by John Upton, Baptist Student Union, corner of 49th Street and Elkhorn Avenue, 12:15 p.m.

John Upton, executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, will speak on the issue of peace. Come out for a free lunch followed by an inspirational message.

  • Wendy Murphy, "Finding a Voice in the Room Without a Seat at the Table," North Cafeteria and Hampton/Newport News Room, 7 p.m.

Despite a half century of criticism and repeated efforts at reform, the legal system continues to fail victimized women and children. Find out what is still wrong and what you can do about it. Presented by Wendy Murphy, author of "And Justice for Some."

Friday, April 9

  • Sand Mandala Closing Ceremony and Dispersal of Sand, Webb Center, South Mall, 11:30 a.m.

The monks will dismantle the mandala, giving half of the sand to the audience, and carrying the remaining sand to the Elizabeth River.

  • Praying in Color, sponsored by University Chaplains Association, Webb Center, Rectors Room, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Praying in Color is a creative way to spend time in prayer without words. It provides an opportunity for even those who are not artistic to create a visual reminder of prayer concerns while spending time in quiet meditation.

  • Stress Free Zone, sponsored by the Office of Counseling Services, Hampton/Newport News Room, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to escape from the stress of final exams and end-of-semester woes. The zone will provide a relaxing setting for playful activities and stress reduction. In addition, healing touch and chair massages will be offered, along with soothing music and light refreshments.

  • Peace Garden Dedication, behind Webb Center, 3 p.m.

President John Broderick will unveil the dedication plaque for the Peace Garden, formerly known as the Princess Anne Garden.

  • Basic Foundations of Yoga, sponsored by Recreation and Wellness, Kaufman Mall, 6:30 p.m.

Aimee Leifer from Recreation and Wellness will lead an evening yoga class on Kaufman Mall, a chance to learn some basic poses to take home and practice. Registration required: AimeeL320@yahoo.com.

  • Stress Management Workshop, Student Health Services and Recreation and Wellness, Webb Center, Cape Charles Room, 1-2 p.m.

Feeling stressed? For tips on reducing stress and creating inner peace, join Student Health Services and Recreation and Wellness for a stress management workshop.

This article was posted on: March 31, 2010

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