Posts filed under ‘Event’

The Making of a Sand Mandala

Avalokiteshvara, or Chenrezig as he is known in Tibetan, is the Buddhist deity who personifies the ideal of compassion. He can be portrayed in several different forms, two of the most popular being as a white deity with either four arms or 1000 arms; the extra arms symbolize his ability to help many beings simultaneously.

The Mandala can be described as being the residence of the respective deities and their retinues. The sand Mandala of Avalokiteshvara was originated from the tantric teachings of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni. Although depicted on a flat surface, the Mandala is actually three-dimensional, being a “divine mansion” at the center of which resides Avalokiteshvara, surrounded by the deities of his entourage.

 Every aspect of the Mandala has meaning: nothing is arbitrary or superfluous. The four outer walls of the mansion are in five transparent layers, colored as white, yellow, red, green, and blue, representing faith, effort, memory, meditation, and wisdom (these five colors also represent the five dankinis).

The four doorways, one in the center of each of the four walls, represent the Four Immeasurable Thoughts: love, compassion, joy, and equanimity and there are decorated with precious jewels. The lotus flower in the center of the Mandala represent the lotus family, one of the Buddha families that correspond to the five psychophysical components of a human being, and which purify specific impure states of mind; the Lotus family purifies passion into discriminating awareness. The white thousand arms, thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara is standing in the center of the lotus flower, on a white moon disk.

 In the four directions are seated his retinue seated on white full moon disks. The deities arise from the unity of; the wisdom of emptiness and great bliss of the principle deity Avalokiteshvara. Seated on the eastern red petal is the purified aspect of Hatred in the form of a blue deity Akshobhya, on the southern yellow petal is the purified aspect of Misery in the form of a yellow deity Ratnasambhava and likewise, the purified part of Ignorance & Jealousy are represented by the white deity Vairochana at the western and the green deity Amogasiddhi at the northern petal respectively. The central deity Avaloketishvara represents the freedom from attachment.

The four colors in the four directions are the emanated light rays of the four deity retinues. The lotus itself symbolizes the mind of renunciation. To protect the residence from negative conditions, it is surrounded by a Vajra fence, which also symbolizes the continuous teaching of the Vajrayana (Tantric Teaching) by lord Avalokiteshvara. In the outermost part, it is circled with burning flames that radiate with intense light and are not only for protection but also to burn away or to get red of delusion and the darknesses of the ignorance.

In general, the Mandala shows a method of bringing peace and harmony in our world, through genuine practices of the mind of Great Compassion, the Wisdom of Emptiness, and the meditations of Mandala with their respective deities. We can generate the respective qualities as mentioned and thereby bring about a positive change in this world of ours.

For a practitioner who meditateson the Tantra of Avalokiteshvara, one would familiarize oneself with every detail of the Mandala and the deities within it, engaging in repeated exercises based upon visualizing the pure beings and pure environment which symbolized one’s own being and environment in purified, sublime form. Such exercises, carried out within the basic Buddhist framework of developing wisdom and compassion, bring about a profound transformation of the psyche. Just to glimpse the Mandala, however, will create a positive impression on the mind-stream of the observer, who for a moment is in touch with the profound potential for perfect Enlightenment, which exists within the mind of all beings.

 At the end of ritual ceremony, the Mandala will be systematically dismantled and the sand powder of the Mandala will be poured into a river or a sea to remind the impermanence of the world. In fact, it serves to enrich the soil and the mineral resources and to eliminate the untimely death, diseases, famine etc.

 In conclusion, we dedicate the merits generate in the preparation of this Mandala together with its rituals for the world peace and true happiness of all the sentient beings. May peace prevail on the Earth!!

The information about the sand mandala is provided by the monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery.

The Drepung Gomang monks will be at the Newark Museum creating this sand mandala until Thursday, May 12, 12 pm to 4 pm.  The procession and dispersal of the sand into the Passaic River will be on Sunday, May 15 at 3 pm. To learn more about the Newark Museum Tibet Collection Centennial visit,

May 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm 1 comment

Preparing For Dinosaur Day at the Newark Museum

In the main science lab, teen-aged Science Explorers are unpacking fossils, creating identification boards, collecting model magic and pipe cleaners needed to make model dinosaurs and generally getting ready for Dinosaur Day at the Newark Museum on Sunday, May 1 from 10 am to 4:30 pm.

4th annual Dinosaur Day at the Newark Museum will be held on Sunday, May 1 at 10 am to 4:30 pm.

The most popular single-day festival on the Museum’s calendar brings fossils hunters, face painters and scientists to downtown Newark, where families can touch real dinosaur bones, learn about geological disasters and talk to professional geologists about what they study. 

There are lots to do at the Newark Museum Dinosaur Day!

This is the fourth year that we’ve presented Dinosaur Day and we learn something new every year.  This year, because of what’s happened in Japan, we’ll be focusing on Natural Disasters.  Rutgers University will be bringing their Tsunami Tank, Kean University will investigate lightning strikes. There  will even be a Hurricane Tunnel, where visitors can step inside and feel how strong hurricane-strength winds really are —  75 miles per hour!  I can’t wait to try it myself.

Hands-on activities, such as the Tsunami tank allow young scientists to learn about what an earthquake does underneath the ocean.

It takes a lot of people working together to pull off a festival like this.  The tent is being set up in the sculpture garden and most of the supplies have been ordered, except for the Dry Ice that’s needed for making comets in the Cool Comets demonstration.  Kevin Conod, the Manager of the Planetarium, will pick that up that morning, on his way in.

 It takes months to prepare for one day, but when the museum is filled with families, everyone having a great time, together, it’s worth it.  Especially when it has to do with dinosaurs!

Susan Petroulas is the manager of science education at the Newark Museum.

To find out more about events and activities at the Newark Museum, visit

April 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm Leave a comment

Newark Museum Celebrates the Tibet Collection Centennial and Observes Tibetan New Year Festival of Losar on March 5

 The opening of the special exhibition Tsongkhapa—The Life of a Tibetan Visionary begins the Newark Museum’s Tibet Collection Centennial, a nine-month celebration honoring Tibetan art, culture and history on Saturday, March 5.  The Museum will also observe the Tibetan New Year Festival of Losar (Lo meaning year, and Sar meaning new) with a day of activities, films and tours running from 11:30 am until 4:30 pm.  

“As the observance of Losar coincides with the opening of the first special exhibition related to the Newark Museum’s Tibet Collection Centennial, it is both fitting and important to herald our own celebration with a combination of traditional and secular activities,” remarked Newark Museum Director Mary Sue Sweeney Price.  

Losar, the Tibetan New Year, is a three-day festival that seamlessly mixes sacred and secular practices — from Buddhist prayers and auspicious ceremonies to hanging prayer flags, sacred mantras, folk dancing, and of course, partying to ring in Losar.

Tsongkhapa (1357–1419) Central Painting, Tibet, 18th-19th century, Colors, gold on cloth, 26 in. x 19. in., Edward N. Crane Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. E.N. and Mr. A.M. Crane, 1911 11.695

The Museum’s new exhibition Tsongkhapa – The Life of a Tibetan Visionary features a rare complete set of narrative paintings of Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), founder of the Gelug religious order whose most notable member is the Dalai Lama.  One of only three known complete sets of these biographical paintings, it has recently been conserved and will be exhibited in its entirety at the Newark Museum for the first time.

During the Museum’s March 5 observance of Tibetan New Year, the Venerable Lama Pema Wangdak, Director of the Palden Sakya Centers and Vikramasila Foundation, will offer prayers in honor of Losar from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.  The prayer offering will take place in the Tibetan Buddhist Altar, which was consecrated by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in 1990. 

Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in the drop-in art activity Give Peace a Chance and create prayer flags to hang outside the home to bring peace and happiness.  Traditional Tibetan prayer flags are printed with symbols and wishes for luck, compassion, courage or enlightenment.  In Tibetan tradition the flags are then hung outdoors so that the wind may carry these wishes out into the countryside.  An ongoing film screening, Words on the Wind: The Ritual Raising of Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Flags will also be shown The drop-in art activity and film will be held in the Engelhard Court from 1 pm to 4 pm in the Court.

Tibetan films will be shown in the Large Program Hall from 2 pm to 4 pm, including Beyond the Forbidden Frontier: The C. Suydam Cutting Expeditions to Tibet 1935 and 1937 (30 minutes); and a three-part series called Tibet: The Living Tradition Visions of Enlightenment: Tibetan Buddhist Art (16  minutes), Music and Dance: Celebrating Tibetan Festivals (20 minutes), and Creating A Sacred Space: A Tibetan Buddhist Altar (18 minutes).
Katherine Anne Paul, curator of Arts of Asia and curator of the exhibitions featured in the Tibet Collection Centennial will give a tour of Tsongkhapa to visitors at 2:30 pm during the March 5 opening.

For more information about the Tibet Collection Centennial including programs and exhibitions,

March 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm Leave a comment

Newark Museum in the News

The Newark Museum has been in the news a lot lately, with great media coverage of our events and exhibitions.   Read our reviews, and watch what’s been happening at the Newark Museum.  Here’s a snapshot of some of the media buzz we’ve been generating:

January 28:

The Star-Ledger reviews  The Glitter & The Gold,  a dazzling jewelry exhibition located in the new Lore Ross Jewelry Gallery on the second floor of the Ballantine House.

January 29:

Art Critic Dan Bischoff writes in a Star-Ledger review: ‘Posing Beauty’ preview: New exhibit captures fashion and style of African Americans in images spanning more than a century.

February 2:

 The Newark Museum hosted a press conference where Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker announces the Newark Peace Education Summit that will occur on May 13-15.  Of special Note, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama will serve as the keynote speaker.  During the press conference, Newark Museum’s Director Mary Sue Sweeney Price  announced the 2011 Tibet Collection Centennial.  For tickets to the Summit visit

February 7:

Bergen Record’s John Zeaman wrote an art review of  Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, which he writes, “It takes a much more confident and cerebral look at the concept of black beauty, casting a net across more than a century and pulling in some 80 photographs to show how African-Americans have been represented over the decades by white and black photographers alike.”

February 11:

Just for the fun of it! Broadcasting LIVE at the Newark Museum, Channel 12 covered the Museum’s annual family favorite, Circus Science, and clowned around with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s Dr. Adam Smasher.  (You will need a cable account to view the footage.)

February 16:

Reporter Adrienne Supino of My 9 / Fox 5 interviewed Christa Clarke, Ph.D., Curator of African Art and Senior Curator, Arts of Africa and the Americas, regarding Present Tense: Arts of Contemporary Africa.

February 17:

NJN Reporter Marie DeNoia Aronsohn spoke with Dr. Clement Price from Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, and Newark Museum Curator Beth Venn on the many aspects of black beauty depicted in the exhibition, Posing Beauty.

 Come visit the Museum, and tell us what you think!  

To learn more about exhibitions and events, visit

February 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

Announcing two new books on John Cotton Dana and the Newark Museum

 Blog written by Dr. William Peniston, Newark Museum Librarian

On Thursday, November 18 at 4 pm meet author Carol G. Duncan, who will be signing her book "A Matter of Class" during the Holiday Shopping Spree.

A Matter of Class: John Cotton Dana, Progressive Reform, and the Newark Museum

  by Carol G. Duncan (Periscope Publishing, 2010).

This highly original book tracks Dana’s career from its beginnings in the Denver Public Library to his move back East, where he met stiff opposition to his plans for a “museum of service” — his term for the alternative museum he envisioned. Using her incomparable knowledge of the history of museums, Carol G. Duncan, Professor Emerita of Art History at Ramapo College of New Jersey, assesses Dana’s conflicts with influential supporters of the arts, first in Springfield, Massachusetts, and then, for almost three decades in Newark, New Jersey.

 No previous book has reconstructed Dana’s role in the Progressive Movement or been more perceptive about his fiery personality and vision of modernity. A Matter of Class is, as well, an astute guide to the social and political agendas still mixed into the public offerings of our museums and libraries.

Made in Newark: Cultivating Industrial Arts and Civic Identity in the Progressive Era by Ezra Shales (Rutgers University Press, 2010).

In this book, Ezra Shales, who teaches at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, describes a turbulent industrial city at the

Ezra Shales, author of "Made in Newark: Cultivating Industrial Arts and Civic Identity in the Progressive Era" will speak and sign copies of the book on Friday, November 19 at 4 pm. This event takes place during the Holiday Shopping Spree.

dawn of the twentieth century and the ways it inspired the library’s and the museum’s outspoken director, John Cotton Dana, to collaborate with industrialists, social workers, and educators, on experimental exhibitions in which cultural literacy was intertwined with civics and consumption. Local artisans demonstrated crafts, connecting the cultural institution to the department store, school, and factory, all of which invoked the ideal of municipal patriotism. Today, as cultural institutions reappraise their relevance, Made in Newark explores precedents for contemporary debates over the ways the library and museum engage communities, define heritage in a multicultural era, and add value to the economy.

Both authors will be speaking and signing books during the Newark Museum’s Holiday Shopping Spree, November 17 through 21, 2011.

To learn more about the Newark Museum, visit

November 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm 1 comment

Harvest Moon Family Day

Wei Zhou is the Marketing Manager at the Newark Museum  

Huxia Edison Dance Troupe performs at 4 pm at the Harvest Moon Family Day on September 25


This is the 4th year that the Newark Museum is hosting the Harvest Moon Family Day, and this is the second most important holiday in China, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.  It’s very similar to Western culture’s Thanksgiving.   

People gather and are thankful to each other and also think about their relatives far away. One of the traditions is to taste the moon cake that is round, which symbolizes the moon and family unity.  We also taste tea, and for the adults, wine. This holiday also signifies the harvest after many months of hard working in the fields.  

My daughter Amber dressed in traditional Chinese clothing for the Newark Museum's Harvest Moon Celebration.


For me, this holiday is especially significant because the Museum recognizes this important time in East Asian culture.  I was born in China, and my daughter in the United States, and we look forward to this event yearly.  She enjoys making lanterns, origami animals, traditional paper-cutting, and she loves getting dressed up in the traditional Chinese clothing.  Her favorite part of the day is listening the Harvest Moon story.  

The Museum’s Harvest Moon Day is essentially a big party!  Hundreds of people attend including my friends and family, and it’s a joyful time.  For children who are descendants from Asian countries, and for families interested in learning about other cultures, it is a wonderfully, unique experience to learn about traditional East Asian customs. We invite everybody to experience this celebratory day, which involves performances, music and even a taste of moon cakes and a sip of tea!  

For more information about the Newark Museum, visit  

September 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

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