(WBIR - Knoxville) A group of monks are in East Tennessee this week giving local residents a chance to learn more about their culture.
The Losel Shedrup Ling Tibetan Buddhist Center is hosting the Monks of Tashi Kyil Monastery starting Sunday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. The monks are touring throughout the U.S. to raise funds for their small monastery.
From Sunday through Wednesday, the monks will be at the church creating a sand mandala which the Buddhist Center's president, Jim Conant, described as an extremely intricate sand painting which is like nothing he's ever seen.
He said the energy that goes into creating the mandala is supposed to symbolize world peace.
After four days of intricate work, the sand creation will be deliberately destroyed and poured into the Tennessee River.
Conant said this is done to spread the message and understanding of impermanence.
"You don't want to get attached to things, things are constantly changing and one of the biggest buddhist principles is impermanence, you know there's nothing that lasts forever and so in particular this sand painting doesn't last forever they deliberately destroy it," Conant said.
The public is invited to watch the monks create the sand mandala from Sunday through Wednesday between the hours of 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
The closing ceremony which will include the dissolution of the sand mandala is scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and is also open to the public.
Click here to see a full schedule of events for the monks visit to East Tennessee and more information about the sand mandala.