A group of Tibetan monks visiting Charlottesville completed a six-day art ritual for world peace.
People stopped by the Unity of Charlottesville church all week to watch the peace sand mandala, an ancient art form, come together. Seven Tashi Kyil monks from northern India started the project on Sunday.
Charlottesville is a stop on the refugee monastery's national tour to educate people on Tibetan teachings. The monks put the finishing touches on their mandala around noon Friday. They've worked for several hours each day to funnel about two pounds of colored sand into an intricate design.
The mandala features a variety of figures and symbols that represent values such as compassion, love and happiness, and the monks say the artwork serves as a reminder and guideline to strive for world peace.
"These four elements, they represent, like, protect from the obstacle, that evil or obstacle - they can't shake our world. In our world, all men are safe. Peace, love and compassion," said Tenpa Phuntsok, a Tashi Kyil monk.
The peace mandala was swept away shortly after it was finished. The monks say the practice emphasizes the Buddhist belief of impermanence.
The monks will wrap up their weeklong visit with a ceremony called "Let's Travel to Tibet" starting at 7:00 Friday night. Admission is free but donations will be accepted.