This sequence reveals Koji Mimachi and his teenaged daughter, Kyoko, preparing their family plot in the community cemetery near their house in Miyoshi, Hiroshima for the veneration rites for Koji's late father during the first Obon (Hatsubon) since his death.
This sequence depicts Koji Mimachi, the principal subject of A Miyoshi Obon (D. S. Mote, 2007, 46 minutes), cleaning gravestones in his family's plot at the community cemetery near his house in Miyoshi, Hiroshima in preparation for the first Obon (Hatsubon) since his father's death.
From Tuesday, June 24 through Saturday, June 28, 2008, monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta created a Manjushri (Buddha of Wisdom) mandala in the atrium of the Emory Math/Science Center during the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS) congress at Emory. Making a Mandala is an observational film about the making of that particular mandala.
The piece explores the role of imagination in the making of a mandala by paying close attention to the physical work of the monks as they prepare for, create, and then dismantle the sacred sand painting. Though we do not have access to what is going on in the monks’ minds as they paint, we can see the visible results of their interior work as the mandala takes shape. One of the reasons Tibetan Buddhists paint sand mandalas is because the work of painting is held to produce positive, transformative effects within and for the painters and, by extension, for the world. Though we cannot see the inner transformation that happens within and for the monks, we can imagine the extensive memory work involved in creating a mandala and ways in which the mandala serves as a mnemonic device in practicing deity yoga. By paying attention to bodily practices, we can observe the ways in which the monks go about collaboratively painting a perfect cosmos by heart.