Butter sculptures, an ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition, are considered sacred and often depict deities, flowers and animals. The art also demonstrates the Buddhist principle of impermanence.

On Memorial Day, they were scheduled to meditate at 8 a.m. at the Hampden studio, 3000 Chestnut Ave. And on Tuesday, they began a five-day project in the Mount Washington studio to make a sacred "sand mandala" painting out of grains of colored sand.

The public can stop by the yoga studio at Falls Road and Lake Avenue from May 30 to June 3 to watch the painstakingly created, 5-foot by 5-foot mandala take shape and to meet the monks.

In addition, each morning from 8 - 8:30 am at the Hampden and Mt. Washington studios, visitors can join the monks for seated meditations, according to the marketing firm.

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Other activities of note this week for the public include a talk and Tibetan Cultural Pageant at First Unitarian Church on June 1, and the closing of the sand mandala ceremony June 3 at the yoga studio in Mount Washington.

New perspective

Tsondy, who served as a spokesman for the monks with assistance from Sunita, said the monks are here "to promote universal peace and compassion — and to share our traditions and Buddhist culture. And we try to find support for the Tibet cause."

He said they are also here to teach people "how to relax and how to get a new perspective on life."

In addition to raising awareness and enlightenment, they are also here to raise money for their monastery and for basic food and medical supplies. All donations are earmarked for the monastery, Sunita said.

As the knelt on the stage at Roland Park Country School, Kaliq Simms, the school's director of diversity and equity education, knelt with them.

students have studied world religions and knew a little bit about Tibetan-Buddhism philosophy.

One girl told the monks, "In order to be enlightened, you have to give up desire."

"Yes, yes," Tsondy said, beaming.

"I thought it was amazing," said freshman Hailey Wolf. "Hearing the chant at the end was so calming and put you in a state of mind I've never really experienced."