EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) – A group of Tibetan monks are in Evansville this week to create something called a ‘sand mandala’ as they fund-raise for their monastery of refugees.

“Whatever funds we raise here like 100% go to the monastery in India, it’s a refugee monastery in the northern part of India, the Tashi Kyil,” says Lobsang Mangushri, a Tibetan monk.

The Buddhist monks are at St. Lucas United Church of Christ this week to create a culturally sacred piece of art in meditative ceremony, fundraising with items like singing bowls and temple bells. The monks are hoping to spread a message of world peace and unity in times of a world growing increasingly divided.

“The main message is like for the world peace, like in this world, we have so many kinds of different religions, so we have to respect each other, and learn that their are valuable lessons from each of them, share our educations, so and living with the loving kindness and compassion and peace,” says Mangushri.

In Tibetan tradition, a sand mandala represents peace and healing. It is created over the course of days to weeks using multiple monks to create a geometric pattern – grain by grain – using a variety of tools and instruments. The organizer says she developed a relationship with the group in 2011.

“In 2012, I traveled to India and I visited their monastery while I was there…The deep impression it made on me was how much they really do need some funding to take care of the little monks and the older monks that are staying at the monastery,” says Cecile Martin, an Evansville area tour coordinator.

The monks will continue working on the mandala until closing ceremonies on Wednesday at 3 p.M, at which point it will be destroyed and deposited into the Ohio River as a blessing.