What am I still doing in Cancun?

The adventures of an American single mommy working and playing in paradise.

The First Mayan/Tibetan Cultural Encounter


On Friday September 9 I had the privilege of attending an amazing event for work at our hotel Hacienda Tres Rios in the Riviera Maya. The organizations involved were The Mystical Arts of Tibet and Producciones Arte Maya. It was a cultural event comparing the Mayan and Tibetan cultures. The event consisted of conferences and a documentary but the spiritual ceremonies held by the Tibetan Monks and local Mayans were the best part.

The Mayan welcoming ceremony was held on the beach next to the Caribbean. It was hotter than hell but the energy was invigorating. The media folks were frantically trying to get the best pictures and video.

Mayan welcome ceremony


Mayans and Tibetan monks


Mayans and Tibetan monks


Mayans and Tibetan monks


Then we moved to the lobby so the monks could begin to construct the Mandala. The Mandala is a breathtaking concentric diagram made from colored sand. It is absolutely precise in every detail. The monks train extensively to perfect their skills and concentration. They hold a ceremony before starting and after completing a Mandala.


Dali Lama altar


Mandala ceremony


They started by drawing a meticulous diagram with compasses, rulers and chalk. Then they begin to place the sand.


Mandala construction


Mandala construction



Mandala sand


Mandala construction


All day we would go to other events and then return to the Mandala to see their progress. Each time it just took my breath away. They worked on the Mandala all day for three days. I was only at the event for the first day (I couldn’t spend an entire weekend away from Bebé) and was quite sad that I wasn’t able to visit the Mandala all three days.


Mandala construction



Mandala construction


Mandala construction




Complete Mandala


We also got to attend a Mayan cenote ceremony which is a rebirth/consciousness ceremony held in a natural sinkhole. Hacienda Tres Rios’ nature park has 10 cenotes on the property. The ceremony was really interesting but I got bitten by a Mexican horsefly and who knows what else and my suffering has only just ended. My ankle swelled up everyday for about 5 days afterwards and the itching was unbearable.


Mayan cenote ceremony


These are just some cool Mayan things that were outside one of the conference rooms. The incense they constantly burn, Copal, is seared in my sense (or scents) memory.




Another Mayan ritual we were able to witness was the Temazcal, which is a sauna or sweat lodge.


Temazcal fire






Covering this event was exhausting, and I REALLY missed putting my sweet boy to bed that evening, but I am happy that I was able to attend. It was an experience I will never forget.


  1. The finished product with the colored sand is beautiful. Sounds like you had a great learning experience.

    • I did learn a lot K. I learned that Tibetan monks have e-mail accounts and Facebook pages. I have a FB friend who is a Tibetan monk…pretty cool!

  2. Wow, great photos! This sounds like a cool experience. I would love to have witnessed something like this. Great post!

    • Thanks Tara. It really was cool. I am no photographer but I was pretty happy with my pictures this day. The light must have been good. ha

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