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Philadelphia artist uses art to boost domestic violence awareness

Domestic violence is an issue that continues to affect the Philadelphia community and its families. Whether involving husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend or other family members, the dangers - and need for immediate help - are sometimes forgotten amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

However, one artist here in Philadelphia is doing his part to educate residents about the problem while providing a message of hope and understanding. The artist, who currently serves at the Tibetan Buddhist center of Philadelphia as its spiritual director, recently created a mandala titled "While of Life" that addressed domestic violence. A mandala is a type of picture, often created using an ancient form of sand painting.

The picture itself starts in the middle with a number of animals symbolizing ignorance, greed and anger - some causes of suffering. It then shows the progression of a family affected by domestic violence, from occurrence to recovery. The goal, according to the artist, is to use the mandala to educate local residents and to promote a better future.

Those suffering the effects of domestic violence can certainly take hope from this type of positive statement. However, understanding one's options to address things like physical abuse can be very important for one's immediate well-being. For example, residents of the Philadelphia area who fear imminent harm from a close loved one may be able to obtain a restraining order against that person. This can help calm the situation and put those in fear on a path toward recovery. Other options may also be available, depending on the particulars of a person's situation.

Perhaps as a sign of how even bad situations will come to an end, the artist confirmed that the sand painting was to undergo a tradition dismantling ceremony where a blessing would proceed the pouring of the sands into the water. In recognizing the end of the cycle, those dealing with issues of domestic violence can take heart that help is available to protect them and allow for a better future.

Source: NewsWorks.org, "Tibetan artist addresses domestic violence through grains of sand," Lindsay Lazarski, Nov. 20, 2013

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