This week and weekend, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been in Birmingham to attend a symposium at the University of Alabama Birmingham on Neuroplasticity and Healing. Today, he’ll talk to the public in two events at Regions Field (one in conjunction with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Gah!). Tickets for today’s events were sold out, but we didn’t totally miss out on the festivities. For the past few days over at Railroad Park, Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery have been hard at work creating a mandala in honor of the Dalai Lama’s visit, and we were lucky to swing by while they were still at it. Creating the mandala is a painstaking process—it starts as a sketched outline and gets filled in with individual grains of colored sand—but a peaceful one to watch. This was just one more of an increasing number of discoveries that make us appreciate all that our new hometown has to offer. You can read more about the Dalai Lama’s visit and the creation of the mandala here.