Over the weekend I had the opportunity to witness a mandala being created by eight Buddhist monks from India. They were on a fundraising tour of our area. Over two weeks they demonstrated many aspects of Tibetan culture.
The highlight for me was the creation of a mandala. A mandala is a “sand painting” that represents a spiritual view the universe. The mandala that I witnessed was constructed over four days and was designed by the Dalai Lama. It shows the religions of the earth coexisting in peace.
The monks mediate and pray while they make the mandala to bring themselves to a state of peace. It is created with colorful crushed stone sand, often placed one grain at a time, to create a beautiful image.
Once the mandala is finished, a “deconstruction” ceremony takes place. Incense is lit to purify the area, the monks chant a series of three prayers, and then the mandala is destroyed by brushing the sand into a single pile.
The sand is scooped up and taken to a body of flowing water where it is released in another ceremony. The sand, in spirit, makes its way to the ocean where the prayers it carries cross the earth.
Below is a video I made of the deconstruction ceremony.