Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sand Mandalas

What is the essence of presence? Perhaps it is having no desire to control. Thus the sand mandala.

Now often demonstrated by the Dalai Lama and groups of Tibetan monks, the ceremony begins with chants, music, prayers, and then pouring millions of grains of sand in bright colors from a metal tube called a chakpu. The finished mandala is about five by five feet in diameter, and takes three to five days to complete.

The creation process concludes with a consecration ceremony, and then... they dismantle the mandala!

For those of us who have become attached to our creations (our life, our image, our successes) this is astonishing, and we have much to learn.

Formed into traditionally prescribed Tibetan iconography that includes geometric shapes and historical Buddhist symbols, the sand mandala is a tool to consecrate and bless the earth and its inhabitants. The dismantling of the mandala symbolizes the impermanence of all existence.