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These Intricate Tibetan Sand Mandalas Take Weeks to Create Only To Be Destroyed Shortly After



Sand Mandalas are a Tibetan Buddhist tradition where the monk will spend weeks creating the design out of colored sand and then destroy the masterful and intricate work of art.

The Mandalas are dismantled in a special ritual ceremony once they are completed and people have had a chance to view the unique work of art. Breaking it down once the mandala is finished demonstrates a beautiful Buddhist doctrinal belief about the transitionary nature of our mortal lives.

On a symbolic level, it shows us how we design and build beauty in our lives and then when we are done our energy returns into the earth.


The ancient tradition dictates that the mandala be created from crushed colored stone instead of dyed sand.

However in modern times plain white stones are ground down into powder and dyed with various vibrant inks in order to achieve the same effect visually.

Before the monks lay down the sand they will measure out the designs using sacred geometry and specialized measurements.

Small tubes are used to apply the sand granuales onto the mandala. The monks also use funnels and scrapers known as chak-pur in order to sculpt the perfect design.

These incredible mandalas become an active meditation for the monks and will take several weeks to complete. It takes a very long time to add all of the colors and layers to the design.

Many of these mandalas we created by a team of monks who work together on the project. They will start in the center and then work their way out doing one section at a time.

Once the design is finished and people are allowed to see the design there is a ceremony to destroy the design. If the mandala contained symbols of deitys then they are even removed in a specific order. The different symbols are also dismantled in a special order until the whole mandala is completely dismantled.

After the Mandala is dismantled the sand is collected into a jar and then after being wrapped in silk it is carried down to a river or area with running water. Then the sand is returned to nature in order to symbolize the ephemerality (brief existance) of our life and the world itself.



Check out this timelapse of the whole ceremony.


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