An art that has been carried on for centuries, symbolising the universe and believed to create a positive environment. I am referring to the Tibetan Buddhist sacred art of Mandala (means circle in Sanskrit), which is made by monks from millions of grains of dyed sand or paint. A bit similar to Rangoli made by Hindus.
Monks spend days to make this intricate masterpiece, with utmost care and precision, as you will see in the pictures below. Mandalas are believed to assist in purification and healing and represent the Buddhist value of compassion, so the process of making one, as you will find out, involves few rituals, even while destroying the design.
The process of making a mandala starts with an opening ceremony, when the monks will pray and chant to sanctify the place, then draw the detailed design from the center outwards on a wooden platform.
Monks start filling the circular design using metal funnels called ‘chak-pur’. The vibrations of the chak-pur being grated with a metal rod causes the sand to flow like liquid.
Apart from sand even powdered flowers, herbs, stones, or grains are used. In ancient times, powdered precious and semiprecious gems were also used.
The design consists of various deities with the principle deity in the centre of it, so mandala also serves like a meditation tool. Traditionally, mandalas are destroyed shortly after its completion, in a ritual ceremony.
The monks ask for blessings of the deities, and as they chant the mandala is slowly wiped off to serve a reminder of impermanence of life, a Buddhist teaching. The sand is then collected and dispersed into the sea to spread its healing power to the world, you know the the power of thoughts on water molecules, it transforms into beautiful designs.