On Jan 9th 2013 the Blanton Museum invited 10 monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery to create a 5-foot sand mandala in the museum’s Rapoport Atrium as a part of the museum’s Into the Sacred City exhibit.
The word “mandala” is Sanskrit loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. Tibetan Buddhists say that a mandala consists of five “excellencies”:The teacher, The message, The audience, The site, The time
The lamas begin the work by drawing an outline of the mandala on the wooden platform, which requires the remainder of the day. The following days see the laying of the colored sands, which is effected by pouring the sand from traditional metal funnels called chak-purs. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand, while running a metal rod on its grated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.
The destruction of a sand mandala is also highly ceremonial. Even the deity syllables are removed in a specific order The sands are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience the remainder of the sand is collected in a jar which is then wrapped in silk and transported to a river (or any place with moving water), and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.
all images copyright © 2013 brianbirzer.com | more photos on my flickr set