Nothing lasts forever
As demotivating as “nothing lasts forever” may sound, it is a pretty important life lesson that Buddhist monks learn to incorporate in the teachings of their life.
Buddhist monks have followed the practice of creating intricate mandalas with colored sand that take over several days to successfully complete. The mandala is made by monks that are trained for around 3 years or more at a monastery. The mandala itself is made by a pair or a trio of monks over a long period of time, they use colored sand to make the mandala and a metal tube that releases the sand onto a desired place. It is created by dropping each particle of sand into an intricate design. It seems as a painstaking process but to the monks it is a form of meditation.
Mandalas were first created in one of the world’s great religions, Buddhism. The mandala is quite a popular cultural and iconic integrated art-form which originates from deep parts of East-Asia and South-Asia. Mandala is a word with origins from ‘Sanskrit’. They emerged from countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tibet and Nepal. By the description of deep rooted Hindu and Buddhist monks and their sacred texts, the Mandala is essentially a spiritual and ritual symbol that depicts the whole universe and its profuse and countless parts of existence. It represents the circle of life and how everything and everyone within an infinite lifetime and limitless universe, are interconnected.
But Why Destroy it?
Although it is an eye-sore to see such a beautiful, complex piece of art to be destroyed. It has very important and deep meaning. They destroy it completely by mixing all the colors with a hand brush, while a monk chants. Then eventually once the ceremony is over the sand is poured into an urn and then released into flowing water. This may sound absurd to the general public, but to the monks it has a deeper spiritual and rooted philosophical reasoning which should be much more important to us as humanity.
The destruction of the Mandala denotes the profound spiritual impermanence of life, and how all things come to an end. It also means how we should learn to let past factors of our life such negative relationships, material objects and possessions let go. The pouring of sand into flowing water from an urn indicates giving energy (a gift) to Mother Earth and passing on enriching energy to the universe and Earth to re-energize our nature.
The destruction of the mandala is definitely one of a positive nature. It establishes the normal conformed meaning of order according to Buddhism. Reconstructing the meaning of reality and perspectives on society. The Buddhist monks gave their own spiritual interpretation on the subject of humanity. As different art-forms and religious practices this too has its own meaning. This concept of art-style is not as common, but Mandalas are. Therefore they are not that prevalent. This should be extremely relevant to us but not widely popularized as most of our society are caught up in a worldly despair in the need of material possessions.