A mandala is a symbol of the Universe and is represented in a circular pattern. It is intricately designed and mathematically balanced. The mandala requires a large team of monks to work mindfully for days to months to create the precise geometry of the five by five feet pattern. It uses vivid colours and ancient symbols
The monks bend over the piece for hours on end, dropping one grain of sand after another into intricate symbolic patterns. The purpose is to call the community to meditation and awareness of something larger than their own small world.
When their work is complete they perform ritual and prayer and then destroy it all, sweeping each grain of sand or dirt away, giving some to onlookers and then taking the remains to the river or sea.
A typical western approach would be to spend hours and hours creating something and then look for a way to make it permanent.
The Eastern approach is to labour and to enjoy the process of it, knowing that nothing lasts forever.
We spend most of our life trying to hold onto beauty. We want to hold onto our looks, our figures our strong bodies. We cling to our nice houses, our jobs, our intelligence and partners. We work at creating and molding our lives from the outside in.
Practice for today. What are the things you hold on to the most? The real beauty of these things is the creation or existence of them, not the permanence. Have a look at a flower, it’s beauty lies in the fact it is impermanent as opposed to a plastic one that will last forever. As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you have until it is gone.