Sand Creation By Visiting Tibetan Buddhists Symbolizes Impermanence

December 22, 2010

Author: Scott Hewitt

Source: The Columbian

Everyone’s enjoyed the paradoxical play of sand castle construction — focusing with delight and deliberation on a project that’s doomed. The point is the process, the reward your own sense of satisfaction despite the looming tide.

Now imagine spending day after day drawing on ancient designs to create the most stunningly elaborate, spiritually significant sand art on the planet — and then sweeping it up like so much dust when it’s done.

A group of five Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery of southern India has been touring the West Coast since October, and most of their days are spent piecing together, grain by grain, mandalas made of multicolored sand. On Tuesday morning, those monks prayed and chanted in the main room of the Cascade Park Community Library before buckling down on a three-day mandala project.