Buddhist Sand Mandala

Buddhist mandalaA few years back (well, maybe a decade!) I saw Buddhist Monks make a spectacular sand mandala. It was in Pittsburgh, PA, and took place during a visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It takes about 6 days to make such a mandala, and the practice of patience and focus required to make such a work of art is itself a meditation. A mandala, a circular shape with a center,  is a universal symbol of wholeness. Mandala are everywhere in nature, for example a daisy has a yellow center surrounded by white petals. Mandalas are in many religious traditions, for example the Native American Medicine Wheel, or the complex Rose windows in the Gothic Cathedrals. Labyrinths are mandalas.

I just found this video of a time lapse of Tibetan monks making a sand mandala at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. It took them 6 days to make this elaborate shape. When they are finished they destroy the mandala as a reminder that we are all impermanent, and that we too will be destroyed one day. The thought is a bit similar to Christian Ash Wednesday: “From ashes we come and to ashes we return.” This Mandala Video takes about 2 minutes to watch the creativity it took the monks 6 days to complete. After I saw it I pondered on the intricacies of my own life, the amount of time, effort, focus, creativity, love, and work that I put into my decades of living. And that one day, as quickly as the erasing of the mandala, it will all be over. I hope that at the end of my life that I can be assured that I somehow contributed to a better world, in the same way that once the mandala is destroyed, the sand is released into the waters for healing.

Oceans: Need our love and help

I just went to see the movie Oceans. It is a product of Disney Nature and was released on Earth Day. It was so lovely and I was very moved. It was especially poignant since millions of gallons of oil were polluting our ocean  while I was watching. I could never forget that fact. The creatures in the ocean are amazing, with such strange eyes and mouths. Like aliens from another planet, but from our planet.

The Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers are having a healing for the waters tomorrow. Prayers will be given all over the world. I will join in the prayer of hope and healing for our waters. If you can go to a body of water, a spring or creek or pond that would be ideal. But just a glass of water on your kitchen counter can be the focus for your healing prayers to this wonderful and traumatized ocean of ours.