Sand Mandala

November 11, 2012

in Nepal


In Tibetan Buddhism, geometric representations of the universe called mandalas are made from colored sand for special ceremonies. Piped down small tubes, millions of grains of sand are layered to form ornate designs and even drawings of small figures. The process requires a steady and patient hand.


This particular mandala is for Vajrayogini, a powerful female Tantric deity whose practice can help to transform our mundane daily activities into a higher spiritual path toward enlightenment. The mandala sits in the center of a monastery for about one week as monks chant prayers around it and meditate, envisioning it as a three-dimensional palace housing Vajrayogini and the philosophical qualities she embodies. At the end, the sand will be ritualistically swept away into water, completing the cycle of creation and destruction. That’s very fitting, considering Buddhist tenets about the transitory nature of life in general.

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