Making The Mandala

I normally post a single photograph at a time but today we visited the Virginia Holocaust Museum where a group of Tibetan monks was working on a mandala.  It was an inspiration to witness the patience, concentration and precision of the monks at work.  To give you a better feel for the whole scene I decided to post a series of photos.

The Tibetan Buddhist art of mandala is a practice in which the participants create an elaborate, beautiful mosaic of colored sand.   They work on the mandala for many days, adding little bits of colored sand to fill in each section.  The sand is added slowly and precisely to create crisp, clear lines.  When the mandala is finished the monks sweep up the sand and discard it in a river.  The process is both meditative and a practice in impermanence.

This monk was working alone when we arrived.  His concentration was remarkable.

photograph of a Tibetan monk concentrating on adding sand to a mandala

Despite the crowd of people watching, the monks remained focused on the task at hand.

photograph of a crowd watching Tibetan monks make a mandala

One of the monks gets more blue sand to add to the mandala.

photograph of a Tibetan monk getting colored sand to use for a mandala

Up to three monks worked on the mandala at a time.

photograph of two Tibetan monks working on a mandala

photograph of Tibetan monks working on a mandala

Here you can see some of the vibrant colored sand used to create the mandala.

photograph of the colored sand used by Tibetan monks to make a Mandala

I’ll leave you with a classic Buddhist wish, part of the metta bhavana, or “loving kindness”, practice…

May you be well.

May you be happy.

May you be free from suffering.

About Doug Couvillion

I'm an amateur photographer living in the Richmond, Virginia area. I use photography as a creative outlet and something completely different from my profession. View all posts by Doug Couvillion

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