Intricate, or: the world in a grain of sand


Sand mandalas: I had seen pictures of them, but seeing one right in the process of its making was special – this realization that it is a lot about the process, that the work itself, the placing of one sand corn after the other is the real point of it.

It also took a bit to understand the process – first I thought, the golden cups on the shelf beyond the mandala table are candles. But they are sand pots:


Turns out, the sand is applied with the help of wooden tubes, which are vibrated to make the sand flow. They are “played” like tiny sand violins – you see that detail on the right side when you look closely:


And another detail: the monks wear respirators to prevent that sand might shift through their breath when they lean in close for detail structures.

& a mandala quote:

“Each person’s life is like a mandala- a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life. We enter a room, and the room is our mandala. We get on the subway, and the subway car is our mandala, down to the teenager checking messages on her iPhone and the homeless man slumped in the corner. We go for a hike in the mountains, and everything as far as we can see is our mandala: the clouds, the trees, the snow on the peeks, even the rattlesnake coiled in the corner. We’re lying in a hospital bed, and the hospital is our mandala. We don’t set it up, we don’t get to choose what or who shows up in it. It is, As Chogyam Trungpa said, “the mandala that is never arranged but is always complete.” And we embrace it just as it is…”
(Pema Chodron, via 100DaysforMandalas)


In response to the current photo theme “Intricate”.
Here’s the stream of “Intricate” photos + the call: photo challenge “Intricate”


4 thoughts on “Intricate, or: the world in a grain of sand

  1. Very interesting and unique article. Thank you for sharing and I might take up on arts and crafts now. I just need a lot of sand!

  2. thanks for your feedback! it was amazing to watch the monks working on the mandala. and yes, to think that it is created knowing that it will be destroyed afterwards!

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