Although I am not a practicing Buddhist, I have several friends who are and whose example serve as guides for me to live a life in harmony with love and compassion. One such friend is Greg Schultz (a nice Jewish boy who took his Buddhist vows several years ago). He was also the yenta (matchmaker) who opened the door to my interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama back in 2008. For many years, Greg has brought in a group of monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery in India. These men are gifted in the art of chanting and the creation of a circular work of art called a mandala. Each one is embued with prayers for such lofty concepts as healing, love, compassion and enlightenment; but made from matter. They are comprised of tiny grains of colored sand that are meticulously placed in the intricate design. I have witnessed several being constructed. The one pictured above was created this past week at Sun Dog Yoga in Doylestown, PA. The monks spent several days in prayer as they created magic. Once the mandala is complete, it is then deconstructed with the sand pushed into a pile. The once rainbow-hued image becomes a mish mosh of non-descript gray sand. Some of it is placed in a body of water, so to bless it and the rest put in baggies for folks to take home with them. The practical side of me thought to ask how the monks manage to spend days bent over the pattern on the floor. “Don’t their backs hurt?”, I asked my friend Kathy Sweeney who was hosting the monks during their stay in the area this time around. “They get chiropratic work done by Mahan Rishi Singh Khalsa.”, she answered. He is a friend of ours who is an American born Sikh.
The Buddhist concept of impermanence comes into play here, since nothing lasts in the form it was once in. A few years ago, when I was first introduced to the monks and their artistic gifts, it occurred to me that just like that colorless sand at the end, was no less once that gloriously colored medium, so too when we are ‘deconstructed’ at the end of our lives, are we no less the beautiful creations we were born to be. Om Shanti~
http://youtu.be/10084L3Pqsc Construction and Destruction of a Mandala