Friday, 18 February 2011


The last few months have been quite intense for me. Actually, the last year or so has been quite intense. Everything is constantly changing and I used to find that hard to deal with.

I am only going on about this because it relates to my project, this is not one of those my life is so hard poor me kind of posts. Life is hard, deal with it.
Anyway, I remebered watching Seven Years in Tibet when I was younger and I always had the image of the Tibetan Monks building this sand mandala, that took them ages to build and then just got destroyed.
So now that my life is so full of changes and surrealism I decided to try and make a few sand mandalas to exercise my patience and ability to let go.

What fascinates me about them is that they are made in such detail that they can take weeks to build. They are made with ground up rocks, or coloured sand and are traditionally a ritual to simbolize the buddhist belief in the transitory nature of material life.
They are made using small funnels and scrapers or an istrument called chakpur (metal tubes with grated surface that vibrate and the vibration makes the sand flow) and are built from the centre onwards.
The ritual is complex, consisting of various phases: purification, centering, orientation, construction, absorption and destruction.

The destruction bit fascinates me. To a lot of people it doesnt make sense, why would you build something that takes you ages and then get rid of it? It is about embracing change and what you build has taught you something, so the physical evidence of it is not needed.

Above is a picture of my first mandala. Only took me 5 hours to make, using a spoon, a card and glitter (I couldnt find any sand, so it seemed like a good substitue. I hate glitter and it was all over me, but one has to sacrifice oneself sometimes). Next time, better tools.

And also there is a film of me destroyng it, which took about 5 minutes. Felt good.

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