Sand Mandalas

Sacred cosmograms of Buddhism

Sand Mandalas

Photographed in Lamayaru , Phyang and Sputik Monastery, Leh

The sand mandalas are mystical symbolism of Buddhism - signifying the enlightened mind . Formed with intricate geometric patterns that take a long time to take shape . These sand mandalas or sacred cosmograms connote universe and Buddhism philosophies. Every mandala is different yet each has a lesson behind them. The mandalas represent house of the deity and have a ceremonious beginning in a special prayer hall. The designs usually start with a dot in between - working outwards and surrounded by 4 squares or 4 gates . Each of these gates represents a direction and has a Buddha in a different Mudra. Outside are concentric circles that also have meanings like enlightenment and an end to ignorance.

When the mandala is finally finished and this divine geometry of the heavens comes to life, the monks pray over it — and then they destroy it. They sweep it up, every last grain of sand and give handfuls of it away to those who participate in the closing ceremony as a final memory of sublime possibility. Then they throw the rest of the sand into the nearest living stream to be swept into the ocean to bless the whole world. In an instant, all those months of work , after all that artistry, it’s over.

The Sand Mandalas connote the Buddhism philosophy - Nothing is permanent . Nothing.

Read my experience photographing this divine process