The Bhuddist Mandala
Affirmations of the Buddhist faith line the walkways and touch on the lives of the Sherpa people at every step of their daily lives. Most of the cues come from humble and unadorned monuments, but the colorful and imaginative mandala of Tibetan origin brilliantly breaks the imagery of dull stonework and tarnished copper. The mandala is a very significant image for the meditating Buddhist monks, who envision the imaginary palace during their deep contemplation. Just as the components of the Om-Mani-Padme-Hung mantra combine and dissolve to represent a myriad of subtle spiritual meanings, the objects in the paintings of the mandala represent principles of wisdom and mental detachment from the physical world. The mandala image can be found painted on gateways near monasteries, but the most intriguing display is constructed of materials including paper and colored sand. Over several days a group of monks prepare the materials and intricately place them following rigid guidelines.
The image is made to depict the temple and the walls are rendered to show
amazing detail in the structure of the building, and each of the colors, shapes
and characters are purposefully place to convey great spiritual lessons. There
are a number of designs for the mandala, and each one focuses a different theme,
like classroom subjects. Even the smallest details hold meaning, and varied
configurations give alternate studies. Reading one mandala can lead on endlessly
to exhaust the full meanings, but it is meant to be kept for a short time.
After a sand mandala is completed the monks perform a final dismantling ritual
to acknowledge and remind of the fleeting nature of the temporal existence.
The monks gather the deity elements out of the sand painting, remainder is
collected in a jar, and it is brought away to cast into the air. It seems like
a waste to destroy the fruits of so much effort, but to the monks the beauty
and fulfillment resides in the creation and contemplation of the principles.
The artwork that is left is just a dried out husk of the vibrant truth.