Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beautiful Buddhist Sand Art

Tibetan Buddhist sand paintings are usually made of mandalas. In Tibetan, it is called dul-tson-kyil-khor ("mandala of colored powders").

The sand is carefully placed on a large, flat table. The construction process takes several days, and the mandala is destroyed shortly after its completion. This is done as a teaching tool and metaphor for the 'impermanence' (Pali: anicca) of all contingent and compounded phenomena (Sanskrit: Prati-tya-samutpa-da).

The mandala sand painting process begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas, or Tibetan priests, consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. This is done by means of chanting, intention, mudra, asana, pranayama, visualisation, music and mantra recitation, etc.

On the first day, the lamas begin by drawing an outline of the mandala to be painted on a wooden platform. The following days see the laying of the colored sands, which is effected by pouring the sand from traditional metal funnels called chak-pur. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand, while running a metal rod on its serrated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.

Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols (e.g.: Ashtamangala and divine attributes of yidam), seed syllables, mantra, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool or instrument for innumerable purposes, amongst which re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants is elementary.


  1. Microscopic photos of sand A Tiny Work Of Art
    When you take a moonlit stroll on the beach, how often do you think about the tiny grains of sand creeping in between your toes? From above, sand seems like a bunch of tiny brown rocks, perhaps peppered with occasional shells or cigarette butts. But sand has a far more fascinating story to tell.

    Beautiful Sand SculpturesBeautiful Sand sculpting is something that most of us have done on the beach as children, but we didn't call it by such a fancy name. In England we call it building sandcastles but I have also heard it called, 'making sandpits'. I seem to remember my own efforts resembling 'pies' rather than castles.

  2. that's because the sand on the beach IS a bunch of tiny brown rocks... they don't come colored like that