Sand Mandalas are the ancient form of Buddhist art. They are the temporary form of arts. The process of creating and then destroying the mandalas has a symbolic importance for monk practitioners.
In Tibet the sand mandala is called Kuktson Kyilkhor, meaning “mandala of colored sand powder.” In Sanskrit, it describes “cosmogram”, or “world in harmony.” According to Tibetan culture, wherever a Sand Mandala is created, all sentient beings and the surrounding environment are blessed.
There is outer, inner as well as the secret meaning of every mandala. On the outermost level they represent the world in its divine form; on the inner level, they represent a map with the help of which an ordinary human mind is transformed into an enlightened mind. On the secret level, they represent a perfect balance between body, mind and the soul. The creation of the sand painting is meant to purify and heal on all three levels.
Unlike Painted mandalas, Sand mandalas are not permanent. They go into construction and destruction.
Before the sand mandala is actually constructed, the place is prayed by monks who will make music, chant and recite prayers and mantras.
The Construction Process
Immediately after the chanting, the group of monks starts drawing lines for the design of the mandala. The measurement for mandalas is done using a straight-edged ruler, a compass, and a white ink pen.
Throughout the creation, the monks pour the grains of sand in a uniform order. The sand is poured with the help of a funnel-shaped metal tool known as chakpur. The funnel is first filled with colored sand and is then poured on a uniform basis. The finished mandala is about four feet in diameter and usually requires a week or so to complete.
The Deconstruction Process
As said earlier, these mandalas need to be diminished. This process is for teaching that everything that begins should finally end.
Some of the sands redistributed to the audiences so that they can use it for blessing and healing purpose. The sand can either be kept in one’s home on the altar or be dispersed around your yard as a protection for your home and family. The whole region, and in fact the whole earth, is said to be blessed by this process.