|The monks creating a mandala in Salisbury earlier this month|
'Of all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, that of painting with coloured sand is one of the most exquisite. The mandala essentially is a representation of the celestial mansion or abode of a principal deity or deities, surrounded by their retinues, and representing the path and fruition of the particular cycle of practices. To make a sand mandala, millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place in an intricate design over a period of several days using hollow tubes called chagpurs. The material used is ground marble dust – but in ancient times powdered precious and semi-precious stones were also used. The monks will be creating a Medicine Buddha Mandala.
A total of eight monks will be making the mandala over a period of five days. The exhibition begins with a short dedication prayer, and on completion, the mandala is dismantled in a moving ceremony during which the sand is swept into the centre of the table, symbolizing the impermanence of all things. A small amount of sand will be poured into the Thames after a small procession from the centre to Tower Bridge, and people attending the ceremony can take away with them small bags of sand as a memory of the event.
Wed 30th Oct: 10am - 12pm - Completion and Closing Prayers at 10am and the Pouring Ceremony at Tower Bridge at 12 noon'.