Search This Blog


Buddhism in the News


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tibetan Monks not Bothered by Mandala Destruction

May 25, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The little boy spotted the pile of colored sand and couldn't resist. Slipping under a protective rope, he danced all over the sand, ruining the carefully crafted picture.

Never mind that it was the creation of Tibetan monks who had spent two days on the floor of Union Station, meticulously pouring the sand into an intricate design as an expression of their Buddhist faith.

They were more than halfway done with the design -- called a mandala -- on Tuesday when they ended their work for the day and left. The little boy showed up later with his mother, who was taking a package to a post office in the hall.

''He did a little tap dance on it, completely destroying it,'' said Lama Chuck Stanford.

The monks saw the destruction Wednesday.

''No problem,'' said Geshe Lobsang Sumdup, leader of the group. ''We have three days more.''

James: I heard about this story on several non-Buddhist news feeds and have to giggle a bit at the surprise from people that the monks are not bothered by the child's "dance." For many of us know the mandalas are always wiped away and the sand released into a near by river. Therefore symbolizing impermanence through the sweeping away and inter-being through the merging of the sand with the water. Hence the destruction of sand mandalas is just as sacred a process as the construction of them.

So in reality this child was actually a benefit to the monks by helping perform a sacred task. Thus in that context I find the whole thing quite cute and a good lesson in not taking ourselves too seriously and becoming attached to even the most beautiful, seemingly precious things.

Sometimes children are our best teachers.

~Peace to all beings~

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Sean said...

Thanks for posting this, James. I find myself simultaneously laughing at the innocence of the child and strengthened by the reaction of the monks. I can only hope to have a fraction of their patience and unattachment in this lifetime.

Have a great holiday weekend, friend.


Greenwoman said...

Have you ever made one or been able to watch one made?

I have only got to see them once they were made. I'd love to sit and watch them and participate in their accompanying meditation time....someday...

alison said...

every act has its lessons, for the child, for the monks, for the ones looking from outside. it all happened at the right place and at the right moment and it's simply beautiful. :)

They call him James Ure said...


You're welcome Sean. I too hope to realize such patience.


Never made one but did watch one being constructed here last year--a meditation in and of itself!!


Well said.

taza said...

i have seen movies where the dalai lama is the one to destroy the sand painting after the teaching is over.

perhaps this child is an enlightened being--a tulku?

it could happen....what was the name of that movie where a child from the US was recognized as a high lama? was it siddhartha?


They call him James Ure said...

Not sure what movie that is.

Adrienne Parker said...

Good story. Thanks for sharing it James. I've seen them made and also got to participate in both the making and destroying ceremony of one once with Lobsang Samten. The sand mandala is such a beautiful and powerful process in non-attachment, similar in a way to making castles in the sand.

They call him James Ure said...


I've witnessed them being built as well. It's very powerful indeed. Thank-you for visiting and commenting. :)

Liam said...

taza, it was Little Buddha

ShareThis Option