After the initial cleansing ceremony, they worked in silent concentration. Hour after hour they knelt in their maroon robes and yellow shawls, bent over their meticulous labor, creating designs and pictures with brightly colored sand.
They were Tibetan Buddhist monks from Dehra Dun, India, making a stop in my hometown as they toured America. They had set up in the chapel at Randolph College and spent a week creating an elaborate Medicine Buddha mandala.
From the reading I’ve done about the mandala, I understand that it is believed to represent, and take part in, a great multi-layered reality that consists of countless circles—a nucleus in a cell in an organism in an ecosystem on the earth in the solar system in the Milky Way, etc.
The word mandala itself comes from Sanskrit and means circle or completion. The purpose of a Medicine Buddha mandala is to heal by restoring completion, or wholeness. [Read more...]