On Saturday we had the amazing opportunity to go see The Mystical Arts of Tibet: Mandala Sand Painting exhibit. The actual sand painting was amazing. Words cannot describe the beauty of it. There was so much love and peace in the room. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures. Of course pictures wouldn't do it justice anyway. The picture above was taken from the newspaper(you can click on it to see the article & more pictures).
I had a wonderful discussion with the museum's Education Coordinator. I learned that the monks use 16 different designs. That the monks don't decide on a design before they arrive. They want to get a feel for the community before they commit to a design. Once they have a design picked out they make a chalk outline. But they only do this for the geometric parts of the design, the rest is dome freehand. While they are creating the sand painting, they say prayers and kind words. They put positive energy into it. Once it is completed(the one we saw took 30hrs to complete) they have a closing ceremony this is from their website:
Traditionally most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion. This is done as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. The sands are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.
My kids got the chance to use their instruments and they had a blast! I have taken a blank mandala design and had it blown up. It is roughly the size of a poster. We are going to work on it as a family. Then I am going to get it matted and framed. I am hoping to hang it over our couch.
Here are some great online resources for your own mandalas:
Mandala Art Gallery
Zodiac Arts Mandala Gallery
Mandala Project: Mandalas
Printable Mandalas - You can print these to color. I saved them all. My kids have been coloring them like crazy!!
Mandala Coloring Pages
Mandala Coloring Pages 2
Mandala Coloring Pages 3
Mandala Coloring Pages 4
More Coloring Pages
Mandalas for Young Children
Animal Mandala Coloring Pages