Thursday, October 04, 2007

Goshen, Connecticut

Sand Mandala

Goshen, Connecticut


Scott Kirkpatrick said...

I'd like to know more about what goes into a design like this, as well as how it is conducted. i gather they use a pipette of some sort to drop small amounts of colored sand where needed. But what do the parts of the design refer to? There's a lot of culture behind this. Did they describe some of it to you as they worked?


Carl Weese said...

Scott, go back to the Sept. 28 post in the WP archive. In the 3rd and 4th shots they are laying down the sand with the metal tubes. There is a sawtooth along the body of the tube and as they rub one against the other the vibrations cause the sand to pour, or drip, out. Jackson Pollack eat your heart out.

It's a looong time since I read about Tibetan Buddhism in college, but the designs in the mandala do have meaning. It's symbolic rather than narrative. The important point is that it's not a work of art in the western sense, not self-expression. The sand mandala and the butter sculpture are forms of meditation, just like the extraordinary chanting. The ephemeral materials are important too: the objects are not preserved, but destroyed as soon as they are finished, as part of the ritual.