Sand Mandala of Compassion

On a cold, dark December day, the Pureland Series, hosted by Bruno Wang, chairman of Pureland Foundation, gathered for a unique Buddhist tradition.

The Tibetan Sand Mandala of Compassion ceremony, involved the senior Tibetan monks painstakingly creating a fascinating and colourful geometric configuration of patterns and symbols, using a variety of coloured sands. The Mandala was then produced over the course of three days. Once the creation is completed, the monks ritualistically destroy the mandala, as a symbol of the Buddhist beliefs of impermanence and nonattachment.

In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation. A mandala generally represents the spiritual journey, starting from outside to the inner core, through layers.

Each mandala is dedicated to specific deities. In Buddhism, deities are beings of higher consciousness and represent states of the mind to be obtained on the path to enlightenment.

The mandala created in this ceremony was dedicated to Avaloktishevara, Bodhisattva of compassion. Before commencing the ceremony, the monks consecrated the venue and invoked the blessing of Avaloktishevara.

The sands of this particular mandala, one of compassion, were infused with the healing intention and prayers of those in attendance.

After the destruction of the mandala, the sands were released into the river Thames and back into the universe.

The final act reflects one of the Buddhist spiritual principles: Transfer of merit. The practitioner’s merit, resulting from good deeds, is transferred to all sentient beings.