Chart of the Elements in a
Kalachakra Sand Mandala

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Monks Bowing

The multicoloured Kalachakra Mandala, made entirely from coloured sand, was painstakingly created over three weeks by monks from the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, India. In a lesson about the impermanence of life, the completed mandala was destroyed and the sands were used as an offering for world peace.

‘Kalachakra’ means ‘Wheel of Time’ and is the name of one of the Buddhist deities which represent particular aspects of the Enlightened Mind. It forms a part of a system of teachings and practice conferred by the Buddha to his disciples. Traditionally this Kalachakra Initiation has been a closely guarded secret and the viewing of the mandala forms the culmination of a twelve day initiation ritual for the Buddhist practitioners. However, the Dalai Lama, recognizing the many misconceptions surrounding Tibetan Buddhist practice, began presentations of the Kalachakra Sand Mandala to the general public as a cultural offering.

Practitioners use the Mandala to visualize in meditation the steps along the Path to Enlightenment. In the Kalachakra Mandala, 722 deities, or manifestations of the supreme deity Kalachakra, are portrayed within a circle of some 2 metres in diameter in the form of miniature human, animal and flora forms, abstract pictographs and Sanskrit syllables. The sand is made from white stones ground and mixed with opaque water colors.