For some unknown reason, the last post deleted the section on Tibet….here it is.
There’s a local church in my neighborhood that brings in Tibetan monks once a year to do a sand painting.
For a few days, the Monks use colored sands to create a very complex mandala on a table.
Then at the Easter service, the monks destroy the mandala. They always do that. That’s their gig. They make it over the course of a few days and then they whisk it away into dust.
An array of reasons is given to the congregation, to explain why the monks get rid of the sand painting after they’ve completed it.
One, they’re “transmuting” the painting. Two, they’re using the sand to create “healing.” Three, giving people small envelopes of sand, they’re “spreading the healing/creation.” Four, they’re illustrating the ineffable or transient nature of all things.
These are all New Age reasons. Superficial jive food for a modern entrained audience.
In the ancient Tibetan tradition, the creation of art (I’m boiling it down) had a purpose: to reveal that the universe is a product of mind. Period.
The universe, then, isn’t some final sacred entity, it’s a work of art…and if it can be vividly and deeply perceived as such, the adept (artist) can then spontaneously delete pieces of physical reality and/or insert pieces of his own invented reality into universe.
To really qualify as an adept/artist who understands all this, you also have to able to destroy (as in DESTROY) what you create. Not disperse it or turn it into some healing force or blow magic dust on a crowd with it. No.
A long time ago, the Tibetans clogged up their own technique of creative work with immense amounts of ceremonial baggage and ritual and “preparation.” You couldn’t go straight into practicing their creative techniques. You had to approach it from a long way off, and you had to endure all sorts of introductory strain before you walked through the door.
Then on top of that, coming into modern times, further New Age fluff was added to the mix, resulting in a ludicrous mess.
“Hey, man, give me some of that magic dust!”
Anyway, you see, DESTROYING isn’t a word you want to use nakedly, in polite company, to describe what’s happening to those sand paintings. It’s too stark for people. It’s too real. It’s too profound.
Destroying what you create means a few things: you know you can always create more; you have that bedrock confidence; you aren’t afraid that if you destroy what you created, you’ll suddenly find yourself in a great big vacuum; you’re perfectly willing to stop creating; you aren’t residing in some whimpering spaghetti of ideas and feelings about creation and destruction; you aren’t conning yourself with all that garbage; you aren’t totally relying on what you’ve created to feed back messages to you about what you should do in your life.
And destroying what you created also means you can enter into what the Tibetans call the Void, which, when you strip it of all superfluous nonsense, really is the place where you’re not creating anything.
And then you can start creating again.
Yes, the ancient Tibetans–before they obscured their own cosmic kick-ass philosophy–the most profound of Earth-bred cosmologies–were on to something. They weren’t messing around.
They were way ahead of the baloney modern so-called gurus have been cutting and turning out.
The monk sand painters at the local church on Sunday? I have no idea whether they know and remember all this. But they are a vague reminder of that wildness.
Whether anyone knows or cares, that’s what the sand painting and destruction are about.
It doesn’t need an audience at all. The audience is supposed to be doing the painting and the destroying, too.
Filed under: Uncategorized