Creation of a Sand Mandala

Creation of a Sand Mandala

Buddhist monks create an intricate and extravagant masterpiece in six days -- which is compressed into two minutes, thanks to time-lapse video. (CNN)

Here’s an excellent use of time-lapse video, depicting Buddhist monks using colored sand to create an extravagant mandala with intricate shapes.

The process took six days, which is compressed into about two minutes in this video by CNN photographer Mark Hill.

According to CNN’s Belief blog, “Hill set up two cameras in the room. One was an overhead camera that didn’t move during the six days; the other was moved every morning to get a different angle. Both ran continuously, shooting one frame every 30 seconds.”

The sacred art was created as part of Emory University’s annual “Tibet Week” celebration. The monks are from a nonprofit organization in Atlanta dedicated to the study and preservation of Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Using only chyroned text and a stirring (uncredited) instrumental soundtrack, the visual story builds steadily to a satisfying climax with the completion of the masterwork … and a surprising resolution, as Hill captured the “unmaking” of the mandala.

“When the last grain of sand was set, the monks didn’t spend time admiring their handiwork. Within about an hour, the elaborate art they had spent days crafting was carefully swept away during a ritualistic ceremony, to symbolize the impermanence of life. The monks passed out half of the sand to the audience as blessings for health and healing. The rest was poured into a nearby river as a gift to Mother Earth.”


Length: 2:22

Video by Mark Hill

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