Historically, mandalas have been created whenever there is feeling that the environment and living beings are in need of healing.
The Buddhist monks believe our present age to be in great need and, upon request, are creating mandalas throughout the world to share the temporal and spiritual benefits produced during the creation process and to strengthen the forces of goodness and light.
The three-day process of creating a mandala allows the monks to share the compassion and wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism with all participants.
In Sanskrit the word mandala means circle, cosmogram or "world in harmony" and, thus, the sand mandala is constructed as a vehicle to generate compassion, realize the impermanence of reality and to facilitate social/cosmic healing of the environment.
Among the artistic traditions of Tantric or Tibetan Buddhism, painting with colored sand is one of the most unique and exquisite. This construction of a three-dimensional drawinga Mandalacreated with sand, is an ancient art form thought to have originated in India and been transferred to Tibet in the middle ages. The art, called dul-tson-kyil-khor, means "mandala of colored powders."
Traditionally, white marble was ground and dyed for use along with other popular substances such as powdered flowers, herbs, grains, and also powdered and colored stone. In ancient times, powdered precious and semi-precious gems were also used. For example, lapis lazuli would be used for the blues, rubies for the reds, etc.
In Tibetan Buddhism, a mandala is an imaginary palace that is contemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, and represents some aspect of wisdom or reminds the meditator of some guiding principle. Various scriptural texts dictate the shapes, forms and colors of the mandala.
There are many different mandalas, each with different lessons to teach and blessings to confer. The subjects or stories of each mandala represent a different system or contain a host of deities - the symbolic archetypes of the landscape of the mind.
Every tantric system has its own mandala, and each one symbolizes an existential and spiritual approach. For example, that of: