Navajo drypaintings, more commonly referred to as sandpaintings, are created for specific healing ceremonies for a particular person. The type of imbalance or disease of the person being healed determines the specifics of the sandpainting image and ceremony.
After the sand painting is completed and the ceremony begins, the 'patient' will sit on the sand painting to receive its healing energies. When the ceremony is complete, the painting is destroyed and the sand is returned to the Earth.
Although Mandala sand paintings are similar to Navajo sandpaintings in materials (colored sand) and purpose (healing), Tibetan monks create very intricate mandalas with much more detailed and are made by many artists simultaneously.
The Navajo sandpaintings are created specifically for healing one person; the Tibetan mandalas are made for the healing of all beings.
In both cases, the mandalas are also destroyed after they are completed.