Sand Mandala
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Basic Information

A sand mandala is a transient piece of sacred art, usually associated with Tibetan Buddhism and composed of a mandala drawn with various colours of sand (either made by grinding specific coloured stones or common sand that has been dyed or mixed with colouring agents). The mandala is drawn from the inside outwards, building up what is often a very intricate and colourful pattern, often over a period of several weeks and, once created, is then destroyed in a ritual fashion (unmade might be a more appropriate term) and the sand released into flowing water.

Traditionally a mandala is a symbolic representation of the world, the process of making it at least as much a meditative exercise on the nature of reality as an artistic process and the destruction a statement of the maker's theological position on the transient nature of reality.

These pieces are often created to celebrate specific festivals or events and the exact content of the work is liable to reflect them.


The other wiki on sand mandalas.

1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • In fiction, sand mandalas are often shown to react to changes in reality by changing their pattern.
  • A character who is meant to be a Tibetan Buddhist monk or Lama should probably have at least some skills in producing these things, even if they're no expert.
    • On this sort of theme, a child who displays prodigious skill in making sand art might be recognised as a reincarnated lama.
      • For a suitably dark game, the child may be an incarnation of the Emerald Lama
  • Combined with sand animation this might prove an interesting mystical tool - especially for divining matters about the nature of reality.
  • The producing and unmaking of a mandala might well be an acceptable sacrifice to the right kind of deity.
  • Don't let the cat anywhere near it!
  • Tibetan themed magic - or theurgy - might build a working around a sand mandala, perhaps using it to store and or channel energy and to include any specifics of the ritual (such as concordances with the various applicable laws of magic).
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