Monks work lost in sands of time
Gyuto Monk Lobsang Nima works on a sand Mandala. Picture: Astrid Volzke/The West Australian

Nearly two weeks of painstaking work was swept away in a matter of minutes yesterday to symbolise the impermanence of life.

The Gyuto monks, who travelled to Australia from their monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas to spread the message of peace, spent 12 days creating an intricate sand mandala at Fremantle Town Hall.

After drawing the elaborate 2m by 2m design, they filled it with coloured marble sands using a traditional chak-pur funnel.

They used a metal rod to create vibrations that made the sand flow like liquid.

Sonan Rigzin, the monks' cultural translator and a former monk himself, said the sand mandala was a tool for meditation.

"The cosmos is always in perfect balance and harmony - it's this psychology that it's not (in perfect balance) that causes all the trouble," he said. "As a therapy, they create a beautiful Zen picture. It is a very nice, compassionate way to pacify yourself.

"It is a powerful way to change your perceptions and cut through the negativity."

Once the 500-year-old mandala of Guhyasamaja design was complete, the monks swept the sands away as a metaphor for the transitions of life.

"You can't keep things forever," Mr Rigzin said. "You have to learn to let it go. That's one of the laws that governs the universe.

"You must learn to use that and get on top of it, rather than be stuck under it."

The Gyuto monks have travelled to Australia each year since 1994.

The West Australian

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