This labor-intensive method is both an artistic and spiritual practice. The mandalas are beautiful, but the process is perhaps most fascinating. It takes tremendous effort and time to build a mandala—no sketch pads or Adobe Illustrator here—and once these masterpieces are completed, the final step takes place: ceremonial destruction. The destruction is the culmination of the process, meant to remind us of the impermanence of life.
While any creative ruled by ego might be heartbroken at the thought of killing good work on purpose (and what creative isn’t, really?), it is part of what makes these pieces so incredible—and a powerful metaphor for the creative process. As you embark on your next creative endeavor, remember these three lessons from the Buddhist monks who create mandalas.