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Sacred Sands


Photos by Peden+Munk

Published Apr 1, 2011 8:00 AM


THIS IS NOT A SANDBOX. THIS IS TRANSCENDENCE. Visitors to UCLA's Hammer Museum last fall were transfixed at the sight of monks creating a 4-foot-square mandala out of millions of colorful grains of sand. For two weeks, the holy men labored over a table in the Hammer's glass-fronted lobby. It was a rare opportunity to witness this unique form of meditation, notes Hammer curator Allison Agsten '00, as so few people have the artistic and religious background necessary to create these amazing works of spiritual art. In Buddhist tradition, life is impermanence, and so are sand mandalas: When the work is complete, the sand is swept away.