I blog about karate training and teaching at Sky Hand Road. I'm going to start cross-posting those pieces here when they're of a more spiritual bent, rather than "here's how to improve your kicks".
There was a news story recently about how a small child almost ruined a sand mandala built by Tibetan monks for a ceremony in New Jersey. Sand mandalas are an ancient tradition, sort of sand castles taken to the nth degree: over several days, colored sand is placed a few grains at a time to make an intricate pattern or picture. I saw one being made once, and it's as slow and painstaking as anything you can imagine.
When it's finished, the whole thing is destroyed, they sweep up the sand and dump it in a river. It symbolizes the impermanence of all things. In a way, it was kind of funny that something meant to be destroyed anyway was messed up by a little kid who thought it was a toy! And I think the people involved appreciated that. But it's also nice that they were able to fix it up and finish the ritual.
I don't know much about Tibetan Buddhism, but this story reminds me of the concept of wabi-sabi (侘寂) in Japanese culture and aesthetics. (Not to say I know a lot about that, either!) Both the sand mandala and wabi-sabi grow out of the idea, found in Buddhism but also more generally in these cultures, that everything is impermanent. Wabi-sabi is also based on the understanding that all things are imperfect and incomplete to start with.
Read the rest at Sky Hand Road