Author Topic: The Art of Impermanence  (Read 7784 times)

Aurore

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
The Art of Impermanence
« on: March 02, 2013, 07:54:16 PM »
I am intrigued and amazed by the sacred art of the sand mandala but even more intrigued by the profound meaning behind it.

The sand mandala is a sacred art piece that represents the impermanence of all things and the offering of the whole universe to the Buddhas. Sand mandalas often take days to make with much effort and skills. After it's done with prayer and rituals performed, the sand mandala will then be destroyed. It is common for the samsaric mind to not want to destroy something so beautiful when we have made put so much effort into it but instead to preserve it.

Here is a video where the sand mandala has been dissolved in few minutes.
Small | Large


Something that takes a few days to do are destroyed within a few minutes. This is to show the impermanence of things. The lesson is what you may have can be lost or destroyed any time.

There are so many situations in life which resembles this concept. Can you think of any?

DS Star

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 418
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 10:13:07 PM »
To understand the "Art" of Impermanence is not difficult actually... we are 'exposed' to it everyday:

we hear news of sudden death such as road accidents, of so and so is hospitalised for terminal illness, of how a family's happiness is destroyed by tragedies such as in natural disasters, etc.

The problem is, even though clear signs of 'Impermanence' is right in front of our face, we still think we are 'safe' and that these 'incidents' will not happen to us...

Naively we think that 'our time is still long' and so no need to take any drastic move. Even when we are doing the so-called Dharma 'works', we set conditions and will only willing to do if it is within our comfort zones.

The truth is ... what we think we have seen and 'realised'; like when we witness the death of friend/family or when we ourselves experienced near-death situations, it is still, unfortunately, only on a superficial level...  we have never really 'see' it, for if we did, we would have throw everything behind and practice without the need of being told, instructed, ordered, coerced by our compassionate Guru/ Spiritual Guide.

Someone I knew is a cancer survivor, she once told me how painful it was to endure the effect of chemo therapy and that she will never want to go through it again... sadly though, this person never make enough effort to change for better... she is still the same selfish person who is anger-some, nasty, rude, and never offer helps unless there is something for her... when given advice or feedback, she will retort angrily and became very defensive...

Another person survived a horrible car accident, he was seriously injured and was in coma; doctors didn't give him much hope but miraculously he woke up and was healed. Initially he was 'thankful' but then again, once worldly 'wealth' and 'enjoyments' seems more attractive, he just forgotten about the need to help others...

Tenzin K

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 773
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 06:10:15 AM »
Change is the only constant in life.  It can be inspiring, motivating, exhausting and scary. According to Buddhist practice, change or impermanence is the essential characteristic of all existence.  The Buddhists suggest that nothing is lasting, even in the moment everything is undergoing change.  All is fleeting, the beauty of a flower, the sunset the leaves on the trees are in a continuous state of change.  What is real is the existing moment, the present.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word for circle.  The sand Mandala is constructed as a vehicle to recognize impermanence, to develop concentration and compassion.  Millions of colored sand is placed on a platform over a period of days or even weeks.  Traditionally when finished to symbolize the impermanence of life, the sands are swept up and poured into an urn to be poured into a nearby river or stream.

buddhalovely

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 341
    • Email
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 07:10:13 AM »
According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is comparable to a river. It is a progressive moment, a successive series of different moments, joining  together to give the impression of one continuous flow. It moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another, giving an outward impression that it is one continuous and unified movement, where as in reality it is not. The river of yesterday is not the same as the river of today. The river of this moment is not going to be the same as the river of the next moment. So does life. It changes continuously, becomes something or the other from moment to moment.

Take for example the life of an individual. It is a fallacy to believe that a person would remain the same person during his entire life time. He changes every moment. He actually lives and dies but for a moment, or lives and dies moment by moment, as each moment leads to the next. A person is what he is in the context of the time in which he exists. It is an illusion to believe that the person you have seen just now is the same as the person you are just now seeing or the person whom you are seeing now will be the same as the person you will see after a few moments.

RedLantern

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 758
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 08:39:35 AM »
The concept of impermanence can represent many things to many people. To some,the acknowledgement that nothing last forever may induce feelings of futility,for others a fear of change.We ignore  the truth of impermanence,which are the reasons we have so much anguish and difficulty in facing death and we desperately want everything to continue as it is and stay the same.
The realization of impermanence is paradoxically the only thing we can hold onto,perhaps  our only lasting impression.It is like the sky,or the earth.No matter how much everything around us may change or collapse,they endure.So we go through a shattering emotional crisis,our whole life seems to be disintegrating-
our husband or wife suddenly leave us without warning.The whole earth and sky is there,so we cannot take everything for granted.We are impermanent,today w feel good because things are going well,tomorrow we feel the opposite.The influences are impermanent,and there is nothing solid or lasting anywhere that we can point to.

apprenticehealer

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 77
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2013, 09:12:15 AM »
Nothing is permanent ! Nothing !
Because of the 5 Aggregates ( which are Body, Mind, Mentality, Perception and Consciousness ) desire and attachment arise and we perceive that there is permanency, which we know is not permanent, hence leading to suffering as taught by the Buddha in the 4 Noble Truths.
Mountains that had taken thousands of years to form , crashes in a split second due to earthquakes, continents are formed and existing continents disappear due to shifts in underground plates. Even such massive works of Nature is impermanent, what more can we say of creations by mankind.

Dondrup Shugden

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 896
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2015, 02:02:42 PM »
The first thought of the art of impermanence that occurs in my mind is life itself. From birth till death, the physical and mental changes are awfully many and it is the inability to understand that we develop craving, attachments and from there arises anger, ignorance and all the negative emotions that give rise to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

As far as I understand it is important to know that all phenomena are interconnected and everything arises as dependent on cause and effects. As such in removing any relevant cause then there is not effect.  The core to understanding of impermanence is dependent arising of all phenomena. 

MoMo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 156
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2015, 02:42:07 PM »
The Tibetan’s sand mandala is one of the most beautiful art form that I have seen. Monks worked tirelessly taking rotating shifts with high concentration in creating it  which represents the most desirable  object of this universe to be offered up to the enlightened being. Since it was so beautifully done, one could not help but to attach to it knowing that all phenomena  are impermanent ,one should offer it up without a sense of loss .  It was said that after the rituals this beautiful art piece will to be destroyed  in one stroke and even the dyed sand was to gather and be poured into the stream to cut our attachment and  the next one going to be built on the next occasion  and this will go on and on.  As long as conditioned phenomena arose that it will failed to be one day.   

yontenjamyang

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 733
    • Email
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2015, 09:04:57 AM »
Even the beautiful sand mandala which represent the Universe is a fixation of a mind. If we observe we can even be fixated when the mandala is half built or when half destroyed (or any point before and after) and yet it is subject to the same fate of dependent arising, the coming and going of phenomena. So, we we look at it this way, then not only is phenomena impermanent but it is also ever changing; depending on cause and condition.

Hence, it we apply to our perception, feeling and karma as well, we have nothing to be attached to, even our bodies, love ones, enemies and stranger; events outside our bodies and all things in the universe for it is subjected to the same law of dependent arising. This is what the Buddha taught.

cookie

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 196
    • Email
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2015, 04:25:29 AM »
Wow ! I didn't know that the art of making sand mandala represents IMPERMANENCE. How true !! We spend so much time and effort and energy perfecting the sand mandala, and within seconds it will be demolished; no lingering thoughts, no attachement to the beautiful piece of art work.
Similarly in our lives, we put in a lot of time, money, resources and effort to perfect every detail relating to our bodies or our family or the environment around us. We set goals which we believe are those that will bring us happiness and joy. We work hard to achieve them given whatever circumstances; at times we may even commit bad karma just trying to achieve our goals. After achieving these goals we are happy and contented BUT .............. just for a short period of time only. Other desires will start to creep up and we again try our best to satisfy them. It is a never ending chase to fulfill our needs and desires. We will soon realise we cannot hold on very long to that " eternal happiness" we are seeking !!! How depressing !!! Nothing is permanent. Not the good stuff and neither the bad too.
But Buddha said that if we become Enlightened (as HE did) we can permanently be out of suffering ; be in a state of bliss. Then ENLIGHTMENT is a worth while goal to pursue !!!

Dondrup Shugden

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 896
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2015, 05:54:39 PM »
You are right Cookie.  Fantastic realisations and thank your for sharing.

Impermanence is the result of all phenomena are dependent arising.  Everything is the result of cause and effect and the core of karma.

Very often we waste our time seeking things, relationships etc that are impermanent and as Buddha taught us only enlightenment is the ultimate truth of bliss.

kelly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 142
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2015, 07:53:23 AM »
Very powerful practice as the monk dissolving the mandala they actually chanting the holy mantras I think is to remind them about Buddha teaching impermanence . As a Buddhist we really have to accept thing do change everything down to our own appearance we will aged so once we accept this change we will be able to release our selves from suffering mostly are mind suffering and if anything unpleasant changes happen to us we will not blame others .

Midakpa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 624
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2015, 07:30:31 PM »
The Buddha taught that all phenomena are impermanent. Everything arises, endures for a while and ceases. World cycles succeed each other endlessly. The lesson in this is not to take things for granted. When we realise that the nature of existence is impermanent, we tend to be more accepting and tolerant. Ultimately we have to understand sunyata. It is said that the nature of consciousness is expressed through the mandala. 

kris

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 919
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2015, 05:07:36 PM »
I really like this video and the discussion in this topic: impermanence. The sand mandala is really beautiful and as Aurore said, in just a few minutes, the days of hard work put in to create it is gone.

Isn't that what we face in samsara everyday? All the hard work to build a business empire can be gone in minutes too.

If we watch this video and contemplate deeper, it really has a lot of meaning.

SabS

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 470
Re: The Art of Impermanence
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2016, 10:18:42 PM »
I love watching the creation of mandalas. The monks spend so much time and concentration into creating the beautiful mandala offering and then without any attachment destroys it with a single sweep. As many commented here, it teaches us impermanence of life, the effort we put into our secular activities only to have our achievements taken away at a snuff. Another way of looking at it is that we should spend our time mindfully perfecting our practices and when the time comes to let go, without attachment we let go and move on. We are all transient in our lives until we achieve the ultimate, Enlightenment.