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June 2nd, 2010
05:27 AM ET

A masterpiece in minutes

Update, June 7: Many of you wrote wanting to know more about the music used in the time-lapse video. The song is called "Detectors in the Eyes" and it's by Andrew Shapiro.

It took six days for a group of Buddhist monks to create an extravagant sand mandala at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

But you can watch the entire process in about two minutes thanks to the time-lapse video above.

The sacred art was created March 22-27 as part of Emory’s annual “Tibet Week” celebration. The monks were from Drepung Loseling Monastery Inc., a nonprofit organization in Atlanta dedicated to the study and preservation of Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Sand mandalas have been in practice for thousands of years, according to Tsepak Rigzin, assistant program director for Drepung Loseling and an adjunct Tibetan language instructor at Emory. Monks use a grated metal rod and a traditional metal funnel called a chak-pur to carefully place millions of grains of colored sand on a table.

“It has to be very exact and very precise,” Rigzin said.

There are hundreds of colorful mandala designs to choose from, Rigzin said, but they all share a basic format of geometric shapes and spiritual symbols.

“Normally the monks who do this, they have to go through a lot of training programs and they have to be authenticated by their masters,” Rigzin said. “They have to memorize the oral texts and learn the ritual.”

The ritual starts with the monks blessing the site of the soon-to-be mandala. They then take several hours to draw an outline of the particular mandala they are about to build – in Emory’s case, the mandala of Avalokiteshvara, or the Buddha of compassion.

Once the outline is in place, the tedious work of laying the sand begins.

“I was really awestruck by their level of concentration,” said Mark Hill, the CNN photographer who captured the time-lapse footage at Emory's Michael C. Carlos Museum.

“People were in there talking and walking around them, taking pictures. There was a lot going on in the room. But those monks who were building that mandala were absolutely laser-focused on what they were doing.”

Hill set up two cameras in the room. One was an overhead camera that didn’t move during the six days; the other was moved every morning to get a different angle. Both ran continuously, shooting one frame every 30 seconds.

When the last grain of sand was set, the monks didn’t spend time admiring their handiwork. Within about an hour, the elaborate art they had spent days crafting was carefully swept away during a ritualistic ceremony. This is normal practice, Rigzin said; it is done to symbolize the impermanence of life.

The monks passed out half of the sand to the audience as blessings for health and healing. The rest was poured into a nearby river, Rigzin said, as a gift to Mother Earth.

Emory will be having another “Tibet Week” of sorts when the Dalai Lama visits the campus October 17-19. The exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhists has visited the school several times in the past two decades, and he was the commencement speaker there in 1998.

That year, His Holiness also helped form the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which includes various exchange programs between Emory and Tibetan institutions of higher learning.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Buddhism • Culture & Science • Leaders

soundoff (261 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    If you watch this backwards, it looks like monks taking turns snorting a whole lotta crack 😛

    June 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Andrea M

      Southpark has had the Buddha snorting blow before in the Mohammed episodes. Notice how no Buddhists were offended by that one.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • Tom

      Wow! Very sharp Andrea! 🙂
      That's putting things in perpective for me!

      June 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • Tom

      Omg Andrea, im really impressed by that sentence! Im gonna quote you on my facebook 🙂 Thanks!

      June 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
  2. Sonia

    What a beautiful tradition! Beautiful and amazing... especially the end, a way to carry on "life." Impermanence: The quality or state of being impermanent (not permanent). What a wonderful way to symbolize life!

    June 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  3. Awestruck

    To all those sad about the destruction afterwards, think of it this way: If the mandala remained intact the care and love the monks put into it remains stationary, able to be experienced by only the few that can get to the location where it was created. Once symbolically destroyed each grain floating on the waters can be taken thousands of places running across the path of millions of people, and spreading the love and blessing it was created with as it goes. So much more beauty in the sharing of beauty than the preservation and collection of it.

    June 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • goose

      doesn't sand sink not float??

      June 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Blearyeyes

      I do not believe the word "destroyed" is the best word for what they do to the sand creations. Since they are already fixed patterns that are followed while making them, they are already permanent. When they sweep the sand off of the table, they are only removing the pattern. The sand remains. So the lesson in the sweeping of sand from the table is to teach us we are bound by time and space. We must let go of the corporeal nature of our lives. But then God resides outside of time and space. I wouldn't mind being in that place.

      So I don't look at it as destroying art. The ritual creation of the Mandala itself is the art, not the pattern created. And the irony is, by pouring it into a river, the sand that was used will spread out through the water systems of the earth and remain as long as there is an earth.

      The sand will roll along the river as it always has...eventually ending up as silt at the bottom of the oceans......

      June 3, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  4. Myoho Mod

    Although I do not practice Tibetan Buddhism (I am Nichiren Buddhist SGI) I always loved the sand mandala. Every aspect of it is profound and pretty. Although, I do like the Gohonzon it is a representative of every human beings potential enlightenment. Even Glenn Becks! Wow that took a lot out of me.

    June 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  5. mattmchugh

    Don't some Native American tribes make sand paintings as well?

    Anyway, very cool to see it like this (even though it is a little counter to the spirit of the whole enterprise!).

    - mm

    June 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  6. Tom

    My back is killing me after watching that.

    June 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • Rick

      I was thinking the same thing. From the standpoint of physical health and meditational focus, it's terrible posture. The whole experience seemed rather Christain... patient suffering and flawlessness.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  7. joe

    Romans 1:18-32

    June 2, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • Lee

      You're going to live your life and die a bitter person to know that a majority of the world disagree's with your beliefs.

      June 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • Michael

      @Joe – Your ignorance is appalling.

      The same monks made a mandala at my university last year. I have a small vial of its sand. Truly special.

      June 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • jeny

      after watching that beautiful video, that's all you have to say? criticism? how can you criticize such patience and skill? i am not buddhist but i respect all religions and you should do the same you self-important little brat. you will never be half the man these men are. freak

      June 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Ian

      It's a shame that you have forgotten the many parts of the bible that encourage love, compassion, understanding and brotherhood. According to the bible, Jesus helped many non-believers/non-Christians.

      As a Buddhist, I'm often surprised that many Christians have such a narrow view of god. I've read the Bible, Qur'an and many Buddhist texts and there are far more similarities than differences. The inability to understand and respect others beliefs goes against the foundations of all major religions and common decency.

      June 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • GAPeachy

      To Joe:
      From the Dhammapada vs. 1-2 (Buddhist Scripture)
      All experience is preceded by mind,
      Led by mind,
      Made by mind.
      Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
      And suffering follows
      As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.
      All experience is preceded by mind,
      Led by mind,
      Made by mind.
      Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
      And happiness follows
      Like a never-departing shadow.

      From vs. 5:
      For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.

      From me:
      May you have an abundance of peace, love, and happiness in your life.

      June 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Truly

      Yep. The Bible teaches that following other gods is a sign of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness by an appearance of righteousness which is really a rejection of natural revelation of the one true God. As Isaiah 6 says, the whole earth is full of His glory.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • Anon

      This article is an homage to art and the beautiful that we are capable of making.

      Humanity's diversity and ability to create such wondrous things makes our world so special.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Susan

      Joe, people like you are an embarrassment. How can you be so vindictive and full of bile towards something so peaceful, beautiful, and symbolic? Put your hood back on and go away.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Myoho Mod

      That is a foolish statement. Buddhists neither promote or deny the existence of a god. If you are Christian then you would reject the "Book of Romans" as Paul was a self serving power monger. The man completely threw away the teachings Jesus Buddha to serve his purpose due to his low self opinion. After all he killed Christians when they didn't accept his traditional Jewish view of god.

      June 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • mif991

      Good job Joe. Funny how people become enraged with but one verse of the Bible and start having conniptions. Having said that, the video was amazing and truly pure art by the buddists. Well done.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • alwaysconfused

      Don't see how that passage has anything to do with Buddhist Monks.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • Jean

      you're a depressed individual for you to quote the bible after watching such a peaceful video.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Ed

      Romans 1:18-32 alone can explain I left the church. Who wants to be ruled over by a vengeful God and his wrath? The universality of love and oneness of the Buddhists makes so much more sense. Religion by definition is concerned with what is beyond the reach of science and provable fact. Since all religion is a matter of faith and choosing what to believe (or not), I choose to believe in love, not devine wrath nor ancient fairy tales. Seek peace with a truly open mind and you will find it.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Ray

      Nonsensical rantings from dead old men.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • Jeanne

      Hi Joe, I sincerely hope you will read Romans 2 verse 1. I'm sorry Romans chapter 1 was split where it was because the verse to which I refer you is probably one of the most important verses in the Bible. With love, Jeanne

      June 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
    • Ted

      Guys, the internet is full of what we call "trolling." The whole purpose is to provoke emotional responses that seem funny to the perpetrator. You guys are just empowering people who are either joking around in poor taste or legitimately have nothing useful to say. Just thought I'd share.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
    • Peter

      Romans 14:4 – Who are you to judge someone else's servant?

      June 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
    • Chris R

      Joe,

      I understand your issues but I must point you towards Romans 2:14-16
      "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them."

      As we can see, the Bhuddists, even though they might not know the Law follow the Law and, in doing so, are more righteous in the eyes of God than those that know the law but do not follow it through their deeds and thoughts.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • Chops

      Joe, may you one day learn true peace and freedom from cynicism. This work was very complicatedly amazing and I was truly moved by the profound ending of the impermanence of life, as you, Joe...You are impermanent as well. Make the best of what's left in your life and be at peace.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • Norm

      It's OK folks... everyone has their own opinion and beliefs. I will say that compassion and loving kindness are consistent throughout most of the worlds religions, unfortunately tolerance is not. Namaste.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • Pedro

      Sincerely, if God is a big as every religion picture it, it will not mind the way you call it, how you recognize it, even if you believe in it... It will be just too busy running all the universe!! So get over it, appreciate the love and dedication they put on their work and also the fact that they do it with love in ther hearts... Love everyone, that was Jesus´s message (your Jesus).. are you loving today? Doesn´t look like it.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • ironic

      ian, you claim that "there are far more similarities than differences" among the Bible, Qur'an, and Buddhist texts. Well, Joe's original post pointed out one portion that falls into the "differences" category. Any response?

      Lee, Michael, Jeny – although you may not be Buddhists, does your respect for Buddhism also lead you to look upon Joe's beliefs, ignorance, and self-importance in a way that would likewise be found offensive to the Buddhist you're trying so hard to defend?

      Lee, I'm pretty sure that a majority of the world disagrees with several key tenets Buddhism, too. Last I checked, it's only one of the world's major belief systems – not THE world's majority belief system.

      Michael – all Joe did was reference an ancient text and you immediately jump to the conclusion that he's ignorant. Although you might be correct about his ignorance, do you think that his drawing of a conclusion (as implied by the brevity of his post) is any more of an uninformed response than yours?

      Jeny – your criticism of Joe's criticism seems odd, considering your choice of words in comparison to his.

      Is it wrong to assume that what we're aiming for is peace, harmony, and unity? Why must we go about it in such unpeaceful ways?

      June 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • joe

      I am amazed at the responses.

      I want to apologize for my previous post. I was much too hasty in my post yesterday and I did not speak in love. So I apologize to anyone who took offense.

      That does not mean that I have changed my faith in Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and Savior. I am very broken in all of my thoughts and deeds, but I know that Christ has redeemed me from my sin and given me eternal life. I trust completely in the truth of the Bible and I believe it is God's inerrant word. I am a work in progress. It does not excuse my post. It is difficult to use these types of forums to truly communicate what I believe in.

      I try my best to love all people as God commands, but I stumble at times in my zeal for the truth. In my passion for sharing the truth of God, I do not always do so with love.

      So I hope you can all forgive me if you were offended, I sincerely apologize.

      May you all come to know the truth and love of Jesus Christ and His most abundant grace and mercy.

      Joe

      June 3, 2010 at 6:05 am |
    • Truly

      Jeane, keep in mind that Romans 2:1 is really speaking to the guilt of all men because all men judge. You will find no imperitive in this passage stating not to judge. It is establishing guilt. It is continuing to show that all men are sinners who cannot keep the law as Romans 1:18-3:18 are emphatically doing. Even the person who quoted Romans 2:14 should keep in mind that just because people demonstrate that the law is written on their hearts that does not excuse the sin they do commit. It in no way makes them righteous before God. Romans 3:9-18 goes on to demonstrate the sinfulness and corruption of men apart from Jesus Christ. Paul then follows this with Romans 3:19-20 where he states that the law is not to save, it is to shut the mouths of us sinners before God based on our own righteousness. Romans 3:21-26 goes on to show that any righteousness we may have is through Christ.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:03 am |
    • Cara

      Joe

      You obviously have no understanding of Buddhism at all. It's people like you that give Christianity a bad name.

      Buddhism is a philosophy and a way of life. It teaches peace and non-violence and has many of the same tenants as other religions, including Christianity. I have great respect and admiration for Buddhists.

      June 3, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  8. 2centhag

    A W E S O M E ! !

    June 2, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  9. Beck

    Does anyone else see the irony in making a time lapse video of this? It becomes something fast and permanent! I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I liked watching it, but I feel a little like the experience was turned into something different from the original.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:20 am |
    • RosaFranklin

      Don't think of it as an experience – think of it as an educational tool. I like your point, but I had forgotten that Buddhist monks did this and I'm not sure I ever knew that they destroyed it to symbolize the impermanence of life. So now I know and I've learned something and it's introduced a profound concept to my mind, and I think that might be more important than the irony of a video being made of something like this. And if it really bothers you, you can always bear in mind that it's likely the video will EVENTUALLY be lost/forgotten/destroyed or at least degrade so that it no longer exists. Problem kind of solved! 🙂

      June 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • rick champion

      I totally agree...why not at least let the process develop over 15/20 minutes and be able to 'watch' -see and fee–the work...even when we try to honor such a wonderful spiritual experience we still have to use the 'micro-wave' sensibility. It says way too much about us I fear...

      June 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Oblio

      The video is also impermanent.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
    • Kat

      I assume the monks knew they were on camera and didn't have a problem with it. If they didn't see a problem then neither should we, it is their religion after all.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
    • Blearyeyes

      I do not believe the word "destroyed" is the best word for what they do to the sand creations. Since they are already fixed patterns that are followed while making them, they are already permanent. When they sweep the sand off of the table, they are only removing the pattern. The sand remains. After all sand is really mountains and rocks of the earth ground down by time, the earth shifting, water be it rain or waves, into smaller particles. They are no longer mountains to our perception. But they were. So the lesson in the sweeping of sand from the table is to teach us we are bound by time and space... But God resides outside of time and space.

      So I don't look at it as destroying art. The ritual creation of the Mandala itself is the art, not the pattern created. And the irony is that the sand that was used will spread out through the water systems of the earth and remain as long as there is an earth.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • Lindsay

      Exactly what I was thinking. But then, it gets the art out there for others to see who don't live where they can watch monks do it.

      July 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Lou

    Awesome! Great film work too!!!

    June 2, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  11. Chris

    I am not a Buddhist, but from an art perspective, Pablo Picasso doesn't have jack on that. That is incredible. And, they don't sell it...now that is REAL art.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:06 am |
    • mike

      Why do people always have to put something down in an attempt to praise something else? Are you at a loss for words or perhaps incapable of forming your admiration in an articulate manner?

      If you truly knew anything about art you would know that it is not something that is meant to be compared to another. Take it in, admire (or not), be inspired (or not), then move along.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • Nite Shayde

      Mike, save the righteous indignation for another day. He meant nothing by it.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Billy

      Really Mike, that was so over the top, Relax! Do you have to put down others to make yourself feel better or smarter? Your original thought was to condemn another persons thoughts. Nice guy.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • Alex

      Nite- Actually, he did mean something by it. He put down Picasso because he doesn't think it's "real" art compard to this. I agree with Mike. Art shouldn't be compared. It's all about what you perceive. I don't think it's fair to put down certain art just because you don't like it which is what Chris was basically doing. It's basically just a cry for attention.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • shut up, mike

      stop being a crybaby and let complainers complain. look at me, even i'm complaining on account of you. stop it!

      June 2, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • Paul

      Totally enjoyed it, both from artistic and spiritual point of view. I would love to have the picture in my house. A bit surprised that some people down here managed to give negative comments. There's even a long thread debating Bible! (BTW I'm a Catholic) Peace be with you all.

      June 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  12. Christina

    Don't sneeze!

    June 2, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • Jana

      hahaha,....that's funny.
      This was really cool. Makes me want to shed all my belongings and go be a Buddhist monk (nun)! If I only had the courage,...

      June 2, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Kari

      LOL that is exactly what I was thinking! Beautiful work though, absolutely amazing!

      June 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Christi

      Thats what I thought too. Absolutely breathtaking 🙂

      June 2, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
    • Steve

      @Jana
      You know that Buddhists allow you to be a monk/nun for a short period of time, return to normal life, and then return when and as you choose. In other words, they allow you to be a part time contemplative. You might want to try it for a while.

      June 2, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  13. Fernando

    totally awesome

    June 2, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  14. Bill Henderson

    What's that music? Anyone know?

    June 2, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • Charles

      I'd like to know, too.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
    • Chris

      "Over You" by Robin Trower

      June 2, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Tom

      it isnt 'over you' by robin trower... misinformation!

      June 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  15. Dhonyoe

    Just to show that EVERYTHING IS IMPERMANENCE, that's the reason these monks brushed-up mandala and destroyed. Sutra says that NOTHING IS IMMORTAL.

    June 2, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  16. Michelle

    Wow! Beautiful. It's a bit of a shame to see such a beautiful work of art destroyed so soon but the symbolism is amazing. Truly profound.

    June 2, 2010 at 10:08 am |
    • unicornsyeah

      I like the fact that they only let the artwork stand for an hour, to me letting it stand there for longer is just for your own ego. Artwork is made for ourselves and for our own pride. The appreciation that others have is just extra.

      June 2, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  17. Beau

    How can you not be moved by such simplistic beauty? I have always repsected & revered Buddhist monks as being exceptionally holy and altruistic individuals. People to be sheltered, protected, and revered. Oh yeah, and I am a Christian. Thank you for the inspiring video that is a testamony to simple, dilligant, humble human beauty

    June 2, 2010 at 10:02 am |
    • Jessy

      I'm a Catholic myself and I fully respect these Buddhist monks. They're practically everything that Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, etc. should be: patient, calm, peaceful, altruistic, focused, and ever caring. Too bad many of us have trouble doing that.

      June 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Frank

      It certainly was an incredible video...and a beautiful work of art. It's just a tragic shame that they believe destroying it and dumping the sand in a river will bless the earth. And what's worse, everybody wants to applaud every faith, regardless of how senseless it is

      June 3, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • Andrea

      Frank, you just don't get it, do you? I feel sorry for you.

      June 5, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • Gene

      Frank – The point is not so much the blessing as the recognition of the impermanence of everything in the universe. At the appropriate time-scale *nothing* is static, not people, not this earth or anything in it,, not the solar system or the galaxy or the universe itself.

      The recognition of this fact is *really* one of the central tenets of Buddhism – one of the Four Noble Truths is that the attachment to these impermanent things is the source of suffering.. Another is that the cessation of suffering is attainable by removing these attachments to impermanent things..

      So the blessing is not so much "blessing the earth: as "blessing and honoring the recognition that one can remove attachments" – even to things that are so beautiful desirable.

      Notice that there are no references to religious or spiritual ideals. There is practice, and there is a path, but it is only the western view that tends to classify these things as a "religion". A better way to characterize Buddhism is simply as a recognition of the way things really are. You can come to your own conclusions by contemplating and path and practicing the the Eightfold Path.

      June 17, 2010 at 1:31 am |
  18. Josh M

    That was pretty awesome. It's a shame to destroy that hard work, but the meaning behind it's destruction is profound.

    June 2, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  19. JudyC from Colorado

    Fantastic!!!!

    June 2, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  20. T.T. Clock

    That is gorgeous and amazing to watch. (nice music as well) Symbolism or not, hate to see it destroyed right afterwords.

    June 2, 2010 at 8:36 am |
    • whynowcnn

      That is incredible, I would like to find just 5 people that would have the patience nowadays to even write a letter to a friend. I remember the sriral gyro set from when I was a kid, and did some simple drafting but this really intrigues me to the point of attempting some drawings on my own!!!!

      June 2, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Jere

      Music makes a video come alive.

      Perhaps the editors at CNN could be persuaded to display the name of the musical piece someplace? (A URL to the performer's collection or website would be even better!)

      June 2, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • TD

      This was one of the most amazing things i've ever watched. I would love to know when they do these and where I may be able to see them in action. Stunning.

      June 2, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • worldpeacerocks

      I used Shazam to try and find out what music this was and i got this: 守住這一片陽光 by 林佳蓉/許淑絹 didnt help 1 bit since youtube couldn't help me
      if anyone can help find the song that would be awesome!

      June 3, 2010 at 1:30 am |
    • Cara

      It's destroyed because Buddhists believe that suffering is linked to the attachment to physical things. They believe that we must not cling to these things because that is the root of our suffering, I do a mandala activity with my students every year when we teach Buddhism as part of the India/China unit. I have them color mandala coloring pages and then when they're done they have to tear them up to illustrate the destruction of the sand Mandalas.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:31 am |
    • Guinevere

      Keep this film Sun by Lin Chia-jung / Xu Shu-silk

      This was what my translator gave to me. Couldn't make heads or tails of it

      June 3, 2010 at 8:45 am |
    • Laura

      Thanks to the editors who put this piece together. I'm familiar with mandalas, so have seen these impressive works of art before. What I'd like to really commend is how beautifully well done this glimpse into Buddhism was done: lovely music combined with excellently insightful explanation of what purpose the mandalas serve, the training that's needed to create these beautiful symbols, the reason for their destruction and why the sand is poured into the stream. It was an inspiring piece of journalism filled with beautiful music, images and spot-on explication.

      June 3, 2010 at 9:37 am |
    • Wilbur

      "Defend this Piece of Sunlight" by Lin Jiarong/Xu Shujuan

      June 3, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Tom

      Guys, I think it might actually be some old 'Vangelis' music..

      June 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • Sheldon

      Thanks CNN. But I think some of us wanted to find out the name of the piece of music that aired when the segment was played on CNN Television. I was in South Korea when I saw the piece on television. The particular piece of music had a haunting Tibetan long horn playing. Thanks in advance.

      June 10, 2010 at 8:23 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.