Tibetan Sandpainting Quiz

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Questions:

1. Sand painting is also called what?
2. Tibetan Buddhist sand paintings are usually composed of what?
3. The word mandala in Sanskrit means what?
4. A mandala is a cosmic diagram that represents what?
5. Tibetan symbolism consists primarily of what?
6. What is considered the key to the mandala?
7. Squares represent what?
8. Triangles stand for what?
9. What will you usually see in the center of the mandala?
10. To create a Tibetan mandala is to evoke what?
11. The colored sands are poured from traditional metal funnels called what?
12. Besides sand, what else can a mandala be constructed from?
13. A mandala can take days, weeks, months and sometimes even years to complete; so why is it destroyed shortly after its completion?

tibetan sandpainting - modern zen

Answers:

(no peeking!)

1. Sand painting is also called what? It is also referred to as drypainting.
2. Tibetan Buddhist sand paintings are usually composed of what? Mandalas. In Tibetan, it is called dul-tson-kyil-khor meaning mandala of colored powders.
3. The word mandala in Sanskrit means what? Circle.
4. A mandala is a cosmic diagram that represents what? The dwelling place or celestial mansion of a deity. Both the deity who reside in the mandala and the mandala itself are recognized as pure expressions of Buddha’s fully enlightened mind.
5. Tibetan symbolism consists primarily of what? Circles, squares and triangles.
6. What is considered the key to the mandala? The circle is the key for it represents the unity of all existence and the unbounded chaos of heaven.
7. Squares represent what? The order of the four directions and the boundaries of human life on earth.
8. Triangles stand for what? The trinity beyond duality.
9. What will you usually see in the center of the mandala? The center of the mandala is almost always a circle. Numerous circles within the mandala depict a multitude of centers existing simultaneously on many levels.
10. To create a Tibetan mandala is to evoke what? The “structuring principle” that brings cosmic elements into alignment and gives them form.  Deities or sacred ancestral energies are understood to exist in the forms of these traditional designs while rendering the designs brings them to life. Creating a mandala is considered a sacred ceremony of great power.
11. The colored sands are poured from traditional metal funnels called what? Chak-pur. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand while running a metal rod on its serrated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.
12. Besides sand, what else can a mandala be constructed from? A mandala can be constructed from wood, precious jewels, rice or flowers.
13. A mandala can take days, weeks, months and sometimes even years to complete; so why is it destroyed shortly after its completion? Destruction is done as a teaching tool and metaphor for the impermanence of all things.

The Past – I Don’t Want To Live There Anymore!

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Despite what most of us claim, we each still live in the past. We cling to the safety of old memories, ideas and moments whether we once determined them to be positive or negative. By clinging tightly to everything I have stuffed in my good box; theoretically, I get to vicariously re-live them again and again. True, they are never as powerful as the first time but they are infinitely more palatable than the hurtful stuff. If I dumped my past into the “not so good” container to carry with me, I remind myself of the badge of honor that is mine because I survived some challenge, fear or paiin. The tighter I hold this one, the more I remind myself to avoid those unpleasant situations should the circumstances reappear in my life. The main belief at work here is that I can control everything and be powerful enough to never allow it to happen to me again. Certainly, this is far from the truth, because we don’t control pain – pain controls us.

 

Unfortunately, the way the mind works to compartmentalize our past is an inefficient system at best. Most times it fails to pay any attention to the heart and the emotions that are unexpressed or stuck as they relate to a particular moment in time. Every second of joy and pain exists uniquely as an energy script that can be read and rewritten only by allowing the baby, child, teenager or adult who must, in a sense, relive the experience emotionally to truly “feel” what happened and shake that energy free. Until you clear something energetically as the “person” you were at that moment in the past, you can’t move onto a new future.

 

My latest example is almost too simplistically real but it’s Christmastime and who amongst us doesn’t have Christmas memories? Would you believe me if I told you I was afraid of those beautifully wrapped Christmas presents that bear my name? This one is so strange I know you’re asking for an explanation. I’ll do my best to offer just that.

 

I can’t even remember that childhood Christmas when my Mother gave me a nicely wrapped but empty box for a present but I know in my heart it happened. And, of course, I was the only one of the three children to be designated as worth nothing. Here it is years later, and every time I see a Christmas present for “me” the hurt child inside cringes with anticipation of a nothingness that created untold feelings of unworthiness. Now, as an adult, I can tell you that holding on to this pain is just silly, but try telling that to the child who felt the pain of being the only one to receive an empty box. If I could remember, I’m sure I could move the energy much faster, but many things in our past are perceived, on a conscious and unconscious level, as just too painful and dangerous to play with.

 

If you’re like me – you don’t want to live in the past. If that is true, you must summon the courage to open your secret history box as a personal gift to you. Opening your past to the light allows you to rewrite who you are today even if some of the presents that life brings you are not gifts of love and delight. The pain and emptiness I held inside me for a lifetime was infinitely more disabling than that empty Christmas. Only I can shift the balance of power in my personal history book, but that takes endless courage and repetition. It is my responsibility to eventually shift the emptiness into completeness by opening the past and exposing it repeatedly to the light of day.

 

Just remember, if you hand me a beautiful present, and I look like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car; the child in me is caught in that moment of fear about what will be discovered when the wrappings are removed and someone’s estimation of my self-worth reveals itself once again. Be patient with me – I am a work of art in progress and masterpieces take time to complete. I am committed to healing my past because I truly don’t want to live there anymore.

Who Is Managing Your Time?

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Time is one of the precious commodities we possess. We can’t speed it up or slow it down or even buy more of it, so we may as well try to manage it. Time management is the art of paying attention to how your time is spent with a personal goal of becoming more efficient and productive. Here are some tips to make time work for you:

• Plan your day. The less you plan, the less productive you will probably be. Consider the good old fashioned to do list to help you manage your day, week, month or year.

• Prioritize and Re-prioritize Regularly. Being busy is not the same as being productive and we must be aware of the difference.

• Add The Word “No” To Your Vocabulary. Use it as a reflection of love of self, not of someone else. Drop the guilt when you do use it.

• Do The Job Right The First Time. Sloppy, incomplete work will eventually cost lots of time to set it right.

• Strive For Quality Work – Not Perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist so time spent seeking it is wasted.

• Bite Size Big Tasks. Make big tasks less formidable by breaking it into smaller parts. Complete one part at a time.

• Delegate. Share with others if you can.

Time keeps on ticking and is something I’m writing about because it is a personal, pressing issue for me. Time is precious and I’m trying to get as much out of it as I can. May you do the same. I surrender to the need for time management in my life and will now be doing a blog once a month and a quiz for the email once a month until the demands on my time shift again.