At Big Walnut University, we matriculate through an entire unit on Buddhism. But at BWU, we try to experience a unit, not just read and take notes. One way to do this is to engage in art. Buddhist are famous for crafting inspiring mandalas. Here’s a captivating 2-minute clip on monks creating a mandala.
My students constructed their mandalas in the following fashion:
- We took a perfectly square paper and folded it into 8 pie-shaped sections.
- The students then created a cool design in one of the sections.
- The students then folded the paper, placed it on a window or light box, and recreated the image in the 7 remaining sections.
- Some of the mandalas were spectacular. But in the spirit of Buddhism, we promptly took them out in the parking lot and torched them!
Why, you may ask, would one do such a thing? The answer lies in attachment. Buddhism is all about letting go of attachment. That’s a tough concept to grasp when you’re a youthful 17-years-old. Burning these beautiful works of art had a profound impact on my students! They will remember this assignment and the message about attachment for the rest of their lives!