Q: So, what do you do when your students do a magnificent job on a project? A: You burn it…RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM!

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:

  1. We took a perfectly square paper and folded it into 8 pie-shaped sections.

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  1. The students then created a cool design in one of the sections.

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  1. The students then folded the paper, placed it on a window or light box, and recreated the image in the 7 remaining sections.

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  1. Some of the mandalas were spectacular. But in the spirit of Buddhism, we promptly took them out in the parking lot and torched them!

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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!

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