Trungpa lifted his shaved head from the sand mandala. He wanted to watch through the monastery window as the boys played outside. Another fine crop of young ones, he thought. But Trungpa thought this about every new batch of students that came to the temple. Perhaps my mind is go(more)ing, he thought, without too much concern. Or perhaps they really all are fine young boys. He turned back to the mandala and the minute detail he was working on.
When Trungpa had again been asked to construct another mandala it was not without a touch of pride that he affirmed. This feeling, pride, was something which he had never been able to rid himself of despite a lifetime of trying. He felt it because he was considered one of the best sand pourers in the monastery and had been asked to create every mandala for the past fifteen years. He tried to swallow his pride by convincing himself that many could pour as well as he, and that an imperfect mandala was just as beautiful as a perfect one... but he could not. Its a wonder anyone could be considered anything in a community where everyone had taken a vow of silence, but he was silently sure of it.
Several days later when the sand painting was finished there was a ceremony. Life without communication requires extraordinary compassion and sacrifice, but more so it requires discipline and ritual. They all knew, without a word being uttered what was to happen when the alluring artwork was finished. Trungpa stood and watched the once exuberant boys now gather silently with their heads bowed. After the final prayer Trungpa lifted his hand and wiped it across the surface until it was merely a pile of gray sand. (less)