A Buddhist sand display used to convey the fleeting nature of life really brought the point home when it was destroyed prematurely by a toddler looking to play.
Luckily, the three Tibetan monks in New Jersey who had worked for days on the sand mandala -- an intricate, colorful piece of art made from millions of grains of sand -- embraced the partial destruction of their project when a toddler mistook the piece for a playground last Friday.
The sand mandala right before the destruction
NJ.com reported that the 2,500-year-old Tibetan ceremony hit a snag when a 3-year-old boy jumped on the display just hours before it was set to be destroyed for a naturalization event for new U.S. citizens at City Hall.
“Everybody’s heart stopped,” Councilman at large Daniel Rivera told the publication.
Though seriously smudged, it still looked pretty beautiful.
The monks, who at first thought the mandala to be unsalvageable, were able to repair some of the damage the tot had caused when he smudged the sides and middle of the design, according to the Associated Press.
Tibetan monk Geshe Wangdu brushed off the incident, according to NJ.com.
"What can we do?" Wangdu said.
Monk Lobsang Chodak said he and his fellow monks didn't want to disappoint anybody, but took solace in seeing the lesson the mandala was supposed to impart anyway -- even if it was a bit earlier than expected.
"It's so beautiful and then, next thing, it's gone," Chodak said.