RELIGION
11/22/2014 04:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Get Up Close And Personal With This Impossibly Intricate Buddhist Sand Mandala

In Buddhist tradition, a mandala is a sacred image that graphically represents the universe and is intended for use during meditation. Typically circular in shape, a mandala has a central point -- called a "seed" or "drop" -- toward which all energies are thought to converge.

Buddhist monks frequently create mandalas out of paper, cloth or as three-dimensional models -- but occasionally they use bowls of colored sand, which must be delicately placed in a painstaking process that can take weeks. Once completed, the sand mandala is said to represent the fleeting nature of life and is shortly thereafter destroyed by the same monks who labored over it.

We are blown away by the intricacy of these ephemeral mandalas and thought we'd take a closer look...

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Tibetan Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery complete a Chenrezig Sand Mandala in Salisbury Cathedrals Chapter House on October 3, 2013 in Salisbury, England.

How are they doing that?

sand mandala
Tibetan Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery complete a Chenrezig Sand Mandala in Salisbury Cathedrals Chapter House on October 3, 2013 in Salisbury, England.

Is this really sand?

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Detail of a Chenrezig Sand Mandala being currently completed in Salisbury Cathedrals Chapter House byTibetan Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is seen on October 3, 2013 in Salisbury, England.

It's too perfect!

sand mandala
Detail of a Chenrezig Sand Mandala being currently completed in Salisbury Cathedrals Chapter House byTibetan Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is seen on October 3, 2013 in Salisbury, England.

Just a little closer...

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A Tibetan Monk from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, helps complete a Chenrezig Sand Mandala in Salisbury Cathedrals Chapter House on October 3, 2013 in Salisbury, England.

Must.. see.. every.. grain.

sand mandala
A Tibetan Monk from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, helps complete a Chenrezig Sand Mandala in Salisbury Cathedrals Chapter House on October 3, 2013 in Salisbury, England.

But don't get too close or you'll fall on it like this toddler did in April.

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