The art of creating a sand mandala takes years to perfect, and is known to only a dedicated few. So the opportunity to observe a mandala in the making is relatively rare. "It's believed that even just seeing the mandala can transform negativity and awaken altruism and compassion," says Hammer curator Allison Agsten.
When the mandala is complete, it is brushed away. ""It's really about impermanence, which is a key tenet in Buddhism. Nothing lasts forever – and neither will the mandala," Agsten says.
Read Monks make Tibetan art at Hammer in UCLA Today, with photos from the American Foundation for Tibetan Cultural Preservation.