Nothing is permanent (anicca) – that’s one of the core teachings of Buddhism.

For most Westerners, sand mandalas are a complete waste of time. Depending on the level of intricacy, days, weeks or even months are invested in making a beautiful painting out of sand – just to wipe it away in an instance.

I guess most people passing by must have been pretty impressed by the composure of some Buddhist monks in Kansas City, when a toddler, left unattended for an instance, had his fun dancing through a mandala they had been working on for two full days – and the monks only smiled and started over.

Some parents might have slapped the child but, ironically, he was demonstrating exactly what the mandalas are supposed to demonstrate. Impermanence. So a knowing smile was the only adequate reaction.