The gardener collected his tools. It was time to start work. Today he would restore the garden to its timeless beauty. He picked up his broom and rake and strode recklessly across the carefully prepared garden and gazed with reluctant admiration at the great colourful Mandala that occupied the centre of his domain. Vibrant in its profusion of bright colours – reds, blues, greens and yellow – the circles were squared and the squares circled. The visiting monks had spent hours on their knees, spreading the coloured sands from their little pots, dribbling the tiny particles between their fingers as the work of art grew with their efforts. Despite himself, and the affront to his tradition, the Japanese gardener gazed with awe at this manifestation of Buddhist art, and marvelled at a tradition so foreign to his own. The Tibetans had tried to explain the transitory nature of their practice – how he was expected to sweep it all away, obliterating it as though it had never been. He pondered this, sighed, and began to sweep.
As the last of the coloured sand vanished forever into the pebbles of his garden, the gardener took up his rake and began rearranging the stones into their timeless pattern. Harmony was restored. The garden once more slumbered in balance, and the sound of distant fountains soothed the air.

Copyright © H.St V.Beechey 2004