I recently witnessed this amazing event - a sand painted mandala created by a Tibetan monk associated with the Dali Lama. His visit to Billings, Montana was facilitated by my daughter's life partner, Jim Nymeyer, owner of Barjon's Book Store.
By the time I arrived, the painting was finished and a large crowd had gathered to witness the destruction of the painting.
The monk spent a lot of time explaining his process, the symbolism, and the purpose through his interpreter.
Afterward, participants were given small bags of sand to take home and return to the earth in their own way.
I have mine, still. I am somewhat undecided about where I will place it.
This was a very moving event. I was surprised by how deeply touched I was by the sand painting when I had the opportunity to view it up close. It brought tears to my eyes!