Three visiting monks from the Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery work on the mandala they and three of their colleagues built in December 2012 at Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The monks on the right and left are using a chakpur, a funnel with which they add sand to outer sections of the mandala. Rasping the metal rod over the ridges on the outside of the chakpur precisely controls the flow of sand, directing it exactly where it’s needed. The monk in the center is using a metal spatula to sculpt the outside edge of another outer section.
Here the mandala is nearing its final form. It almost completely covers the skeletal outline, which the monks drew on the table in grease pencil as the first step of construction. One small section of that outline is visible at the 4 o’clock position, outlining the one remaining outer section of the mandala not yet filled in with sand.