As one of 27 Jesuit institutions, Rockhurst provides a profoundl academic experience that develops critical thinking skills, uniquely preparing students for the real world. Part of that experience are classes that challenge students to redefine how they view the world, and their place in it.
I wrote about family, because I know that, eventually the people you love will eventually pass on. So learning to love them and be with them while you can is really important, because someday you have to remember that things move on. And you don't have your family forever.
The course is Buddhism. It's an upper-level theology course in Theology & Religious Studies. And the exercise is to learn about impermanence. Impermanence is one of the fundamental characteristics-- one of the fundamental beliefs within Buddhism, the idea that everything changes. Nothing is constant.
And so the exercise was to use the giant paint brushes to write something and then watch it disappear. So at first, I asked the students to write something meaningful to them that was positive and watch it disappear and see how hard that can be to watch, to think about something that we love disappearing. But then I also asked them to write something negative and what a relief it can be to watch something negative disappear.
So mandalas are just used to show how impermanence just permeates everything. It's a lot of effort to put into a piece of artwork. And often, they'll do them in sand and then wash them away afterwards. It's really interesting to watch them do it, just because they spend so much time making these really intricate designs in the sand. And then they immediately destroy them. And they also-- they'll take some of the sand and give it to the community. And then they'll take other sand and put it into a water source like a river so that it's washed away.
We see impermanence in the seasons, because in the spring, things bloom. And they stay bloomed through the summer. But then in the fall, they'll die. And in the winter, everything is dormant. And then they'll come back again the next spring. And everything in nature is a cycle. But nothing ever stays permanently.