I was teaching Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path today in my sixth grade classes. As part of that, I showed a few mandalas designed to teach Buddhist doctrine, and we hit upon the idea that the class should make their own mandalas as part of their memorization process.
I think this is good. We worked up a basic template, for the kids who worried about their artistic abilities, but we also left the assignment open-ended, for those who wanted to make their own images.
One student went farther, though: “So, Mr. Watt, a mandala is just a teaching tool… a whole book of information, with tiny pictures representing tiny details of a much larger story?”
I agreed with that. It seemed reasonable.
“So could you make a whole mandala of everything we’re supposed to learn in sixth grade, and we could take THAT home instead of our textbook?”
Hmmm. Maybe I need to get out my paints and canvases again.