Back at the Sand Mandala yesterday: the monks had taken off for Auckland after lunch, and for once I was not rushed. I had a long leisurely visit, chatting to the nun in attendance downstairs, experimenting with the sand and funnel put out for visitors to try, reading more of the interpretation available on the walls. But mostly, I just circled slowly (clockwise) around the platform on which the mandala is emerging, looking and looking and looking.
As you can see the house of compassion is almost finished: the central square and the gates or foyers coming off in each of the four directions. I worked out that the blue quadrant not only represents North but faces it as well. The yellow is to the East, white to the South and Green is West. And the centre is down. This last was a significant realisation because I had been trying to interpret the shapes and symbols as though they were oriented to my view from the outside of the mandala. But the reverse is true and once I adjusted my perspective it became much easier to see faces and figures.
Lots of people came through during the 45 minutes or so I spent there, many of them clearly on return visits. Strangely, almost every group of visitors asked me a question about the mandala. I must have looked like I belonged there and since I was able to answer most of the questions easily, I didn't fight that impression.