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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

These Dark Times Require Grounding Principles

by Maia Duerr, guest contributor

Buddha Moon - Buddha Stones
"Buddha Moon - Buddha Stones" (photo: H. Kopp-Delaney/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

Winter Solstice. The longest night of the year. The other day I was wondering what it must have been like to be one of the early humans, before there was a body of cultural and scientific knowledge built up to assure us that the light would, indeed, return as we turned the corner on this day and headed once again toward spring. It must have been terrifying to see the sun drop lower and lower in the sky each day and the night grow longer and longer without really knowing if that trajectory would reverse.

So this is a dark time — not only astronomically but also the world feels dark right now.

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Building a Mandala of the Buddha of Compassion
Trent Gilliss, senior editor

CNN photographer Marc Hill created this magnificent time-lapse video of a group of monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta who built a sand mandala at Emory University in late March. Hill crunches six days of painstaking work into two days minutes:

“People were in there talking and walking around them, taking pictures. There was a lot going on in the room. But those monks who were building that mandala were absolutely laser-focused on what they were doing.”

And, about an hour after it was completed, a brush whisked away the sand in a ceremony to “symbolize the impermanence of life.”

CNN’s Belief Blog provides more details about the event, the monks involved, and how the mandala was built.