Tibetan monks spend two weeks making sand mandala to mark Dalai Lama's 80th birthday

Two Buddhist monks worked from 9am until midnight painstakingly placing grains of sand to make the gift that will eventually be brushed away

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Two Tibetan monks spent nearly two weeks painstakingly placing grains of coloured sand to create a mandala to celebrate the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday.

The monks worked from 9am to midnight for 10 days, according to the LA Times, but the mandala is intended to be impermanent and the sand used will eventually be swept away.

The Dalai Lama blest their work on Tuesday, inspecting the mandala with lead artist Sherab Chopel, a monk from Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala.

The mandala depicts the celestial home of Avalokiteshvara, a respected figure in Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibetan Buddhists believe the Dalai Lama is the earthly manifestation of Avalokiteshvara.

The mandala is on display at the University of California, Irvine, soon to be the home of the Centre for Living Peace, a non-profit that says its mission is "to inspire inner peace and its expression in the world".

The centre encourages visitors to make an offering to the mandala, and its website lists the significance of various items that might be offered.