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A MANDALA ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
: मण्डल, lit, _circle_) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism
Buddhism
, representing the universe . In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe .

The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point . Each gate is in the general shape of a T. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance .

The term appears in the Rigveda
Rigveda
as the name of the sections of the work and vedic rituals use Mandalas such as nava graha mandala to this day. Mandala
Mandala
is also used in Buddhism.

In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space , and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.

CONTENTS

* 1 Hinduism

* 1.1 Religious meaning * 1.2 Political meaning

* 2 Buddhism
Buddhism

* 2.1 Early and Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism
Buddhism

* 2.2 Tibetan Vajrayana
Vajrayana

* 2.2.1 Visualisation of Vajrayana
Vajrayana
teachings

* 2.2.1.1 Mount Meru * 2.2.1.2 Wisdom and impermanence * 2.2.1.3 Five Buddhas

* 2.2.2 Practice * 2.2.3 Offerings

* 2.3 Shingon Buddhism
Buddhism
* 2.4 Nichiren
Nichiren
Buddhism
Buddhism
* 2.5 Pure Land Buddhism
Buddhism

* 3 Christianity * 4 Western psychological interpretations * 5 In art * 6 Gallery * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Sources * 10 Further reading * 11 External links

HINDUISM

Mandala
Mandala
of Vishnu
Vishnu

RELIGIOUS MEANING

A _yantra _ is a two- or three-dimensional geometric composition used in _sadhanas _, puja or meditative rituals. It is considered to represent the abode of the deity. Each _yantra_ is unique and calls the deity into the presence of the practitioner through the elaborate symbolic geometric designs. According to one scholar, "Yantras function as revelatory symbols of cosmic truths and as instructional charts of the spiritual aspect of human experience"

Many situate _yantras_ as central focus points for Hindu tantric practice. _Yantras_ are not representations, but are lived, experiential, nondual realities. As Khanna describes:

Despite its cosmic meanings a _yantra_ is a reality lived. Because of the relationship that exists in the Tantras between the outer world (the macrocosm) and man's inner world (the microcosm), every symbol in a _yantra_ is ambivalently resonant in inner–outer synthesis, and is associated with the subtle body and aspects of human consciousness.

POLITICAL MEANING

Main article: Mandala (political model)

The _"Rajamandala"_ (or _"Raja-mandala"_; circle of states) was formulated by the Indian author Kautilya in his work on politics, the _ Arthashastra _ (written between 4th century BCE and 2nd century BCE). It describes circles of friendly and enemy states surrounding the king's state.

In historical, social and political sense, the term "mandala" is also employed to denote traditional Southeast Asian political formations (such as federation of kingdoms or vassalized states). It was adopted by 20th century Western historians from ancient Indian political discourse as a means of avoiding the term 'state' in the conventional sense. Not only did Southeast Asian polities not conform to Chinese and European views of a territorially defined state with fixed borders and a bureaucratic apparatus, but they diverged considerably in the opposite direction: the polity was defined by its centre rather than its boundaries, and it could be composed of numerous other tributary polities without undergoing administrative integration. Empires such as Bagan , Ayutthaya , Champa , Khmer , Srivijaya
Srivijaya
and Majapahit
Majapahit
are known as "mandala" in this sense.

BUDDHISM

Painted 17th century Tibetan 'Five Deity Mandala', in the centre is Rakta Yamari
Yamari
(the Red Enemy of Death) embracing his consort Vajra Vetali , in the corners are the Red, Green White and Yellow Yamaris , Rubin Museum of Art Sandpainting showing Buddha mandala which is made as part of the death rituals among Buddhist
Buddhist
Newars of Nepal
Nepal
.

EARLY AND THERAVADA BUDDHISM

The mandala can be found in the form of the stupa and in the _ Atanatiya Sutta _ in the Digha Nikaya , part of the Pali Canon . This text is frequently chanted. Mandalas are traditionally found in large amounts in Buddhist
Buddhist
Monasteries all over the world. One can also buy Mandalas and Thankas /Pauva in places like Thamel .

TIBETAN VAJRAYANA

Main article: Vajrayana
Vajrayana

In the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Buddhism, mandalas have been developed into sandpainting . They are also a key part of Anuttarayoga Tantra
Tantra
meditation practices.

Visualisation Of Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Teachings

The mandala can be shown to represent in visual form the core essence of the Vajrayana
Vajrayana
teachings. The mind is "a microcosm representing various divine powers at work in the universe." The mandala represents the nature of the Pure Land, Enlightened mind.

While on the one hand, the mandala is regarded as a place separated and protected from the ever-changing and impure outer world of _samsara _, and is thus seen as a "Buddhafield" or a place of Nirvana and peace, the view of Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Buddhism
Buddhism
sees the greatest protection from _samsara_ being the power to see samsaric confusion as the "shadow" of purity (which then points towards it).

Mount Meru

A mandala can also represent the entire universe, which is traditionally depicted with Mount Meru as the axis mundi in the center, surrounded by the continents.

Wisdom And Impermanence

In the mandala, the outer circle of fire usually symbolises wisdom. The ring of eight charnel grounds represents the Buddhist exhortation to be always mindful of death, and the impermanence with which _samsara _ is suffused: "such locations were utilized in order to confront and to realize the transient nature of life". Described elsewhere: "within a flaming rainbow nimbus and encircled by a black ring of dorjes , the major outer ring depicts the eight great charnel grounds, to emphasize the dangerous nature of human life". Inside these rings lie the walls of the mandala palace itself, specifically a place populated by deities and Buddhas .

Five Buddhas

One well-known type of mandala is the mandala of the "Five Buddhas", archetypal Buddha forms embodying various aspects of enlightenment. Such Buddhas are depicted depending on the school of Buddhism
Buddhism
, and even the specific purpose of the mandala. A common mandala of this type is that of the Five Wisdom Buddhas (a.k.a. Five _ Jinas
Jinas
_), the Buddhas Vairocana
Vairocana
, Aksobhya , Ratnasambhava
Ratnasambhava
, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi
Amoghasiddhi
. When paired with another mandala depicting the Five Wisdom Kings , this forms the Mandala of the Two Realms .

Practice

Tantric mandala of Vajrayogini
Vajrayogini

Mandalas are commonly used by tantric Buddhists as an aid to meditation.

The mandala is "a support for the meditating person", something to be repeatedly contemplated to the point of saturation, such that the image of the mandala becomes fully internalised in even the minutest detail and can then be summoned and contemplated at will as a clear and vivid visualized image. With every mandala comes what Tucci calls "its associated liturgy ... contained in texts known as tantras ", instructing practitioners on how the mandala should be drawn, built and visualised, and indicating the mantras to be recited during its ritual use.

By visualizing "pure lands", one learns to understand experience _itself_ as pure, and as the abode of enlightenment. The protection that we need, in this view, is from our own minds, as much as from external sources of confusion. In many tantric mandalas, this aspect of separation and protection from the outer samsaric world is depicted by "the four outer circles: the purifying fire of wisdom, the vajra circle, the circle with the eight tombs, the lotus circle". The ring of _vajras_ forms a connected fence-like arrangement running around the perimeter of the outer mandala circle.

As a meditation on impermanence (a central teaching of Buddhism
Buddhism
), after days or weeks of creating the intricate pattern of a sand mandala , the sand is brushed together into a pile and spilled into a body of running water to spread the blessings of the mandala.

Kværne in his extended discussion of sahaja , discusses the relationship of sadhana interiority and exteriority in relation to mandala thus:

...external ritual and internal sadhana form an indistinguishable whole, and this unity finds its most pregnant expression in the form of the mandala, the sacred enclosure consisting of concentric squares and circles drawn on the ground and representing that adamant plane of being on which the aspirant to Buddha hood wishes to establish himself. The unfolding of the tantric ritual depends on the mandala; and where a material mandala is not employed, the adept proceeds to construct one mentally in the course of his meditation."

Offerings

Chenrezig sand mandala created at the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on the occasion of the Dalai Lama\'s visit in May 2008

A "mandala offering" in Tibetan Buddhism
Buddhism
is a symbolic offering of the entire universe. Every intricate detail of these mandalas is fixed in the tradition and has specific symbolic meanings, often on more than one level.

Whereas the above mandala represents the pure surroundings of a Buddha, this mandala represents the universe. This type of mandala is used for the mandala-offerings, during which one symbolically offers the universe to the Buddhas or to one's teacher. Within Vajrayana practice, 100,000 of these mandala offerings (to create merit) can be part of the preliminary practices before a student even begins actual tantric practices. This mandala is generally structured according to the model of the universe as taught in a Buddhist
Buddhist
classic text the _Abhidharma-kośa _, with Mount Meru at the centre, surrounded by the continents, oceans and mountains, etc.

SHINGON BUDDHISM

One Japanese branch of Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism— Shingon Buddhism—makes frequent use of mandalas in its rituals as well, though the actual mandalas differ. When Shingon's founder, Kukai , returned from his training in China, he brought back two mandalas that became central to Shingon ritual: the Mandala
Mandala
of the Womb Realm and the Mandala
Mandala
of the Diamond Realm .

These two mandalas are engaged in the _abhiseka _ initiation rituals for new Shingon students, more commonly known as the _Kechien Kanjō_ (結縁灌頂). A common feature of this ritual is to blindfold the new initiate and to have them throw a flower upon either mandala. Where the flower lands assists in the determination of which tutelary deity the initiate should follow.

Sand mandalas , as found in Tibetan Buddhism, are not practiced in Shingon Buddhism.

NICHIREN BUDDHISM

The Mandala
Mandala
in Nichiren
Nichiren
Buddhism
Buddhism
is called a _moji-mandala_ (文字曼陀羅) and is a paper hanging scroll or wooden tablet whose inscription consists of Chinese characters and medieval-Sanskrit script representing elements of the Buddha's enlightenment , protective Buddhist
Buddhist
deities, and certain Buddhist
Buddhist
concepts. Called the _ Gohonzon _, it was originally inscribed by Nichiren
Nichiren
, the founder of this branch of Japanese Buddhism
Buddhism
, during the late 13th Century. The _Gohonzon_ is the primary object of veneration in some Nichiren schools and the only one in others, which consider it to be the supreme object of worship as the embodiment of the supreme Dharma
Dharma
and Nichiren's inner enlightenment. The seven characters Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō , considered to be the name of the supreme Dharma, as well as the invocation that believers chant, are written down the center of all Nichiren-sect _Gohonzons_, whose appearance may otherwise vary depending on the particular school and other factors.

PURE LAND BUDDHISM

Mandalas have sometimes been used in Pure Land Buddhism
Buddhism
to graphically represent Pure Lands , based on descriptions found in the _ Larger Sutra _ and the _ Contemplation Sutra _. The most famous mandala in Japan is the Taima Mandala , dated to approximately 763 CE. The Taima Mandala is based upon the _Contemplation Sutra_, but other similar mandalas have been made subsequently. Unlike mandalas used in Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Buddhism, it is not used as an object of meditation or for esoteric ritual. Instead, it provides a visual representation of the Pure Land texts, and is used as a teaching aid.

Also in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, Shinran and his descendant, Rennyo , sought a way to create easily accessible objects of reverence for the lower-classes of Japanese society. Shinran designed a mandala using a hanging scroll, and the words of the _nembutsu _ (南無阿彌陀佛) written vertically. This style of mandala is still used by some Jodo Shinshu Buddhists in home altars, or _butsudan _.

CHRISTIANITY

The round window at the site of the Marsh Chapel Experiment supervised by Walter Pahnke

Forms which are evocative of mandalas are prevalent in Christianity: the celtic cross ; the rosary ; the halo ; the aureole ; oculi ; the Crown of Thorns
Crown of Thorns
; rose windows ; the Rosy Cross
Rosy Cross
; and the dromenon on the floor of Chartres Cathedral
Chartres Cathedral
. The dromenon represents a journey from the outer world to the inner sacred centre where the Divine is found.

The Cosmati pavements , including that at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
, are geometric mandala-like mosaic designs from thirteenth century Italy. The Great Pavement
Pavement
at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
is believed to embody divine and cosmic geometries as the seat of enthronment of the monarchs of England .

Similarly, many of the Illuminations of Hildegard von Bingen
Hildegard von Bingen
can be used as mandalas, as well as many of the images of esoteric Christianity , as in Christian
Christian
Hermeticism
Hermeticism
, Christian
Christian
Alchemy
Alchemy
, and Rosicrucianism .

Alchemist, Mathematician and Astrologer John Dee
John Dee
developed a geometric symbol which he called the _ Sigillum Dei _ 'Seal of God' manifesting a unviersal geometric order which incorportated the names of the archangels , derived from earlier forms of the _clavicula salomonis_ or key of Solomon . The Seal of God; a mystic pentagram symbol composed by Dee

The Layer Monument , an early 17th-century marble mural funerary monument at the Church of Saint John the Baptist, Maddermarket, Norwich , is a rare example of Christian
Christian
iconography absorbing alchemical symbolism to create a mandala in Western funerary art.

WESTERN PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERPRETATIONS

According to art therapist and mental health counselor Susanne F. Fincher, we owe the re-introduction of mandalas into modern Western thought to Carl Jung
Carl Jung
, the Swiss psychoanalyst. In his pioneering exploration of the unconscious through his own art making, Jung observed the motif of the circle spontaneously appearing. The circle drawings reflected his inner state at that moment. Familiarity with the philosophical writings of India
India
prompted Jung to adopt the word "mandala" to describe these circle drawings he and his patients made. In his autobiography, Jung wrote:

I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, ... which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time. ... Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: ... the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious. — Carl Jung, _ Memories, Dreams, Reflections _, pp. 195–196.

Jung recognized that the urge to make mandalas emerges during moments of intense personal growth. Their appearance indicates a profound re-balancing process is underway in the psyche. The result of the process is a more complex and better integrated personality.

The mandala serves a conservative purpose—namely, to restore a previously existing order. But it also serves the creative purpose of giving expression and form to something that does not yet exist, something new and unique. ... The process is that of the ascending spiral, which grows upward while simultaneously returning again and again to the same point. — Jungian analyst Marie-Louise von Franz , C. G. Jung: _ Man and His Symbols _, p. 225

Creating mandalas helps stabilize, integrate, and re-order inner life.

According to the psychologist David Fontana , its symbolic nature can help one "to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises."

IN ART

Fashion designer Mandali Mendrilla
Mandali Mendrilla
designed an interactive art installation called Mandala
Mandala
of Desires (Blue Lotus Wish Tree) made in peace silk and eco friendly textile ink, displayed at the China Art Museum in Shanghai in November 2015. The pattern of the dress was based on the Goloka Yantra
Yantra
mandala, shaped as a lotus with eight petals. Visitors were invited to place a wish on the sculpture dress, which will be taken to India
India
and offered to a genuine living Wish Tree .

GALLERY

*

A diagramic drawing of the Sri Yantra
Yantra
, showing the outside square, with four T-shaped gates, and the central circle *

Vishnu
Vishnu
Mandala(Traditionally found in Nepal
Nepal
) *

Painted 19th century Tibetan mandala of the Naropa
Naropa
tradition, Vajrayogini
Vajrayogini
stands in the center of two crossed red triangles, Rubin Museum of Art *

Painted Bhutanese Medicine Buddha mandala with the goddess Prajnaparamita in center, 19th century, Rubin Museum of Art *

Mandala
Mandala
of the Six Chakravartins *

Vajravarahi
Vajravarahi
Mandala
Mandala
*

Kalachakra Mandala
Mandala
*

Jain
Jain
cosmological diagrams and text. *

A mandala near the entrance to Tawang Monastery . *

Mandala
Mandala
painted by a patient of Carl Jung
Carl Jung
*

Floorplan for the 9th-century Indonesian Buddhist
Buddhist
temple Borobudur
Borobudur
in the form of a mandala *

Jain
Jain
picture of Mahavira
Mahavira
*

Easy mandala *

Mandali Mendrilla
Mandali Mendrilla
's interactive sculpture dress " Mandala
Mandala
of Desires" at the China Art Museum in Shanghai, November 2015

SEE ALSO

* Buddhism
Buddhism
portal * Arts portal

* Architectural drawing * Astrological symbols * Bhavachakra * Chakra
Chakra
* Dharmachakra
Dharmachakra
* Form constant * Ganachakra * Great chain of being
Great chain of being
* Life energy * Magic Circle * Mandylion
Mandylion
, the first icon in Christianity * Namkha * Sacred art * Sri Yantra
Yantra
* Yantra
Yantra

REFERENCES

* ^ "mandala". Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-19. * ^ Artiste Nomade, _What's a mandala?_ * ^ Kheper,_The Buddhist
Buddhist
Mandala
Mandala
- Sacred Geometry and Art_ * ^ www.sbctc.edu (adapted). "Module 4: The Artistic Principles" (PDF). Saylor.org. Retrieved 2 April 2012. * ^ Khanna Madhu , _Yantra: The Tantric Symbol
Symbol
of Cosmic Unity_. Thames and Hudson, 1979, p. 12. * ^ Khanna, Madhu, _Yantra: The Tantric Symbol
Symbol
of Cosmic Unity_. Thames and Hudson, 1979, pp. 12-22 * ^ Singh, Prof. Mahendra Prasad (2011). _Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers_. Pearson Education India. ISBN 8131758516 . pp. 11-13. * ^ Dellios, Rosita (2003-01-01). "Mandala: from sacred origins to sovereign affairs in traditional Southeast Asia". Bond University Australia. Retrieved 2011-12-11. * ^ Prebish printed edn, Routledge, 2006; page 89 * ^ Skilling, _Mahasutras_, volume II, parts I & II, Pali
Pali
Text Society , pages 553ff * ^ John Ankerberg, John Weldon, _Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs: The New Age Movement_, p. 343 * ^ Wanderling, the. "Sudden or Gradual Enlightenment". Retrieved 10 October 2016. * ^ "Programa Ngöndro %%page%". 14 March 2017. Archived from the original on 14 March 2017. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link ) * ^ Mipham (2000) pp. 65,80 * ^ "A Monograph on a Vajrayogini
Vajrayogini
Thanka Painting". 13 August 2003. Archived from the original on 13 August 2003. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link ) * ^ Camphausen, Rufus C. "Charnel- and Cremation Grounds". Retrieved 10 October 2016. * ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2006-11-25. * ^ _A_ _B_ "Mandala". Retrieved 10 October 2016. * ^ "The Mandala
Mandala
in Tibet". Retrieved 10 October 2016. * ^ "Mandala". Retrieved 10 October 2016. * ^ Per Kvaerne 1975: p. 164 * ^ Kvaerne, Per (1975). "On the Concept of Sahaja
Sahaja
in Indian Buddhist
Buddhist
Tantric Literature. (NB: article first published in _Temenos_ XI (1975): pp.88-135). Cited in: Williams, Jane (2005). _Buddhism: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies, Volume 6._ Routledge. ISBN 0-415-33226-5, ISBN 978-0-415-33226-2". Retrieved April 16, 2010. * ^ "What Is a Mandala?". _studybuddhism.com_. * ^ "Preliminary practice (ngöndro) overview". Retrieved 10 October 2016. * ^ See David Fontana: "Meditating with Mandalas", p. 11, 54, 118 * ^ http://www.westminster-abbey.org/conservation/video-library * ^ see Susanne F. Fincher: _Creating Mandalas: For Insight, Healing, and Self-Expression_, pp. 1 - 18 * ^ See David Fontana: _Meditating with Mandalas_, p. 10 * ^ " China Art Museum in Shanghai - Forms of Devotion". Retrieved 10 October 2016. * ^ "Haljinu " Mandala
Mandala
of Desires" dnevno posjećuje čak 30 000 ljudi!".

SOURCES

* Brauen, M. (1997). _The Mandala, Sacred circle in Tibetan Buddhism_ Serindia Press, London. * Bucknell, Roderick & Stuart-Fox, Martin (1986). _The Twilight Language: Explorations in Buddhist
Buddhist
Meditation
Meditation
and Symbolism_. Curzon Press: London. ISBN 0-312-82540-4 * Cammann, S. (1950). _Suggested Origin of the Tibetan Mandala Paintings_ The Art Quarterly, Vol. 8, Detroit. * Cowen, Painton (2005). _The Rose Window_, London and New York, (offers the most complete overview of the evolution and meaning of the form, accompanied by hundreds of colour illustrations.) * Crossman, Sylvie and Barou, Jean-Pierre (1995). _Tibetan Mandala, Art & Practice_ The Wheel of Time, Konecky and Konecky. * Fontana, David (2005). "Meditating with Mandalas", Duncan Baird Publishers, London. * Gold, Peter (1994). _Navajo & Tibetan sacred wisdom: the circle of the spirit_. ISBN 0-89281-411-X . Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International. * Mipham, Sakyong Jamgön (2002) _2000 Seminary Transcripts Book 1_ Vajradhatu Publications ISBN 1-55055-002-0 * Tucci, Giuseppe (1973). _The Theory and Practice of the Mandala_ trans. Alan Houghton Brodrick, New York, Samuel Weisner. * Vitali, Roberto (1990). _Early Temples of Central Tibet_ London, Serindia Publications. * Wayman, Alex (1973). _"Symbolism of the Mandala
Mandala
Palace"_ in _The Buddhist
Buddhist
Tantras_ Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass. * Chris Bell (n.d.). _The Maṇḍala_

FURTHER READING

* Grotenhuis, Elizabeth Ten (1999). Japanese mandalas: representations of sacred geography, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press * Kossak, S (1998). _Sacred visions : early paintings from central Tibet_. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (see index)

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