Mandala Art

Mandala Painting

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In Sanskrit the word for word mandala means circle. In Vajrayana Buddhism a mandala refers to a type of diagram (yantra) symbolic of a sacred mansion, the palace of a deity meditational, the sheer size of the enlightened mind. Generally, the mandalas are painted as thangkas, tri-dimensional represented in wood or metal or built with colored sand on a platform. In the latter case, the mandala is undone after some ceremonies and sand is thrown into a river next to the blessings that spreads. The dissolution of a mandala also serves as an example of impermanence.


During the practices of Sadhana it is common offering of mandalas to Buddha. Here the mandala represents a pure world with the mountain in central position and all continents around it full of offerings precious metals and jewels. The mandala is symbolized by mounds of barley or a specific mudra. At the end of Sadhana the merit of this act of generosity is dedicated to enlightenment of all beings.

The Mandalas are often formed by a series of concentric circles, surrounded by a square which in turn is surrounded by another circle. The square has a gate in the center of each side, the main points toward the east, with other three entries in each cardinal point. They represent entrances to the main palace of the deity and are based on the design of Indian classical temple of four sides. These mandalas are plants developed the palace, seen from above. The portals, however, often are “discarded” and the external walls. These portals are decorated with Tantric symbols. The architecture of the mandala represents both the nature of reality as the order of an enlightened mind.


The central deity represents the state of enlightenment and the various parts of the palace indicate the key aspects of personality light. The gods represent their own negative emotions – such as anger, hatred, desire and ignorance – transmuted into the consciousness of an Enlightened Buddha.