Mandala is a word derived from Indian classical language of Sanskrit. In a loose translation, it means a circle but mandala is more than just a name or a shape. It represents a world that extends within and beyond our minds and bodies. It is a symbol of wholeness, a diagram reminding us of our relationship with the infinite. This has a ritual and spiritual significance in both the Buddhism and Hinduism beliefs. It shows both the materialistic and non-materialistic realities of life. It brings together various aspects of life into a celestial circle moon, sun and earth. It also shows the conceptual circle of community, family and friends.

The awareness of this concept of mandala changes one`s view of life. Enables one to look at the life purpose, the planet as well as one`s being in a different perceptive. Initially this concept was common in the Eastern religions but due to the integration of the religions in the world, this view is rapidly emerging in the secular and the Western religion. The concept brings about unity. People express themselves in a group as an individual. In the process, a unified structure is built. Mandala projects can be built by friends, students, children and workmates. Group mandala quilt is built for a group of children. Creating such a project is fun and enjoyable. It can provide a good way to end workshop or an event.

The basic form is a circle contained in square of four gates. Each of these gates is T shaped. Mandalas are used for meditating and trance inductions. They are used as a spiritual tool for teaching and providing a sacred environment. In Vajrayana Buddhism, the branch of Tibetan develops them into a sand-painting. The Anuttarayoga Tantra uses them in meditating. In layman’s language, we can say it is a geometric pattern or chart which represents a small universe of the human beings perspective. They have both the religious and political meaning. On a religious point of view, a yantra is a 2 or maybe 3 dimensional geometric chart. It represents the relationship between the macrocosm that is the outer world and the microcosm which is the inner world of a man. They show how the human conscious interpret both these worlds. In the political context, mandala represents the political formations of the Southeast Asia. These formations did conform to the European views and Chinese view of the bureaucratic structures to be employed as well as the boundaries to be laid down way back in the 20th century.

A very common type of mandala is the five Buddhas. It consists of a number of enlightenment aspects. These aspects will depend on the purpose of the mandala as well as the Buddhism school. An example is the Five jinas which consists of Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Aksobhya, Amoghasiddhi and Vairocana. Combining such a mandala  with another Five Buddhas will give you a two realm. An offering is a symbol that represents the whole universe. Each and every detail is fixed and it represents a symbolic meaning in many levels. In Christianity Mandalas are prevalent in the rosary, the celtic cross. The halo and the crown of thorns.


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