Mandala is defined as a geometric design intended to symbolize the universe . The word itself is derived from the root manda, which means essence, to which the suffix la, meaning container, has been added. Thus, the mandala is a container of essence.
The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. This dot represents the starting point. It is the gathering center in which the outside energies are drawn, and in the act of drawing the forces, the devotee’s own energies unfold and are also drawn. Thus, it represents the outer and inner spaces. Its purpose is to remove the object-subject dichotomy. In the process, the mandala is consecrated to a deity.
The preparation of a mandala is an artistic endeavor, but at the same time it is an act of worship. In this form of worship, concepts and form are created in which the deepest intuitions are crystallized and expressed as spiritual art. The design, which is usually meditated upon, is a continuum of spatial experiences, the essence of which precedes its existence, which means that the concept precedes the form.
In its creation, a line materializes out of the dot. Other lines are drawn until they intersect, creating triangular geometrical patterns. The circle drawn around the central area stands for the dynamic consciousness of the initiated. It surrounds the square structure that always has four elaborate gates which symbolize the bringing together of the four boundless thoughts – loving kindness, compassion, sympathy, and equanimity. This square form defines the architecture of the mandala described as a four sided palace or temple – a palace because it is the residence of the presiding deity of the mandala, a temple because it contains the essence of the Buddha.
The series of circles surrounding the central palace follow an intense symbolic structure. Beginning with the outer circles, one often finds a ring of fire, frequently depicted as a stylized scrollwork. This symbolizes the process of transformation which ordinary human beings have to undergo before entering the sacred territory within. This is followed by a ring of thunderbolt or diamond scepters indicating the indestructibility and diamond like brilliance of the mandala’s spiritual realms.
Particularly in those mandalas that feature wrathful deities, one finds eight cremation grounds arranged in a wide band. These represent the eight aggregates of human consciousness that tie man to the phenomenal world and to the cycle of birth and rebirth. They include Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Actions, Right Livelihood, Right Efforts, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
Finally, at the center of the mandala lies the deity, with whom the mandala is identified. It is the power of this deity that the mandala is said to be invested with and whose characteristics the creator of the art form hopes to share. Deities may be “peaceful deities” symbolizing their own particular existential and spiritual approach, i.e. Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara symbolizing compassion as the central focus of the spiritual experience.
Wrathful deities suggest the mighty struggle involved in overcoming one’s alienation. They embody all the inner afflictions which darken our thoughts, our words, and our deeds that prohibit attainment of the Buddhist goal of full enlightenment. When recognized as aspects of one’s self and tamed by spiritual practice, they assume a benevolent guise and no longer control man.
Sexual imagery may appear in the deity’s area. This phenomenon suggests the integrative process which lies at the heart of the mandala. Male and female elements are nothing but symbols of the countless pairs of opposites – love & hate; good & evil – which one experiences in mundane existence. In this case, sexual imagery can be understood as a metaphor for enlightenment with its qualities of satisfaction, bliss, unity and completion.
If form is crucial to the mandala, so too is color. Each color is associated with one of the five transcendental Buddhas as well as with one of the five afflictions of human nature – confusion, pride, envy, hatred and desire. These delusions obscure our true nature, but through spiritual practice they can be transformed into the wisdom of Buddha. The quadrants of the mandala are typically divided into isosceles triangles of color that include four of the following five:
White – the delusion of confusion that becomes the wisdom of reality
Yellow – the delusion of pride that becomes the wisdom of sameness
Red – the delusion of desire that becomes the wisdom of discernment
Green – the delusion of envy that becomes the wisdom of accomplishment
Blue – the delusion of hatred that becomes the mirror-like wisdom
By their very presence in the world, mandalas remind a viewer of the sanctity in the universe and its potential in each of us. This magical, mystical art form is a means to discover enlightenment and the realization that it resides within one’s own self. There is a saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In terms of mandalas, their worth is infinite!
About the Center for the New Age
Spirit guided us to this special place which centuries earlier was used by ancient people as a ceremonial site. We were guided by Spirit to open the Center at this place which is now the heart of spirituality in Sedona.
We’ve searched the globe and pulled the most accurate Psychics and Healers and amazing Massage-Therapists from all over the world who have come here to be part of this special community, whose energy makes them even more psychic. Their services are offered at the Center daily and by phone at (928) 282-2085.
Center for the New Age
341 State Route 179
across from Tlaquepaque
Sedona, AZ 86336-6111