Recently, mandala became a familiar term in our world, as it is regarded as a high form of art with many art lovers and Buddhism adepts. At its origins, a mandala is the most admired symbol in Buddhist religion and in Sanskrit, the term means ‘circle’ or ‘completion’.
The symbol is recognized for its deep spiritual meaning and its representation of wholeness. For those who learn how to produce mandalas, it is said that the mandala is a meaningful reflection of its creator and that this art therapy can be a great source of reflection on one’s soul.
But that’s not where the meaning of the wholeness of mandalas stops. Mandalas don’t only represent life as we know it but also a larger ecosystem and universe that goes beyond our consciousness. In other terms, mandalas are everywhere. They are in the structures of our cells, our world and universe.
Mandalas can be painted on paper, stone, wood, cloth or even on a wall. In Tibetan Buddhism, mandalas take on a more architectural role as temples may be built as giant mandalas.
Mandalas include a variety of geometric shapes using patterns evolving from different symbols. Sometimes, they are associated with a symbolic palace located at the center with four gates oriented to the four corners of the world. Several layers of circles surround the palace forming a protective barrier. Each layer symbolizes a quality that one must acquire to access the palace.
The mandala may also include symbols associated with different deities or cultural symbols such as a thunderbolt (symbol of the male), a bell (symbol of the female), a wheel (symbol of the Buddhist Eight-fold Path) or a diamond (clear mind).