Mandala (Skt. maṇḍala; Tib. དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་, kyilkhor; Wyl. dkyil ‘khor) — mandala can be translated literally as ‘centre and circumference‘. A mandala is generally depicted as a circle which revolves around a centre. On the simplest level, a mandala can be understood to be us, the student or practitioner, and the phenomenal world around us. The word ‘mandala’ also describes an integrated structure that is organized around a central unifying principle.
It also means:
- the sacred environment and dwelling place of a buddha, bodhisattva or deity, together with the deities, which is visualized by the practitioner in tantric practice.
- the two dimensional representation of this environment on cloth or paper, or made of heaps of coloured sand, or three dimensional traditionally made of wood.
- an offering of the entire universe visualized as a pure land with all the inhabitants as pure beings.
See also mandala offering.
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- Array / circle (Ronald M. Davidson)
- Davidson explains: The feudal system at the time mandated that the aspiring king be consecrated into the position of overlord by a ceremony in which he became divine by being invested in his person with a god or gods and took his place in the center of a maṇḍala of subordinate states. These subsidiary states acted as buffers encompassing the great state, which is why it was called a maṇḍala: a circle. See R. Davidson, Tibetan Renaissance, Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture, Columbia University Press, 2005. Page 31.
- Brauen, Martin, The Mandala, Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism (Boston: Shambhala, 1997). First Published as Das Mandala: Der Heilige Kreis im tantrischen Buddhismus (Köln: DuMont, 1992)
- Chögyam Trungpa, Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle (Boston: Shambhala, 1991/ republished in The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Six, 2003)
- Chögyam Trungpa, Journey Without Goal (Boston: Shambhala, The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Four, 2003), Chapter Three: Mandala.
- 3D pictures and animations of the Kalachakra mandala at the Jonang Foundation.
- Mandala Resource Page at Himalayan Art
- 'Mandalas: An Introduction, Painting & Sculpture' by Jeff Watt