Mandala, a geometric art form from Sanskrit, has been used for meditation and mindfulness for centuries. They are often created with sand and sometimes small pebbles. In modern times people enjoy printing out images of mandalas for colouring. Mandala colouring helps people relax, focus, and be creative.The purpose of working with a mandala is to work within the self towards attaining states of enlightenment.
Mandalas are complex geometric patterns that include circles, triangles, squares and other shapes and symbols that are all associated with a particular theme. The symbolism within the geometrical shapes often represents the cosmos. Creating mandala also represents the contemplation of the layers of understanding involved within undertaking a spiritual journey. Through working on the self at a soul level the mandala helps the individual understand the oneness and unity of all things. Additionally, the mandala opens the practitioner to a journey of cultivating states of being. With dedication to self-improvement the mandala uses sacred geometry as a pathway to change sorrow to joy.
History of Mandala
Mandala first appears in Hinduism within the rig-vedas. However, as an art form it has become well known through Buddhism. As Buddhist monks used the Silk Road to preach their teaching, by the 4th century, they had brought mandala painting to Tibet, China, and Japan. East-West trade was facilitated via the Silk Road.
Hindu and Buddhist Traditions
Mandalas are used for meditation in Hindu and Buddhist practices. They depict the universe and use symbols to represent the spiritual journey, cycles of life and interconnectedness of living things.
The Hindu tradition emphasizes the realization of oneself as being divine. In Buddhism, the focus is on achieving enlightenment or Buddha-nature.
Mandalas in this tradition depict the challenges one must conquer to develop compassion and wisdom. The creation of mandalas adheres to specific guidelines.
Types of Mandalas
The three types of mandalas are sand, healing, and teaching mandalas.
1. Sand Mandala
Buddhist teachers and Navajo people use sand mandalas as part of their faith. colourful patterns made of sand are used in these complicated designs to show how temporary life is.
2. Healing Mandala
Mandalas made for meditation, known as healing mandalas, are designed to provide wisdom, induce a sense of tranquility, and enhance focus and concentration. They rely more on intuition than instruction, unlike teaching mandalas.
3. Teaching Mandala
The student creates a mandala using design and construction specifications. Each form, line, and colour in a teaching mandala represents a religious or philosophical concept.The mandala shows the student’s knowledge. Teaching mandalas are bright mental blueprints for their creators.
Symbolism in Mandalas
Mandalas are complex circular patterns that contain various symbols. They represent Buddha’s mind in the form of a wheel, tree, flower, or jewel. Dots are symbolic of the starting point for contemplation and devotion towards a higher power. As the design expands, it incorporates lines and geometric shapes that depict the universe, while the outer circle signifies the cycle of life. Some common mandala symbols include:
- Eight-spoked wheel. In Buddhism, the eight-spoked wheel is a symbol that represents the Eightfold Path. The wheel is circular to symbolize a perfect universe. The Eightfold Path comprises the practices that lead to rebirth, and each of its eight spokes represents a component of the path.
- Traingle. The triangle has different meanings depending on its orientation in a mandala. When facing upward, it represents energy, and when facing downward, it represents creativity.
- Bell. The meaning of bells is linked to getting your mind to be clear and open.
- Lotus flower. The Lotus flower is a meaningful symbol in Buddhism that represents balance due to its symmetrical shape.
- Sun. The sun can symbolize both the universe and the essence of life.
- Horizontal line. Horizontal line represents the separation between the earth and sky, dividing up from down.
- Vertical Line. Vertical line represents the connection between worlds by dividing the directions of right and left.
How Mandalas Are Used
Mandalas serve various religious and non-religious purposes. Tibetan mandalas use sand art to portray Buddha’s enlightenment, while metal and a small tube are used to form patterns on the ground to create an organized grain texture. Although it takes weeks to finish, Buddhists destroy it to illustrate the fleeting nature of all things.
Mandalas have various purposes in modern times. In yoga, mandalas are meant to represent a sacred space to keep away external influences. They are drawn and placed around the studio during meditation. Additionally, mandala art is incorporated into Native American healing circles, which aim at rejuvenating the body, mind, and heart.
Dream catchers use mandalas to protect sleepers. The majority of dream catchers are mandala-shaped and are popular in Western cultures.
Mandalas, which are spiritual symbols in Asian art, have been adapted as meditative tools in many cultures. They represent the universe and serve as guides for Buddhists and Hindus seeking enlightenment. Geometric designs, such as those found in mandalas and thangkas, are now also used in yoga studios, dream catchers, healing circles, and other meditation practices. Making and collecting mandalas can be a transformative practice that helps restore inner peace and knowledge.
The Painters and Paintings
They sat on the floor to paint with the painting resting on their laps or in front of their crossed legs.
The process of creating paintings followed a systematic approach that consisted of five steps:
- Preparation of the painting surface.
- Creating a design.
- Applying the first layer of paint.
- Adding shading and outlines
- Putting the finishing touches.
Mandala Colour Meaning
- Red is commonly associated with qualities such as strength, fire, and passion.
- Orange represents vitality, heat, and energy.
- Yellow is associated with wisdom and learning, as well as wealth and prosperity. It can inspire new business ideas, increase income, and promote growth and innovation. Yellow also symbolizes light, power, joy, spring, and enlightenment.
- Violet represents spiritual forces.
- Blue represents the element of water and cool temperature, symbolizing tranquility and coldness. Additionally, it is associated with perception, consciousness, and thinking.
- Green represents nature, peace, harmony, and a healthy lifestyle.
- White is associated with purity and wisdom.
- Black evokes feelings of secrecy, mystery, emptiness, and profound contemplation.