When one meditates on a Mandala by visualising its three dimensions - like a temple.
This is why the sacred circle is often placed within a square.
The square symbolises the walls of a temple with four openings or doors which indicate, at the same time, the four cardinal points and the four heavenly directions. In India, in Tibet and throughout Asia, the major temples as well as the pagodas have been built according to the architectural principles of the Mandala. Sacred texts lay down that each temple must be a representation of the universe.
Even in the Occident, our architects have used the Mandala as a model of the creation of the world ; transcendence in the centre and diverse creation in the circle. Among many possible examples, let us just consider the wonder of the rose windows and labyrinth gardens of the cathedrals.
Just as the Mandala is found in the architecture of India, Tibet and throughout Aisa, so too its trace can be found in various art forms such as mosaics, engravings, sculptures, pottery, weavings, astrology, calendars, paintings on fabric, canvas, paper and also in sand paintings.
Mandalas are universal and omnipresent. Imagine just for a moment a Tibetan Mandala, think of the wealth of colour and remarkable beauty, the complexity of symbolic forms. According to the Tibetan monks, the art of the Mandala is a very powerful art, different from ordinary paintings. Making a Mandala requires many qualities : a memorisation of the sacred texts, the ability to trace very precise measurements and finally the ability to draw and paint.
When a Mandala is being made it is accompanied by prayers for peace ; when it is dismantled, according to Tibetan monk tradition, it is also accompanied by prayers for peace during a special ceremony. Buddhist Mandalas often depict numerous characters of divine nature, the main divinity being located at the centre of the Mandala.
In the plant world, we often find links to the Mandala, whether it be in the form of the blossom or in the wonder of a flower, a section of a branch of a tree, of a root, of a trunk or even of a piece of fruit - all these demonstrate the structure of a Mandala. In the animal world, these links also exist : in a bird's nest or in a spider's web.
In fact, it is possible to link many forms of expression to the Mandala : the ripples on the surface of water, tornados, whirlpools, the iris of the eye, the chakras, crystals, horoscopes, kaleidoscopes, all sorts of wheels, discs, the preparation of food, in the sciences, associated diagrams...
crédit photo: Frédéric Reglain