What is Mandala art? The word Mandala comes from the ancient Indian language (Sanskrit), which means a Circle or Center. Mandala is drawn from the central point and is surrounded by beautiful patterns and decorations that are connected and interrelated. An image of a Mandala can symbolize everything in life that is interconnected and never-ending. A circle is a great symbol to illustrate that life has no end and spirits never disappear, and everything is just a part of nature, the world, and the universe. Likewise, from the Buddhism perspective, death is not the final state of the existence cycle, but it is just a passing phase of life. In other words, life is infinity and the wholesome of spirit.
Mandala painting is a symbolic picture of the universe, the circle that represents wholeness, totality, infinity, timelessness, and unity. Mandala is famously known as a spiritual and ritual symbol in many Asian cultures. It was firstly created by Hindu and then widely adopted in other religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, and Paganism. Moreover, when inspecting closely in religious arts from East Asia, there are many Madala symbols hidden in the artistic details.
A painting of Mandala is mainly created for a meditation purpose, being used to maintain the mind. When practicing Mandala art therapy, It allows you to take your mind off of negative things and decrease negativity in your life. Being disconnected from the chaotic world, you can fully focus on yourself as a natural human being and can set your mind toward your ultimate goal. Mandala helps release stress and prevent your mind from negative thoughts and bad energy.
In meditation practice, if you can keep a vision of a Mandala in your mind without distraction, it means that you have achieved success and entered the Mandala. The artistic beauty of the Mandala artwork is not only pleasant to look at, but it is also for better developing your mind potential and achieving a pure enlightened mind. Beautiful Mandala art can help promote mindfulness in your life. It is an amazing tool to find your stability for inner peace and your inner sense of self.
In Buddhist traditions, Mandala art is a useful aid for monks to focus their mind during meditation in order to restore inner peace and arise wisdom from within. Because when you are able to better contemplate the mind, you can connect to your inner self and be aware of your own feelings.
History Of Mandala
In Buddhism, the Sand Mandala painting originated in Vajrayana Buddhism for meditative purposes. The center of the mandala mostly contains a circle to represent spiritual enlightenment, freedom, or the Buddha. Mandala helps practitioners to find themselves as part of nature and become the wholeness of the universe.
Due to the expansion of the Buddha’s philosophy and his teachings, Buddhist monks and travelers had brought Mandala paintings with them to other parts of the world through the famous Silk Road, one of the oldest trade routes that connected the East and West in the early 4th century.
Mandala is also found in the Native American culture in the form of a dreamcatcher.
The Rose window of the Chartres Cathedral in France, where the rounded stained-glass window depicts Christ in the middle as a symbol of the Eternal Truth. This piece of work symbolizes divinity in Christian religious art.
A painting of Mandala also often portrays the cosmos in miniature, this kind of mandala is also known as “Cosmograms”.
When studying from all world cultures, Mandala is a temple of the essence, the central power of enlightened truth. Mandala is the universe and a mirror of human beings.
Types of Mandalas
1. Teaching Mandala
Or Cultural Mandala that has a fixed pattern and style, which follow or be made according to the traditional instructions. The purpose of this kind of mandala is to illustrate the religious texts or the traditional scriptures.
2. Healing Mandala
It is also considered a personal mandala. It has unlimited numbers of symbols and creative patterns that are created for an individual. It is created mainly for meditation practice. This type of mandala allows practitioners to focus and contemplate their minds and create positive energy. Being in a calm and peaceful environment, one can concentrate on self-development and be able to move toward spiritual transformation. When one is calm and mindful, wisdom will arise.
Mandala Color Meaning Chart
Mandala usually has a vibrant appearance. Each color has special effects on our thoughts, moods, and emotions, so it is important to choose Mandala’s colors wisely that have symbolic meanings to meet and resonate with your goal, intention, and purpose of meditation.
|Red||a symbol of strength, fire, and passion.|
|Orange||the color of vitality, heat, and energy.|
|Yellow||a color of wisdom and learning. It can also represent rich wealth and prosperity. It evokes new ideas for business, increasing income, and causes growth or new innovation to the world. Yellow also means light, power, joy, spring, and enlightenment. |
|Blue||It is the element of water and temperature of cool, so it symbolizes tranquility and coldness. It also represents the perception of consciousness and the function of thinking. |
|Violet||represents spiritual forces.|
|Green||the color of nature, peace, harmony, and healthy life.|
|White||represents purity and wisdom.|
|Black||It is about secrets, mystery, emptiness, and deep thought.|
Meaning of Symbols on Mandala
The most common symbol depicted in the center of Mandala is the Sun. It symbolizes the heart and the light of life in many spiritual arts and Asian traditions. Generally, when you look at a circular shape, it usually promotes the feeling of harmony and balance.
The eight-spoked wheel
It is a symbol of the universe or Dharmachakra in Buddhism, which is the Eightfold Path that leads to spiritual liberation.
When you look at how a lotus flower grows, you will see its development from being underneath mud water and reaching above the waterline and then becoming a beautifully refined blossom for the world to see. This development process symbolizes spiritual awakening and enlightenment. In Asian cultures, the lotus is a sacred symbol in Buddhism and Hinduism.
It is a famous symbol to represent the universe, life, and energy.
It divides up from down and represents a separation of earth and sky.
It divides the directions of right and left, representing the connection between worlds.
Mandalas are Everywhere
When looking at our everyday life, you will see that there are mandalas appears everywhere around us, from nature such as flowers, the sun, snowflakes, waterdrops, eyes, spiders webs, kiwi fruit cut in half, cells of all living beings, atoms of everything on the planet to manmade items such as a clock, compass and so on.
Even the human body is a mandala, as when we outstretched our arms and legs, we form a five pointed star or a star-Mandala.
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