Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Violet wheel Mandala

Violet wheel Mandala


 Violet wheel Mandala is an original acrylic painting with crystals. Size is 29 x 29 cm. It represents inner change.

   The wheel's motion is a metaphor for the rapid spiritual change engendered by the teachings of the Buddha: the Buddha's first discourse at the Deer Park in Sarnath is known as the "first turning of the wheel of dharma." His subsequent discourses at Rajgir and Shravasti are known as the "second and third turnings of the wheel of dharma." The eight spokes of the wheel symbolize the Noble Eightfold Path set out by the Buddha in his teachings.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Paint a Personal Mandala and How to Meditate on a Mandala

How to Paint a Personal Mandala

Mandalas are an ancient symbol that every culture has used. There is deep meaning surrounding them that goes beyond words. They are sacred and found within nature, as well as consciously developed by people.
Many find themselves inexplicably drawn to mandalas. Delving into the process of mental exploration and creating personal mandalas is quite an uplifting experience.

Past experience and painting talent are not prerequisites to making fantastic mandalas. Most are abstract or consist of simple symbols and geometric patterns that anyone can create. What is needed, is an opening of the heart to access the details and inspirations. The perfect mandala for everyone is readily available if attention is paid.

Here are some general tips on how to get started making a personal mandala. Relax and enjoy the process.

Receiving Impressions

This is, by far, the most important step. Sit in a quiet location and relax the body and mind. Visualize the person the mandala is for (whether it be for the artist herself, or someone else). See them clearly. Then, internally ask for the following information. The answers should pop up, without effort and without rational thinking. Ask:
  • What colors would suit this person? ( blues and purples might come as an answer, for example)
  • What natural elements? (perhaps sky and sand)
  • What kinds of patterns or lines? (flowing waves, gently blended lines, for example)
  • Any other elements of any kind to include? (birds, sunbursts, feeling of flight)
Then you can use these ideas and impressions to begin the next step.

Drawing the Mandala

It's always best to draw the mandala before beginning to avoid any major design issues on canvas. A common place to start is to draw a large circle as an outer border and a smaller one just inside the first, to create a "border" around the entire mandala. Then a final circle can be drawn about half of the radius of the first, as a center focal point. Feel free to use any design, though.
Then, begin adding lines and elements that "feel" right, staying faithful to the symmetry of the mandala. Intuitively add unique designs to gaping spaces, and thoughtfully use the space to best demonstrate the impressions about the person the mandala is for. Not all details have to be added in this drawing stage. More can be added in the final step.


Painting the Mandala

Prepare the canvas as normal and decide on a background. It should be harmonious with the colors to be used in the actual mandala. Choosing very light or muted colors is a good way to avoid taking the focus off the design, as well as to avoid color clashing. Then, draw out the design when the background is dry and begin painting. State of mind if very important when painting mandalas. Let a positive flow radiate from the center. It will create something beautiful every time.
Painting mandalas is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. It can be a tool of transformation and of healing, and it can also be a gift to bless others with. There is no "wrong" way to draw mandalas. There is beauty and meaning in each one.

How to Meditate on a Mandala

Think of the mandala as taking a journey. Whereas most meditations are done with the eyes closed, a mandala meditation can be done with the eyes open. After finding a quiet, comfortable place to sit while keeping a good posture, begin to breath slowing and deeply.
Begin with the outside of the mandala and view it as a path that begins on the outside, then slowly makes its way to the middle, which is the goal of the meditation. Focus only on the shapes and colors, allowing yourself to soak in their beauty. In traditional Tibetan mandalas, the outside rings denote fire which is used to purify a person as the flames prepare an individual for meditation.
Continue to follow the path and don't worry if a dead end is reached. If this happens, simply go back and begin anew. The premise for this meditation is not just about reaching the center, it's also about the journey to get there.
The center of the mandala is known as the temple or palace. It should have something that contains a special significance to you. This could be in the form of a symbol or word. Once in the center, imagine no longer being separate from the mandala, but, becoming one with it.
Imagine the body and mind becoming one with the universe and all of the vast knowledge and wisdom the universe contains. When finished, slowly come out of the meditation and take a few moments to contemplate your experiences.
Meditating on a mandala is like taking a journey for relaxation along with allowing for a visualization accessory for the meditation. With deep roots in traditional Buddhist meditations, a mandala is a colorful tool which opens a path for combining the mind and body with the wisdom of the universe.



Saturday, April 14, 2012

What is a Mandala?



  What is a Mandala? You may ask is it some kind of magic circle, or maybe a ritual geometric symbol or is it a mystical symbol only for the lucky initiate? In some areas we find them described as ;symbols of the cosmic elements, used as aids for meditation,' as models for certain visualizations', or alternatively as 'aids to self discovery or to meditation on the transcendental.' In essence a Mandala is a powerfully symmetrical diagram, concentrated about a centre and generally divided into four quadrants of equal size; it is built up of concentric circles and squares possessing the same centre. It is also true that a great many Mandalas are considered as aids to meditation, visualization and initiation. Carl Gustav Jung in his analysis of the Mandala the 'protective circle' found it to be "the traditional antidote for chaotic states of mind."
     In India life is still lived close to nature, and it appears unorganized and therefore chaotic; but in its chaos there seems to be an undercurrent of order. It is the religious culture the spiritual heritage that makes up the keystone of the whole super structure of the Indian civilization. It has a highly philosophical culture. It is here over the ages that the concept of the Mandala has developed no doubt to bring some order into the seemingly apparent chaotic situation. The ancient tribal creed has never relinquished its hold on its past, which reflects its continuous existence through the ages, from evolution to the present.
     The concept of the Mandala was developed and conceived in the remotest ages and most ancient recesses of Indian history before the advent of Hinduism or Buddhism. The Concept as a whole encompassed all facets of the Indian life, a life style and religious heritage, which has made India a mysterious land, incomprehensible and unintelligible. It was found to have been equally important in socio-political realms as well as the religio-spiritual. The influence of the Mandala concept spread all over South-East Asia, Nepal and Tibet wherever Indian culture spread. It is even suspected that its influence spread to West Asia and China also. This influence was apparent in all walks of life especially in the field of administration and religion.
In the tribal primitive agrarian community the Goddess of Fertility evolved. They worshipped her in the form of a triangle, which is regarded as an element of Neolithic art. As in any form of worship it is the mind that links up with the Absolute but on a Mandala, for the worshipper's consciousness to tread the spiritual path to the ultimate, requires knowledge and precision. It is an aspect of Tantrism and fundamentally connotes maithuna (coitus), which terminates in bliss yoga. The Mandala's main component, the triangle, is a basic figure in geometry, and hence, seems so modern, yet in quintessence it is really very old.
     There are in existence many varieties of symbols in India's religious tradition. The dominant symbols occupy an important position, even in the sacio-religious system, for their meaning has remained largely unchanged from age to age and may be said to represent the crystallization of the flowing pattern of rituals over which it presides. Man lives in a symbolic universe of which language, myth, art and religion are parts. They are the varied threads, which weave the symbolic net, the tangled web of human experience. All human progress in thought and experience refines upon and strengthens this net. Among the representations of this symbolic universe, the Mandala is a highly manifested form is space and transpersonal ecology (sacred ecology) and is better understood in practical terms of bounded space, for example, pilgrimage and its related sacred time and sacred performances.
     A prime example of this relationship of the Mandala concept to the cultural and social activities of the Hindu populace is Varanasi, which is the holiest city of Hinduism. According to Rana P B Singh a renowned cartographer of Benaras Hindu University, 'The complexity distinction and hierarchical ordering of the pilgrim age mandala are developed in its full form and still existent and used in practice by the pilgrims. In fact, it can be seen that Varanasi is one of the ideal cities of celestial archetype where material expression to that of parallelism among macro-cos-mos, meso-cosmos and micro-cosmos are still visible.' This is in fact an almost geopolitical as well as socio-religious relationship, which is formed in the concept of the Mandala when it is related to a city or country and its cultural activities.
     It is a known fact that before the advent of the Aryan era there was in existence a vibrant and flourishing agrarian society in the subcontinent. However primitive it may have been in our eyes still it had managed to achieve levels of spiritual understanding well in advance of other societies, which surrounded it. This era was responsible for the advent of Tantrism, which found its place secured in the even later Aryan Vedic religion, mention of it to be found in both the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda. Many of its concepts and traditions found their way into the daily practices of the Hindus.
     In Tantrism, which as we have seen existed much before the Vedic concept of religion, Yantra (represents the spirit), Mantra (the soul) and Tantra (the psychic centres). Tantrism even extended its field of influence to the much later Buddhism. According to the Dalai Lama: 'Mandalas are an aspect of Tantric Buddhism that due to their colourful complexity, have attracted a great deal of interest. Taking a variety of forms, from simple diagrams and more elaborate paintings on cloth to complicated patterns of coloured sand and large three-dimensional carved structures, mandalas have a profoundly symbolic value. Tibetans regard them as sacred. To impart the most profound religious truths, Tantric Buddhism employs pictorial representations with an intensity found in no other form of Buddhism and scarcely in any other religion.
     The use of the Mandala as a tool to aid in the elimination of chaos has proven itself over centuries of use. It has provided humankind with a device easily used if not comprehended to achieve a relationship with and thus with oneself. This particular presentation of the concept of the Mandala as an instrument of concentration and inspiration for meditation provides the reader with an insight into the mystical worlds of the ancients. It allows us once more to try and achieve the unity our forefathers once enjoyed with their environs. Each Mandala described takes us on a progressive journey towards our ultimate goal, the discovery of the power within.
     For many this life is but one of many along the road to discovery and enlightenment, but this does not suggest that we should not even bother to try and expect the results to come in their own time. Any attempt we make to gain experience of the unknown can only but enhance the life we lead. It helps us to become aware of the cosmos within which we exist and will ultimately aid us in achieving a unity within the self, making us better human beings in the process.

The Mandala - Sacred Geometry and Art

The Mandala

    Perhaps the most admired and discussed symbol of Buddhist religion and art is the mandala, a word which, like guru and yoga, has become part of the English language. Its popularity is underscored by the use of the word mandala as a synonym for sacred space in scholarship world over, and by its presence in English-language dictionaries and encyclopedias. Both broadly define mandalas as geometric designs intended to symbolize the universe, and reference is made to their use in Buddhist and Hindu practices.
     The mandala idea originated long ago before the idea of history itself. In the earliest level of India or even Indo-European religion, in the Rig Veda and its associated literature, mandala is the term for a chapter, a collection of mantras or verse hymns chanted in Vedic ceremonies, perhaps coming from the sense of round, as in a round of songs. The universe was believed to originate from these hymns, whose sacred sounds contained the genetic patterns of beings and things, so there is already a clear sense of mandala as world-model.
The word mandala itself is derived from the root manda, which means essence, to which the suffix la, meaning container, has been added. Thus, one obvious connotation of mandala is that it is a container of essence. As an image, a mandala may symbolize both the mind and the body of the Buddha. In esoteric Buddhism the principle in the mandala is the presence of the Buddha in it, but images of deities are not necessary. They may be presented either as a wheel, a tree, or a jewel, or in any other symbolic manifestation.


Creation of a Mandala

    The origin of the mandala is the center, a dot. It is a symbol apparently free of dimensions. It means a 'seed', 'sperm', 'drop', the salient starting point. It is the gathering center in which the outside energies are drawn, and in the act of drawing the forces, the devotee's own energies unfold and are also drawn. Thus it represents the outer and inner spaces. Its purpose is to remove the object-subject dichotomy. In the process, the mandala is consecrated to a deity.
    In its creation, a line materializes out of a dot. Other lines are drawn until they intersect, creating triangular geometrical patterns. The circle drawn around stands for the dynamic consciousness of the initiated. The outlying square symbolizes the physical world bound in four directions, represented by the four gates; and the midmost or central area is the residence of the deity. Thus the center is visualized as the essence and the circumference as grasping, thus in its complete picture a mandala means grasping the essence.

 Construction of a Mandala

  Before a monk is permitted to work on constructing a mandala he must undergo a long period of technical artistic training and memorization, learning how to draw all the various symbols and studying related philosophical concepts. At the Namgyal monastery (the personal monastery of the Dalai lama), for example, this period is three years.
     In the early stages of painting, the monks sit on the outer part of the unpainted mandala base, always facing the center. For larger sized Mandalas, when the mandala is about halfway completed, the monks then stand on the floor, bending forward to apply the colors.
Traditionally, the mandala is divided into four quadrants and one monk is assigned to each. At the point where the monks stand to apply the colors, an assistant joins each of the four. Working co-operatively, the assistants help by filling in areas of color while the primary four monks outline the other details.
    The monks memorize each detail of the mandala as part of their monastery's training program. It is important to note that the mandala is explicitly based on the Scriptural texts. At the end of each work session, the monks dedicate any artistic or spiritual merit accumulated from this activity to the benefit of others. This practice prevails in the execution of all ritual arts.
    There is good reason for the extreme degree of care and attention that the monks put into their work: they are actually imparting the Buddha's teachings. Since the mandala contains instructions by the Buddha for attaining enlightenment, the purity of their motivation and the perfection of their work allows viewers the maximum benefit.
     Each detail in all four quadrants of the mandala faces the center, so that it is facing the resident deity of the mandala. Thus, from the perspective of both the monks and the viewers standing around the mandala, the details in the quadrant closest to the viewer appear upside down, while those in the most distant quadrant appear right side up.
     Generally, each monk keeps to his quadrant while painting the square palace. When they are painting the concentric circles, they work in tandem, moving all around the mandala. They wait until an entire cyclic phase or layer is completed before moving outward together. This ensures that balance is maintained, and that no quadrant of the mandala grows faster than another.
    The preparation of a mandala is an artistic endeavor, but at the same time it is an act of worship. In this form of worship concepts and form are created in which the deepest intuitions are crystallized and expressed as spiritual art. The design, which is usually meditated upon, is a continuum of spatial experiences, the essence of which precedes its existence, which means that the concept precedes the form. In its most common form, the mandala appears as a series of concentric circles. Each mandala has its own resident deity housed in the square structure situated concentrically within these circles. Its perfect square shape indicates that the absolute space of wisdom is without aberration. This square structure has four elaborate gates. These four doors symbolize the bringing together of the four boundless thoughts namely - loving kindness, compassion, sympathy, and equanimity. Each of these gateways is adorned with bells, garlands and other decorative items. This square form defines the architecture of the mandala described as a four-sided palace or temple. A palace because it is the residence of the presiding deity of the mandala, a temple because it contains the essence of the Buddha. The series of circles surrounding the central palace follow an intense symbolic structure. Beginning with the outer circles, one often finds a ring of fire, frequently depicted as a stylized scrollwork. This symbolizes the process of transformation which ordinary human beings have to undergo before entering the sacred territory within. This is followed by a ring of thunderbolt or diamond scepters (vajra), indicating the indestructibility and diamond like brilliance of the mandala's spiritual realms.
     In the next concentric circle, particularly those mandalas which feature wrathful deities, one finds eight cremation grounds arranged in a wide band. These represent the eight aggregates of human consciousness which tie man to the phenomenal world and to the cycle of birth and rebirth.
    Finally, at the center of the mandala lies the deity, with whom the mandala is identified. It is the power of this deity that the mandala is said to be invested with. Most generally the central deity may be one of the following three:

Peaceful Deities

 A peaceful deity symbolizes its own particular existential and spiritual approach. For example, the image of Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara symbolizes compassion as the central focus of the spiritual experience; that of Manjushri takes wisdom as the central focus; and that of Vajrapani emphasizes the need for courage and strength in the quest for sacred knowledge.

Wrathful Deities

  Wrathful deities suggest the mighty struggle involved in overcoming one's alienation. They embody all the inner afflictions which darken our thoughts, our words, and our deeds and which prohibit attainment of the Buddhist goal of full enlightenment. Traditionally, wrathful deities are understood to be aspects of benevolent principles, fearful only to those who perceive them as alien forces. When recognized as aspects of one's self and tamed by spiritual practice, they assume a purely benevolent guise.

Sexual Imagery

    Sexual imagery suggests the integrative process which lies at the heart of the mandala. Male and female elements are nothing but symbols of the countless pairs of opposites (e.g. love and hate; good and evil etc.) which one experiences in mundane existence. The initiate seeks to curtail his or her alienation, by accepting and enjoying all things as a seamless, interconnected field of experience. Sexual imagery can also be understood as a metaphor for enlightenment, with its qualities of satisfaction, bliss, unity and completion.

Color Symbolism of the Mandala

    If form is crucial to the mandala, so too is color. The quadrants of the mandala-palace are typically divided into isosceles triangles of color, including four of the following five: white, yellow, red, green and dark blue. Each of these colors is associated with one of the five transcendental Buddhas, further associated with the five delusions of human nature. These delusions obscure our true nature, but through spiritual practice they can be transformed into the wisdom of these five respective Buddhas. Specifically:
  • White - Vairocana: The delusion of ignorance becomes the wisdom of reality.
  • Yellow - Ratnasambhava: The delusion of pride becomes the wisdom of sameness.
  • Red - Amitabha: The delusion of attachment becomes the wisdom of discernment.
  • Green - Amoghasiddhi: The delusion of jealousy becomes the wisdom of accomplishment.
  • Blue - Akshobhya: The delusion of anger becomes the mirror like wisdom. 


The Mandala as a Sacred Offering


    In addition to decorating and sanctifying temples and homes, in Tibetan life the mandala is traditionally offered to one's lama or guru when a request has been made for teachings or an initiation - where the entire offering of the universe (represented by the mandala) symbolizes the most appropriate payment for the preciousness of the teachings. Once in a desolate Indian landscape the Mahasiddha Tilopa requested a mandala offering from his disciple Naropa, and there being no readily available materials with which to construct a mandala, Naropa urinated on the sand and formed an offering of a wet-sand mandala. On another occasion Naropa used his blood, head, and limbs to create a mandala offering for his guru, who was delighted with these spontaneous offerings.


  The visualization and concretization of the mandala concept is one of the most significant contributions of Buddhism to religious psychology. Mandalas are seen as sacred places which, by their very presence in the world, remind a viewer of the immanence of sanctity in the universe and its potential in himself. In the context of the Buddhist path the purpose of a mandala is to put an end to human suffering, to attain enlightenment and to attain a correct view of Reality. It is a means to discover divinity by the realization that it resides within one's own self. 


The meaning of Green

Anahata Chakra Mandala

    Green is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 520–570 nanometres. In the subtractive color system, it is not a primary color, but is created out of a mixture of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; it is considered one of the additive primary colors. On the HSV color wheel, the complement of green is magenta; that is, a purple color corresponding to an equal mixture of red and blue light. On a color wheel based on traditional color theory (RYB), the complementary color to green is considered to be red. 

    The word green is closely related to the Old English verb growan, “to grow”. It is used to describe plants or the ocean. Sometimes it can also describe someone who is inexperienced, jealous, or sick. In America, green is a slang term for money, among other things. Several colloquialisms have derived from these meanings, such as “green around the gills”, a phrase used to describe a person who looks ill.  

    Several minerals have a green color, including emerald, which is colored green by its chromium content. Animals such as frogs, lizards, and other reptiles and amphibians, fish, insects, and birds, appear green because of a mixture of layers of blue and green coloring on their skin. By far the largest contributor to green in nature is chlorophyll, the chemical by which plants photosynthesize. Many creatures have adapted to their green environments by taking on a green hue themselves as camouflage. 

    Culturally, green has broad and sometimes contradictory meanings. In some cultures, green symbolizes hope and growth, while in others, it is associated with death, sickness, envy, or the devil. The most common associations, however, are found in its ties to nature. For example, Islam venerates the color, as it expects paradise to be full of lush greenery. Green is also associated with regeneration, fertility and rebirth for its connections to nature. Recent political groups have taken on the color as symbol of environmental protection and social justice, and consider themselves part of the Green movement, some naming themselves Green parties. This has led to similar campaigns in advertising, as companies have sold green, or environmentally friendly, products.  

    Green is the color of nature, fertility, life. Grass green is the most restful color. Green symbolizes self-respect and well being. Green is the color of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony. Green is a safe color, if you don't know what color to use anywhere use Green.  

Green is favored by well balanced people. Green symbolizes the master healer and the life force. It often symbolizes money. It was believed Green was healing for the eyes. Egyptians wore green eyeliner. You should eat raw green foods for good health. Friday is the day of Green. 

    Green contains the powerful energies of nature, growth, desire to expand or increase. Balance and a sense of order are found in the color Green. Change and transformation is necessary for growth, and so this ability to sustain changes is also a part of the energy of Green.  

    In the context of 'Going Green' it implies: The need for reducing consumption, reusing and recycling products, steps that will help preserve the planet for future generattions.