Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Meditate on a Tibetan Mandala


Many times some form of visual aid or tool is preferred when meditating. This can help an individual focus during the meditation. Meaning "circle" in Sanskrit, a mandala can be used by an advanced practitioner as well as a beginner. It allows for relaxation and visualization.

What is a Mandala?

A mandala is a circular form made up of spiraling circles and interlinking squares which often features a deity in the middle.
A mandala can represent the order of the universe and allows for the integration of mind and spirit while allowing the exploration of different realms of consciousness. A mandala can be small and simple or huge and elaborate; some come in the form of a labyrinth.

How are Mandalas Made?

Mandalas are constructed in a few different ways. A mandala can be made on silk or painted on a scroll, which is known as a tangka. Another way to make a mandala is out of sand where at the end of the meditation, the sand is gently blown away.
A mandala can also be created by using yarn to form a three-dimensional sculpture or simply drawn and colored. There are also different internet sites which provide free printable mandala coloring pages in which the designs are already drawn and all one has to do is color in the design.

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.