A mandala (emphasis on first syllable; Sanskrit मण्डल, maṇḍala – literally "circle") is a spiritual and ritual symbol in the Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism representing the universe.[1] In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a time-microcosm of the universe.

The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T.[2] Mandalas often have radial balance.[3]

The term appears in the Rigveda as the name of the sections of the work, and Vedic rituals use mandalas such as the Navagraha mandala to this day. Mandalas are also used in Buddhism.

In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.

Manjuvajramandala con 43 divinità - Unknown - Google Cultural Institute
Thangka painting of Manjuvajra mandala


Vishnu Mandala
Mandala of Vishnu

Religious meaning

A yantra is similar to a mandala, usually smaller and using a more limited colour palette. It may be a two- or three-dimensional geometric composition used in sadhanas, puja or meditative rituals, and may incorporate a mantra into its design. It is considered to represent the abode of the deity. Each yantra is unique and calls the deity into the presence of the practitioner through the elaborate symbolic geometric designs. According to one scholar, "Yantras function as revelatory symbols of cosmic truths and as instructional charts of the spiritual aspect of human experience"[4]

Many situate yantras as central focus points for Hindu tantric practice. Yantras are not representations, but are lived, experiential, nondual realities. As Khanna describes:

Despite its cosmic meanings a yantra is a reality lived. Because of the relationship that exists in the Tantras between the outer world (the macrocosm) and man's inner world (the microcosm), every symbol in a yantra is ambivalently resonant in inner–outer synthesis, and is associated with the subtle body and aspects of human consciousness.[5]

Political meaning

The Rajamandala (or Raja-mandala; circle of states) was formulated by the Indian author Kautilya in his work on politics, the Arthashastra (written between 4th century BCE and 2nd century BCE). It describes circles of friendly and enemy states surrounding the king's state.[6]

In historical, social and political sense, the term "mandala" is also employed to denote traditional Southeast Asian political formations (such as federation of kingdoms or vassalized states). It was adopted by 20th century Western historians from ancient Indian political discourse as a means of avoiding the term 'state' in the conventional sense. Not only did Southeast Asian polities not conform to Chinese and European views of a territorially defined state with fixed borders and a bureaucratic apparatus, but they diverged considerably in the opposite direction: the polity was defined by its centre rather than its boundaries, and it could be composed of numerous other tributary polities without undergoing administrative integration.[7] Empires such as Bagan, Ayutthaya, Champa, Khmer, Srivijaya and Majapahit are known as "mandala" in this sense.


Painted 17th century Tibetan 'Five Deity Mandala', in the center is Rakta Yamari (the Red Enemy of Death) embracing his consort Vajra Vetali, in the corners are the Red, Green White and Yellow Yamari
Painted 17th-century Tibetan 'Five Deity Mandala', in the centre is Rakta Yamari (the Red Enemy of Death) embracing his consort Vajra Vetali, in the corners are the Red, Green, White and Yellow Yamaris, Rubin Museum of Art
Buddha mandala
Sandpainting showing Buddha mandala, which is made as part of the death rituals among Buddhist Newars of Nepal


In Vajrayana Buddhism, mandalas have been developed also into sandpainting. They are also a key part of Anuttarayoga Tantra meditation practices.

Visualisation of Vajrayana teachings

The mandala can be shown to represent in visual form the core essence of the Vajrayana teachings. The mind is "a microcosm representing various divine powers at work in the universe."[8] The mandala represents the nature of the Pure Land, Enlightened mind.

An example of this type of mandala is Vajrabhairava mandala a silk tapestry woven with gilded paper depicting lavish elements like crowns and jewelry, which gives a three-dimensional effect to the piece.[9][10]

A mandala can also represent the entire universe, which is traditionally depicted with Mount Meru as the axis mundi in the center, surrounded by the continents.[11] One example is the Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru, a silk tapestry from the Yuan dynasty that serves as a diagram of the Tibetan cosmology, which was given to China from Nepal and Tibet.[12][13]

In the mandala, the outer circle of fire usually symbolises wisdom. The ring of eight charnel grounds[14] represents the Buddhist exhortation to be always mindful of death, and the impermanence with which samsara is suffused: "such locations were utilized in order to confront and to realize the transient nature of life".[15] Described elsewhere: "within a flaming rainbow nimbus and encircled by a black ring of dorjes, the major outer ring depicts the eight great charnel grounds, to emphasize the dangerous nature of human life".[16] Inside these rings lie the walls of the mandala palace itself, specifically a place populated by deities and Buddhas.

One well-known type of mandala is the mandala of the "Five Buddhas", archetypal Buddha forms embodying various aspects of enlightenment. Such Buddhas are depicted depending on the school of Buddhism, and even the specific purpose of the mandala. A common mandala of this type is that of the Five Wisdom Buddhas (a.k.a. Five Jinas), the Buddhas Vairocana, Aksobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi. When paired with another mandala depicting the Five Wisdom Kings, this forms the Mandala of the Two Realms.


Painted 19th century Tibetan mandala of the Naropa tradition, Vajrayogini stands in the center of two crossed red triangles, Rubin Museum of Art
Tantric mandala of Vajrayogini

Mandalas are commonly used by tantric Buddhists as an aid to meditation.

The mandala is "a support for the meditating person",[17] something to be repeatedly contemplated to the point of saturation, such that the image of the mandala becomes fully internalised in even the minutest detail and can then be summoned and contemplated at will as a clear and vivid visualized image. With every mandala comes what Tucci calls "its associated liturgy ... contained in texts known as tantras",[18] instructing practitioners on how the mandala should be drawn, built and visualised, and indicating the mantras to be recited during its ritual use.

By visualizing "pure lands", one learns to understand experience itself as pure, and as the abode of enlightenment. The protection that we need, in this view, is from our own minds, as much as from external sources of confusion. In many tantric mandalas, this aspect of separation and protection from the outer samsaric world is depicted by "the four outer circles: the purifying fire of wisdom, the vajra circle, the circle with the eight tombs, the lotus circle".[17] The ring of vajras forms a connected fence-like arrangement running around the perimeter of the outer mandala circle.[19]

As a meditation on impermanence (a central teaching of Buddhism), after days or weeks of creating the intricate pattern of a sand mandala, the sand is brushed together into a pile and spilled into a body of running water to spread the blessings of the mandala.

Kværne[20] in his extended discussion of sahaja, discusses the relationship of sadhana interiority and exteriority in relation to mandala thus:

...external ritual and internal sadhana form an indistinguishable whole, and this unity finds its most pregnant expression in the form of the mandala, the sacred enclosure consisting of concentric squares and circles drawn on the ground and representing that adamant plane of being on which the aspirant to Buddha hood wishes to establish himself. The unfolding of the tantric ritual depends on the mandala; and where a material mandala is not employed, the adept proceeds to construct one mentally in the course of his meditation."[21]


Chenrezig Sand Mandala
Chenrezig sand mandala created at the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on the occasion of the Dalai Lama's visit in May 2008

A "mandala offering"[22] in Tibetan Buddhism is a symbolic offering of the entire universe. Every intricate detail of these mandalas is fixed in the tradition and has specific symbolic meanings, often on more than one level.

Whereas the above mandala represents the pure surroundings of a Buddha, this mandala represents the universe. This type of mandala is used for the mandala-offerings, during which one symbolically offers the universe to the Buddhas or to one's teacher. Within Vajrayana practice, 1,000,000 of these mandala offerings (to create merit) can be part of the preliminary practices before a student even begins actual tantric practices.[23] This mandala is generally structured according to the model of the universe as taught in a Buddhist classic text the Abhidharma-kośa, with Mount Meru at the centre, surrounded by the continents, oceans and mountains, etc.

Shingon Buddhism

One Japanese branch of Mahayana Buddhism—Shingon Buddhism—makes frequent use of mandalas in its rituals as well, though the actual mandalas differ. When Shingon's founder, Kukai, returned from his training in China, he brought back two mandalas that became central to Shingon ritual: the Mandala of the Womb Realm and the Mandala of the Diamond Realm.

These two mandalas are engaged in the abhiseka initiation rituals for new Shingon students, more commonly known as the Kechien Kanjō (結縁灌頂). A common feature of this ritual is to blindfold the new initiate and to have them throw a flower upon either mandala. Where the flower lands assists in the determination of which tutelary deity the initiate should follow.

Sand mandalas, as found in Tibetan Buddhism, are not practiced in Shingon Buddhism.

Nichiren Buddhism

The mandala in Nichiren Buddhism is called a moji-mandala (文字曼陀羅) and is a paper hanging scroll or wooden tablet whose inscription consists of Chinese characters and medieval-Sanskrit script representing elements of the Buddha's enlightenment, protective Buddhist deities, and certain Buddhist concepts. Called the Gohonzon, it was originally inscribed by Nichiren, the founder of this branch of Japanese Buddhism, during the late 13th Century. The Gohonzon is the primary object of veneration in some Nichiren schools and the only one in others, which consider it to be the supreme object of worship as the embodiment of the supreme Dharma and Nichiren's inner enlightenment. The seven characters Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō, considered to be the name of the supreme Dharma, as well as the invocation that believers chant, are written down the center of all Nichiren-sect Gohonzons, whose appearance may otherwise vary depending on the particular school and other factors.

Pure Land Buddhism

Mandalas have sometimes been used in Pure Land Buddhism to graphically represent Pure Lands, based on descriptions found in the Larger Sutra and the Contemplation Sutra. The most famous mandala in Japan is the Taima mandala, dated to about 763 CE. The Taima mandala is based on the Contemplation Sutra, but other similar mandalas have been made subsequently. Unlike mandalas used in Vajrayana Buddhism, it is not used as an object of meditation or for esoteric ritual. Instead, it provides a visual representation of the Pure Land texts, and is used as a teaching aid.

Also in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, Shinran and his descendant, Rennyo, sought a way to create easily accessible objects of reverence for the lower-classes of Japanese society. Shinran designed a mandala using a hanging scroll, and the words of the nembutsu (南無阿彌陀佛) written vertically. This style of mandala is still used by some Jodo Shinshu Buddhists in home altars, or butsudan.

Mesoamerican civilizations

Mayan Tzolk'in

Mayan Compass 2
Mayan Tzolk'in wheel from 498 AD.

One of several parallels between Eastern and Mesoamerican cultures, the Mayan civilization tended to present calendars in a mandala form.[24] It is similar in form and function to the Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) sand paintings of Tibetan Buddhists.[25] The tzolk'in wheel has 260 segments, surprising because the Mayans recognized that the calendar year is 365 days long. The inclusion of the specific number 260 could however relate to the 26,000 year cycle of the precession of the equinoxes. If so, this would indicate a remarkable awareness of these great cycles of time by this culture. Ultimately, the symbol was probably used for ritual purposes, and to measure the interval of a number of 9-month intervals like pregnancy, the cultivation time of some crops, and rituals that were performed at a 260-day spacing each year, for example, spring and fall.

This Mayan symbology has even made its way into New Age symbolism as the Dreamspell calendar, developed by José Argüelles. Sometimes described as an authentic Mayan mandala, it is "inspired by" elements of the Tzolk'in wheel of time.

Aztec Sun Stone

Aztec calendar on Amate
The Aztec Sun Stone as an amate print.

The Sun Stone of the Aztec civilization was once believed to be their equivalent of a Tzolk'in calendar, but is now thought to be a ceremonial representation of the entire universe as seen by the Aztec religious class.

The earliest interpretations of the stone relate to its use as a calendar. In 1792, two years after the stone's unearthing, Mexican anthropologist Antonio de León y Gama wrote a treatise on the Aztec calendar using the stone as its basis.[26] Some of the circles of glyphs are the glyphs for the days of the month.[27] The four symbols included in the Ollin glyph represent the four past suns that the Mexica believed the earth had passed through.[28]

Another aspect of the stone is its religious significance. One theory is that the face at the center of the stone represents Tonatiuh, the Aztec deity of the sun. It is for this reason that the stone became known as the "Sun Stone." Richard Townsend proposed a different theory, claiming that the figure at the center of the stone represents Tlaltecuhtli, the Mexica earth deity who features in Mexica creation myths.[27] Modern archaeologists, such as those at the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, believe it is more likely to have been used primarily as a ceremonial basin or ritual altar for gladiatorial sacrifices than as an astrological or astronomical reference.[29]

Yet another characteristic of the stone is its possible geographic significance. The four points may relate to the four corners of the earth or the cardinal points. The inner circles may express space as well as time.[30]

Lastly, there is the political aspect of the stone. It may have been intended to show Tenochtitlan as the center of the world and therefore, as the center of authority.[31] Townsend argues for this idea, claiming that the small glyphs of additional dates amongst the four previous suns—1 Flint (Tecpatl), 1 Rain (Atl), and 7 Monkey (Ozomahtli)—represent matters of historical importance to the Mexica state. He posits, for example, that 7 Monkey represents the significant day for the cult of a community within Tenochtitlan. His claim is further supported by the presence of Mexica ruler Moctezuma II's name on the work. These elements ground the Stone's iconography in history rather than myth and the legitimacy of the state in the cosmos.[32]


The round window at the site of the Marsh Chapel Experiment supervised by Walter Pahnke

Forms which are evocative of mandalas are prevalent in Christianity: the celtic cross; the rosary; the halo; the aureole; oculi; the Crown of Thorns; rose windows; the Rosy Cross; and the dromenon on the floor of Chartres Cathedral. The dromenon represents a journey from the outer world to the inner sacred centre where the Divine is found.[33]

The Cosmati pavements, including that at Westminster Abbey, are geometric mandala-like mosaic designs from thirteenth century Italy. The Great Pavement at Westminster Abbey is believed to embody divine and cosmic geometries as the seat of enthronement of the monarchs of England.[34]

Similarly, many of the Illuminations of Hildegard von Bingen can be used as mandalas, as well as many of the images of esoteric Christianity, as in Christian Hermeticism, Christian Alchemy, and Rosicrucianism.

Alchemist, Mathematician and Astrologer John Dee developed a geometric symbol which he called the Sigillum Dei 'Seal of God' manifesting a universal geometric order which incorporated the names of the archangels, derived from earlier forms of the clavicula salomonis or key of Solomon.

Sloane3188-john dee
The Seal of God; a mystic heptagram symbol composed by Dee

The Layer Monument, an early 17th-century marble mural funerary monument at the Church of Saint John the Baptist, Maddermarket, Norwich, is a rare example of Christian iconography absorbing alchemical symbolism to create a mandala in Western funerary art.

Mandalas in Persian art

In Persian Islamic theosophy, each of us is a part of God. We have been separated from our source like the rays of the sun and, we need to always keep in our mind that we have a divine light in us, which is the source of love. This light always shows us the right path to grow and find our way back to our source.

Therefore, in Persian Shamseh motif which symbolizes the sun, there is a center which is the symbol of god or the source of energy. This small circle is surrounded by many other circles or polygons with the same center but in different sizes. These circles are the light rays of the sun which symbolize every god's creature. Every creature tends to reach God, so the purpose of life is to reach back the source of energy which is mentioned as pure love in some references. Some of us are closer to our origin, while some of us have a long journey to reach it. As in Shamseh, some circles are smaller, therefore, closer to the center.

Shamseh motif was wildly applied during Safavid time in Iran. Safavid was one of the most important ruling dynasties of Iran in art, architecture, astrology, philosophy, and theosophy. An extraordinary example of Shamseh motif would be the tiling of the ceiling of Sheik Lotfollah mosque in Isfahan. Persian "Shamseh" motif painted on a copper plate. The art of hand painting and enameling is called "Meenakari" in Farsi.

Western psychological interpretations

According to art therapist and mental health counselor Susanne F. Fincher, we owe the re-introduction of mandalas into modern Western thought to Carl Jung, the Swiss analytical psychologist. In his pioneering exploration of the unconscious through his own art making, Jung observed the motif of the circle spontaneously appearing. The circle drawings reflected his inner state at that moment. Familiarity with the philosophical writings of India prompted Jung to adopt the word "mandala" to describe these circle drawings he and his patients made. In his autobiography, Jung wrote:

I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, ... which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time. ... Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: ... the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious.

— Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp. 195–196.

Jung recognized that the urge to make mandalas emerges during moments of intense personal growth. Their appearance indicates a profound re-balancing process is underway in the psyche. The result of the process is a more complex and better integrated personality.

The mandala serves a conservative purpose—namely, to restore a previously existing order. But it also serves the creative purpose of giving expression and form to something that does not yet exist, something new and unique. ... The process is that of the ascending spiral, which grows upward while simultaneously returning again and again to the same point.

— Jungian analyst Marie-Louise von Franz, C. G. Jung: Man and His Symbols, p. 225

Creating mandalas helps stabilize, integrate, and re-order inner life.[35]

According to the psychologist David Fontana, its symbolic nature can help one "to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises."[36]

In archaeology

One of the most intense archaeological discoveries in recent years that could redefine the history of eastern thought and tradition of mandala is the discovery of five giant mandalas in the valley of Manipur made with Google Earth imagery. Located in the paddy field in the west of Imphal, the capital of Manipur, the Maklang geoglyph is perhaps the world's largest mandala built entirely of mud. The site wasn’t discovered until 2013 as its whole structure could only be visible via Google Earth satellite imagery. The whole paddy field, locally known as Bihu Loukon, is now protected and announced as historical monument and site by the government of Manipur in the same year. The site is situated 12 km aerial distance from Kangla with the GPS coordinates of 24° 48' N and 93° 49' E. It covers a total area of around 224,161.45 square meters. This square mandala has four similar protruding rectangular ‘gates’ in the cardinal directions guarded each by similar but smaller rectangular ‘gates’ on the left and right. Within the square there is an eight petalled flower or rayed-star, recently called as Maklang ‘Star fort’ by the locals, in the centre covering a total area of around 50,836.66 square meters. The discovery of other five giant mandalas in the valley of Manipur is also made with Google Earth. The five giant mandalas, viz., Sekmai mandala, Heikakmapal mandala, Phurju twin mandalas and Sangolmang mandala are located on the western bank of the Iril River.[37]

In architecture

Borobudur Mandala
Borobudur ground plan taking the form of a Mandala

Buddhist architecture often applied mandala as the blueprint or plan to design Buddhist structures, including temple complex and stupas. A notable example of mandala in architecture is the 9th century Borobudur in Central Java, Indonesia. It is built as a large stupa surrounded by smaller ones arranged on terraces formed as a stepped pyramid, and when viewed from above, takes the form of a giant tantric Buddhist mandala, simultaneously representing the Buddhist cosmology and the nature of mind.[38] Other temples from the same period that also have mandala plans include Sewu, Plaosan and Prambanan. The similar mandala plan design are also observable in Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

In science

Hexapoda phylogenetic tree
Phylogenetic tree of Hexapoda (insects and their six-legged relatives). Such trees have been called phylogenetic mandalas.[39]

Circular diagrams are often used in phylogenetics, especially for the graphical representation of phylogenetic relationships. Evolutionary trees often encompass numerous species that are conveniently shown on a circular tree, with images of the species shown on the periphery of a tree. Such diagrams have been called phylogenetic mandalas.[39]

In contemporary use

Mandalas can be found in early Buddhist art from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Fashion designer Mandali Mendrilla designed an interactive art installation called Mandala of Desires (Blue Lotus Wish Tree) made in peace silk and eco friendly textile ink, displayed at the China Art Museum in Shanghai in November 2015. The pattern of the dress was based on the Goloka Yantra mandala, shaped as a lotus with eight petals. Visitors were invited to place a wish on the sculpture dress, which will be taken to India and offered to a genuine living Wish Tree.[40][41]


元 緙絲 須彌山曼陀羅-Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru MET DP276037

Cosmological mandala with Mount Meru, silk tapestry, China via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

元 緙絲大威德金剛曼陀羅-Vajrabhairava Mandala MET DT841

Vajrabhairava mandala, silk tapestry, China via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sri Yantra 256bw

A diagramic drawing of the Sri Yantra, showing the outside square, with four T-shaped gates, and the central circle

Vishnu Mandala

Vishnu Mandala(Traditionally found in Nepal)

Painted 19th century Tibetan mandala of the Naropa tradition, Vajrayogini stands in the center of two crossed red triangles, Rubin Museum of Art

Painted 19th century Tibetan mandala of the Naropa tradition, Vajrayogini stands in the center of two crossed red triangles, Rubin Museum of Art

Medicine Buddha painted mandala with goddess Prajnaparamita in center, 19th century, Rubin

Painted Bhutanese Medicine Buddha mandala with the goddess Prajnaparamita in center, 19th century, Rubin Museum of Art

Mandala of the Six Chakravartins

Mandala of the Six Chakravartins

Vajravarahi Mandala

Vajravarahi mandala


Kalachakra mandala

Sankhitta Sangheyani Cosmography

Jain cosmological diagrams and text.

Mandala Golden Flower Jung

Mandala painted by a patient of Carl Jung

Mahavra 1900 art

Jain picture of Mahavira

Kalachakra mandala in a special glass pavilion

Kalachakra mandala in a special glass pavilion. Buddhist pilgrims bypass the pavilion in a clockwise direction three times.Buryatiya, July 16, 2019

See also


  1. ^ "mandala". Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
  2. ^ Kheper,The Buddhist Mandala – Sacred Geometry and Art
  3. ^ (adapted). "Module 4: The Artistic Principles" (PDF). Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  4. ^ Khanna Madhu, Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity. Thames and Hudson, 1979, p. 12.
  5. ^ Khanna, Madhu, Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity. Thames and Hudson, 1979, pp. 12-22
  6. ^ Singh, Prof. Mahendra Prasad (2011). Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers. Pearson Education India. ISBN 8131758516. pp. 11-13.
  7. ^ Dellios, Rosita (2003-01-01). "Mandala: from sacred origins to sovereign affairs in traditional Southeast Asia". Bond University Australia. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
  8. ^ John Ankerberg, John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs: The New Age Movement, p. 343
  9. ^ "Vajrabhairava Mandala". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  10. ^ Watt, James C.Y. (1997). When Silk was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 95.
  11. ^ Mipham (2000) pp. 65,80
  12. ^ "Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  13. ^ Watt, James C.Y. (2010). The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty. New York: Yale University Press. p. 247. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  14. ^ "A Monograph on a Vajrayogini Thanka Painting". 13 August 2003. Archived from the original on 13 August 2003.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  15. ^ Camphausen, Rufus C. "Charnel- and Cremation Grounds". Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2006-11-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ a b "Mandala". Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  18. ^ "The Mandala in Tibet". Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Mandala". Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  20. ^ Per Kvaerne 1975: p. 164
  21. ^ Kvaerne, Per (1975). "On the Concept of Sahaja in Indian Buddhist Tantric Literature. (NB: article first published in Temenos XI (1975): pp.88-135). Cited in: Williams, Jane (2005). Buddhism: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies, Volume 6. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-33226-5, ISBN 978-0-415-33226-2". Retrieved April 16, 2010.
  22. ^ "What Is a Mandala?".
  23. ^ "Preliminary practice (ngöndro) overview". Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  24. ^ Frontiers of Anthropology — The Mayan Mandala
  25. ^ Mandalas of the Maya: Celestial Waters and the Auroral Plumes of Tláloc
  26. ^ Antonio de León y Gama: Descripción histórica y cronológica de las dos piedras León y Gama
  27. ^ a b K. Mills, W. B. Taylor & S. L. Graham (eds), Colonial Latin America: A Documentary History, 'The Aztec Stone of the Five Eras', p. 23
  28. ^ Townsend, Casey (1979). State and Cosmos in the Art of Tenochtitlan. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks.
  29. ^ Getty Museum, "Aztec Calendar Stone", accessed 22 August 2018
  30. ^ K. Mills, W. B. Taylor & S. L. Graham (eds), Colonial Latin America: A Documentary History, 'The Aztec Stone of the Five Eras', pp. 23, 25
  31. ^ K. Mills, W. B. Taylor & S. L. Graham (eds), Colonial Latin America: A Documentary History, 'The Aztec Stone of the Five Eras', pp. 25-6
  32. ^ Townsend, Richard Fraser (1997-01-01). State and cosmos in the art of Tenochtitlan. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. ISBN 9780884020837. OCLC 912811300.
  33. ^ See David Fontana: "Meditating with Mandalas", p. 11, 54, 118
  34. ^ "Cosmati Pavement - Video Library".
  35. ^ see Susanne F. Fincher: Creating Mandalas: For Insight, Healing, and Self-Expression, pp. 1 - 18
  36. ^ See David Fontana: Meditating with Mandalas, p. 10
  37. ^ Wangam, Somorjit (2018). World's Largest Mandalas from Manipur and Carl Jung's Archetype of the Self, p. 25-33. NeScholar, ed. Dr. R.K.Nimai Singh ,Imphal. ISSN 2350-0336.
  38. ^ A. Wayman (1981). "Reflections on the Theory of Barabudur as a Mandala". Barabudur History and Significance of a Buddhist Monument. Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press.
  39. ^ a b Hasegawa, Masami (2017). "Phylogeny mandalas for illustrating the Tree of Life". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 117: 168–178. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.11.001. PMID 27816710.
  40. ^ "China Art Museum in Shanghai - Forms of Devotion". Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  41. ^ "Haljinu "Mandala of Desires" dnevno posjećuje čak 30 000 ljudi!".


  • Brauen, M. (1997). The Mandala, Sacred circle in Tibetan Buddhism Serindia Press, London.
  • Bucknell, Roderick & Stuart-Fox, Martin (1986). The Twilight Language: Explorations in Buddhist Meditation and Symbolism. Curzon Press: London. ISBN 0-312-82540-4
  • Cammann, S. (1950). Suggested Origin of the Tibetan Mandala Paintings The Art Quarterly, Vol. 8, Detroit.
  • Cowen, Painton (2005). The Rose Window, London and New York, (offers the most complete overview of the evolution and meaning of the form, accompanied by hundreds of colour illustrations.)
  • Crossman, Sylvie and Barou, Jean-Pierre (1995). Tibetan Mandala, Art & Practice The Wheel of Time, Konecky and Konecky.
  • Fontana, David (2005). "Meditating with Mandalas", Duncan Baird Publishers, London.
  • Gold, Peter (1994). Navajo & Tibetan sacred wisdom: the circle of the spirit. ISBN 0-89281-411-X. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International.
  • Mipham, Sakyong Jamgön (2002) 2000 Seminary Transcripts Book 1 Vajradhatu Publications ISBN 1-55055-002-0
  • Somorjit, Wangam (2018). "World's Largest Mandalas from Manipur and Carl Jung's Archetype of the Self", neScholar, vol.04, Issue 01, ed.Dr. R.K. Nimai Singh ISSN 2350-0336
  • Tucci, Giuseppe (1973). The Theory and Practice of the Mandala trans. Alan Houghton Brodrick, New York, Samuel Weisner.
  • Vitali, Roberto (1990). Early Temples of Central Tibet London, Serindia Publications.
  • Wayman, Alex (1973). "Symbolism of the Mandala Palace" in The Buddhist Tantras Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass.

Further reading

  • Grotenhuis, Elizabeth Ten (1999). Japanese mandalas: representations of sacred geography, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press

External links

All India States Peoples' Conference

The All India States Peoples' Conference (AISPC) was a conglomeration of political movements in the princely states of the British Raj, which were variously called Praja Mandals or Lok Parishads. The first session of the organisation was held in Bombay in December 1927. The Conference looked to the Indian National Congress for support, but Congress was reluctant to provide it until 1939, when Jawaharlal Nehru became its president, serving in this position till 1946. After the Indian Independence, however, the Congress distanced itself from the movement, allying itself with the princely rulers via its national government's accession relationships.The States Peoples' Conference dissolved itself on 25 April 1948 and all its constituent units merged into the Congress, with one exception, viz., the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference. This body, under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah remained independent, while one section of it merged with the Congress in 1965.


Atri (Sanskrit: अत्रि) or Attri is a Vedic sage, who is credited with composing a large number of hymns to Agni, Indra and other Vedic deities of Hinduism. Atri is one of the Saptarishi (seven great Vedic sages) in the Hindu tradition, and the one most mentioned in its scripture Rigveda.The fifth Mandala (Book 5) of Rigveda is called the Atri Mandala in his honour, and the eighty seven hymns in it are attributed to him and his descendants.Atri is also mentioned in the Puranas and the Hindu Epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.


Avatsara was a Rishi of the Rig Veda. His name first appears in the Fifth Mandala which is older than the Second Mandala.


Gohonzon is a generic term for a venerated religious object in Japanese Buddhism. It may take the form of a scroll or statuary. In Nichiren Buddhism, it refers to the hanging calligraphic paper mandala inscribed by Nichiren to which devotional chanting is directed.Linguistically, the root "honzon" signifies a main object of devotion or worship and "go" is an honorific prefix. Nichiren groups translate "Gohonzon" different ways: "object of devotion" (Soka Gakkai), "object of worship" (Nichiren Shōshū), or "Supreme Venerable" (Nichiren-shū). It has also been translated as "the Great Mandala".Paper scroll Gohonzon are sometimes known as Kakejiku Gohonzon or moji-mandara (文字曼荼羅 "script mandala" or "mandala written with characters"). Butsuzo Gohonzon are statuary. The Gohonzon is often enshrined within a butsudan.

Mandala, California

Mandala is a former settlement in Humboldt County, California. It was located 13.5 miles (21.7 km) east of Kneeland.A post office operated at Mandala from 1884 to 1888, with a closure in 1887. Mandala is named for Mandala Kneeland, sister of the Kneeland brothers after whom Kneeland is named.

Mandala-brahmana Upanishad

The Mandala-brahmana Upanishad (Sanskrit: मण्डलब्राह्मण उपनिषत्)), also known as Mandalabrahmanopanisad, is one of the minor Upanishads of Hinduism and a Sanskrit text. It is attached to the Shukla Yajurveda and is classified as one of the 20 Yoga Upanishads.The text describes Yoga as a means to self-knowledge, the highest wisdom. Its text is structured as a teaching from Narayana (Purusha in Sun, Vishnu) to sage Yajnavalkya. The text is notable for teaching eight step Yoga but with somewhat different conceptual framework than most other texts. The teachings of the text combine different types of Yoga with non-dual Vedanta philosophy.

Mandala (TV series)

Mandala is a Brazilian telenovela produced and broadcast by Rede Globo. It premiered on 12 October 1987 and ended on 14 May 1988, with a total of 185 episodes. It's the thirty eighth "novela das oito" to be aired on the timeslot. It is created by Dias Gomes and directed by Ricardo Waddington.

Mandala (political model)

Maṇḍala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". The mandala is a model for describing the patterns of diffuse political power distributed among Mueang or Kedatuan (principalities) in early Southeast Asian history, when local power was more important than the central leadership. The concept of a mandala counteracts modern tendencies to look for unified political power, i.e., the power of large kingdoms and nation states of later history — an inadvertent byproduct of 15th-century advances in map-making technologies. In the words of O. W. Wolters who further explored the idea in 1982:

The map of earlier Southeast Asia which evolved from the prehistoric networks of small settlements and reveals itself in historical records was a patchwork of often overlapping mandalas.

It is employed to denote traditional Southeast Asian political formations, such as federation of kingdoms or vassalized polity under a center of domination. It was adopted by 20th century European historians from ancient Indian political discourse as a means of avoiding the term "state" in the conventional sense. Not only did Southeast Asian polities not conform to classical Chinese and European views of a territorially defined state with fixed borders and a bureaucratic apparatus, but they diverged considerably in the opposite direction: the polity was defined by its centre rather than its boundaries, and it could be composed of numerous other tributary polities without undergoing administrative integration.In some ways similar to the feudal system of Europe, states were linked in suzerain–tributary relationships.

Mandala 1

The first Mandala ("book") of the Rigveda has 191 hymns. Together with Mandala 10, it forms the latest part of the Rigveda, its composition likely dating to the Early Iron Age.

Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni, arranged so that the name of this god is the first word of the Rigveda. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and Indra. Hymns 1.154 to 1.156 are addressed to (the later Hindu god) Vishnu.

índram mitráṃ váruṇam agním āhur / átho divyáḥ sá suparṇó garútmān

ékaṃ sád víprā bahudhâ vadanty / agníṃ yamám mātaríśvānam āhuḥ

"They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni / and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutman."

"To what is One, sages give many a title / they call it Agni, Yama, Matarisvan." (trans. Griffith)

– Rigveda 1.164.46Hymns such as the above in Mandala 1 led scholars such as Max Muller to describe the theology of Vedic religion as a form of henotheism. Muller noted that the hymns of the Rigveda, the oldest scripture of Hinduism, mentions many deities, but praises them successively as the "one ultimate, supreme God", alternatively as "one supreme Goddess", thereby asserting that the essence of the deities was unitary (ekam), and the deities were nothing but pluralistic manifestations of the same concept of the divine (God).The Vedic era conceptualization of the divine or the One, states Jeaneane Fowler, is more abstract than a monotheistic God, it the Reality behind and of the phenomenal universe, which it treats as "limitless, indescribable, absolute principle", thus the Vedic divine is something of a panentheism. In late Vedic era, with the start of Upanishadic age (~800-600 BCE), from the henotheistic, panentheistic concepts emerge the concepts which scholars variously call nondualism or monism, as well as forms of non-theism.

Mandala 10

The tenth mandala of the Rigveda has 191 hymns. Together with Mandala 1, it forms the latest part of the Rigveda, containing much mythological material, including the Purusha sukta (10.90) and the dialogue of Sarama with the Panis (10.108), and notably containing several dialogue hymns. The subjects of the hymns cover a wider spectrum than in the other books, dedicated not only to deities or natural phenomena, including deities that are not prominent enough to receive their own hymns in the other books (Nirrti 10.59, Asamati 10.60, Ratri 10.127, Aranyani 10.146, Indrani 10.159), but also to objects like dice (10.34), herbs (10.97), press-stones (for Soma, 10.94, 175) and abstract concepts like liberality (towards the rishi, 10.117), creation (10.129 (the Nasadiya Sukta), 130, 190), knowledge (10.71), speech, spirit (10.58), faith (10.151), a charm against evil dreams (10.164).

10.15, dedicated to the forefathers, contains a reference to the emerging rite of cremation in verse 14, where ancestors "both cremated (agnidagdhá-) and uncremated (ánagnidagdha-)" are invoked.

10.47 to 50 are to Indra Vaikuntha, "Indra son of Vikuntha". Vikuntha was an Asuri whom Indra had allowed to become his second mother. The rishi of 10.47 is called Saptagu, while that of 10.48-50 is likewise called Indra Vaikuntha.

10.85 is a marriage hymn, evoking the marriage of Suryā, daughter of Surya (the Sun), another form of Ushas, the prototypical bride.

RV 10.121 (the Hiranyagarbha sukta) is another hymn dealing with creation, containing elements of monotheism. It has a recurring pada "what God shall we adore with our oblation?", in verse 1 named Hiranyagarbha "the golden egg", later a name of Brahma, in verse 10 addressed as Prajapati.

10.129 (the Nasadiya sukta) and 130 are creation hymns, probably the best known Rigvedic hymns in the west, especially 10.129.7:

He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it, / Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not. (Griffith)These hymns exhibit a level of philosophical speculation very atypical of the Rigveda, which for the most part is occupied with ritualistic invocation.

10.145 is attributed to Indrani. It is a spell for a jealous wife to get rid of more favoured rival. Atypical of the Rigveda, similar spells are found in the Atharvaveda.

10.154 is a funeral hymn, asking for that the departed may join those who attained heaven through tapas. Padas 1 cd is reminiscent of the Norse concept of Valhalla:

To those for whom the meath flows forth, even to those let him depart. (Griffith)10.155 is against the "one-eyed limping hag" Arayi.

10.166, attributed to Anila, is a spell for the destruction of rivals, similar to 10.145, but this time to be uttered by men who want to be rid of male rivals.

10.173 and 174 are benedictions of a newly elected king.

The rishis of the 10th Mandala are divided into Shudrasuktas and Mahasuktas, that is, sages who have composed "small" vs. "great" hymns.

Mandala Airlines Flight 91

Mandala Airlines Flight 91 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight that originated from Polonia International Airport in Medan, Indonesia to Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. On 5 September 2005 at 10:15 WIB (UTC+7), the flight crashed into a heavily populated residential area, seconds after taking off in Medan. There were 149 fatalities.

Dozens of houses and cars were destroyed, and 49 people perished on the ground. 17 passengers survived the accident, with 100 of those on board known to have died. Most of the survivors are thought to have been seated at the rear of the aircraft, though some of these have reportedly since died from their injuries. Most of the dead were Indonesian, although at least one Malaysian, Ti Teow Chuan from Sabah, was reported dead. Rizal Nurdin, the sitting Governor of North Sumatra, and Raja Inal Siregar, his immediate predecessor, were among the dead.

Flight 91 is currently the fourth-deadliest aviation accident involving commercial airline in Indonesia, after Garuda Indonesia Flight 152, Lion Air Flight 610, and Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501. It is also the second deadliest air disaster in North Sumatra province, and the deadliest air disaster involving the Boeing 737-200 series.

Nepal Mandala

Nepal Mandala (Devanagari: नेपाल मण्डल) is an ancient confederation on the Indian subcontinent, marked by cultural, religious and political boundaries which lies in present-day central Nepal. It consists of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding areas. The rule of the indigenous Newars in Nepal Mandala ended with its conquest by the Gorkha Kingdom and the rise of the Shah dynasty in 1768.According to the Outline History of Nepal, Nepal consisted of three kingdoms during the early medieval period: Khas in the west, Karnatak in the south and Nepal Mandala in the center and Kirat in the east.Bhaktapur was the capital of Nepal Mandala until the 15th century when three capitals, including Kathmandu and Lalitpur, were established.


Udagamandalam (also known as Ootacamund (listen )), and abbreviated as Udhagai and popularly known as Ooty, (listen is a town and a municipality in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is located 86 km north of Coimbatore and 128 km south of Mysore and is the headquarters of the Nilgiris district. It is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills.

Originally occupied by the Toda people, the area came under the rule of the East India Company at the end of the 18th century. The economy is based on tourism and agriculture, along with the manufacture of medicines and photographic film. The town is connected by the Nilgiri ghat roads and Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Its natural environment attracts tourists and it is a popular summer destination. In 2011, the town had a population of 88,430.


The Rajamandala (or Raja-mandala meaning "circle of kings"; मण्डल, mandala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle") was formulated by the Indian author Kautilya in his work on politics, the Arthashastra (written between 4th century BC and 2nd century AD). It describes circles of friendly and enemy states surrounding the king's (raja) state.


The Rigveda (Sanskrit: ऋग्वेद ṛgveda, from ṛc "praise" and veda "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns along with associated commentaries on liturgy, ritual and mystical exegesis. It is one of the four sacred canonical texts (śruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas.The core text, known as the Rigveda Samhita, is a collection of 1,028 hymns (sūktas) in about 10,600 verses (called ṛc, eponymous of the name Rigveda), organized into ten books (maṇḍalas).

In the eight books that were composed the earliest, the hymns are mostly praise of specific deities. The younger books (books 1 and 10) in part also deal with philosophical or speculative questions, with the virtue of dāna (charity) in society and with other metaphysical issues in their hymns.The oldest layers of the Rigveda Samhita are among the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language, perhaps of similar age as certain Hittite texts. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the bulk of the Rigveda Samhita was composed in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between c. 1500 and 1200 BC, although a wider approximation of c. 1700–1100 BC has also been given. The initial codification of the Rigveda took place during the early Kuru kingdom (c. 1200–900 BC).Some of its verses continue to be recited during Hindu rites of passage celebrations (such as weddings) and prayers, making it probably the world's oldest religious text in continued use.The associated material has been preserved from two shakhas or "schools", known as Śākalya

and Bāṣkala. The school-specific commentaries are known as Brahmanas (Aitareya-brahmana and Kaushitaki-brahmana) Aranyakas (Aitareya-aranyaka and Kaushitaki-aranyaka),

and Upanishads (partly excerpted from the Aranyakas: Bahvrca-brahmana-upanishad, Aitareya-upanishad, Samhita-upanishad, Kaushitaki-upanishad).

Sand mandala

Sand Mandala (Tibetan: དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།, Wylie: dkyil 'khor; Chinese: 沙坛城; pinyin: Shā Tánchéng) is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from coloured sand. A sand mandala is ritualistically dismantled once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.

The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes

The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes (published in the United States as Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years) is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche novel by Jamyang Norbu, originally published in India in 1999.

The novel is an account of Holmes' adventures in India and Tibet where, posing as Norwegian explorer Sigerson, he meets the Dalai Lama and Huree Chunder Mookerjee, a character from Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim.

Tigerair Mandala

Tigerair Mandala (formerly Mandala Airlines) was a low-cost airline headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia and an associate company of the Singapore-based Tigerair Group. The former full service airline repositioned itself as a budget airline/low-cost carrier (LCC) following a year-long grounding in 2011 caused by debt woes. Mandala resumed operations in April 2012 following an injection of fresh capital by Indonesian conglomerate Saratoga Investment Corp which took over 51% of the airline, with partner Tigerair taking up 33.3% and the rest by creditors.

Formally operating together with other associates in the Tigerair Group, Tigerair Mandala shared Tigerair's sales, distribution and marketing channels to tap into Tigerair's wider network across Southeast Asia, Australia, China and India. Tigerair Mandala's fleet of new Airbus A320 aircraft (brand new aircraft originally ordered for Tigerair Singapore) flew primarily within the more populous regions of Java and Sumatra, providing domestic and regional international connections of no more than five hours.

All former Tigerair Mandala's aircraft are being maintained under Singapore Airlines Engineering Company (SIAEC). As one of Indonesian airlines which is not listed under EU ban, Tigerair Mandala applied one of the highest safety standard and maintenance. It planned to increase its fleet to 15 aircraft by end 2013 and to 25 by 2015.Tigerair Mandala ceased all operations on 1 July 2014, following the decision of the main shareholders to cease funding the airline.On August 21, 2014, IndiGo announced that 12 of the Tigerair Holding A320 will be sold. It may be from Tigerair Mandala.In December 2014, PT Mandala Airlines has filed for bankruptcy at the Central Jakarta Commercial Court.

Vastu shastra

Vastu shastra (vāstu śāstra) is a traditional Hindu system of architecture which literally translates to "science of architecture." These are texts found on the Indian subcontinent that describe principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement, and spatial geometry. Vastu Shastras incorporate traditional Hindu and in some cases Buddhist beliefs. The designs are intended to integrate architecture with nature, the relative functions of various parts of the structure, and ancient beliefs utilizing geometric patterns (yantra), symmetry, and directional alignments.Vastu Shastra are the textual part of Vastu Vidya, the latter being the broader knowledge about architecture and design theories from ancient India. Vastu Vidya knowledge is a collection of ideas and concepts, with or without the support of layout diagrams, that are not rigid. Rather, these ideas and concepts are models for the organization of space and form within a building or collection of buildings, based on their functions in relation to each other, their usage and to the overall fabric of the Vastu. Ancient Vastu Shastra principles include those for the design of Mandir (Hindu temples), and the principles for the design and layout of houses, towns, cities, gardens, roads, water works, shops and other public areas.

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