Buddhist mandalas are sacred representations of the universe, and are used in meditation, rituals and architecture. They are primarily associated with Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, but other Buddhist branches also use them.
Mandalas make extensive use of sacred geometry and symbolism. Sacred geometry is present in the art and architecture of many religions, including in the floor, wall and window patterns of some Catholic cathedrals, Islamic mosques, and Jewish synagogues. Visual mandalas are also used in yogic branches of Hinduism as meditative aids. The philosophy behind sacred geometry is that the symmetry, balance, and relationships of basic geometric shapes mirror the cosmology of the universe.
In the case of Tibetan Buddhism, each mandala represents a sacred space, and a pure expression of a particular Buddha’s enlightenment, including the states of awareness most closely associated with that Buddha, such as compassion, bliss, or wisdom. Meditating on a mandala provides a way for a practitioner to ‘enter’ that sacred space, and experience those enlightened states of awareness, on the path to his or her own enlightenment. Within samsara, or delusional existence, mandalas serve as a doorway for practitioners into these realms of enlightenment.
Hand painted on what appears to be silk in a modern frame.
The detail on this piece is truly stunning.
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