The word mandala is a Sanskrit (मण्डल) term that means circle. A circle also denotes balance, perfection and eternity as the distance from its centre to all points remains the same – from wherever it is measured. Therefore the circular design of mandalas symbolises the beautiful notion that life is never ending. However, the meaning of mandala is not restricted to a simple shape but represents a more complex meaning… A mandala represents wholeness, a detailed cosmic diagram reminding us of our relation to infinity, extending beyond and within our minds and bodies. Mandalas are spiritual and ritual symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism, essentially representing the universe.
We adore mandalas, as they are true colourful objects of devotion, design and diversity. Madalas can be created on textiles, paper, wood, stone, on a wall or on the ground using various art media. In some traditions, they can be reproduced in ephemeral material such as coloured sand or even butter. A sand mandala is ritualistically dismantled once it has been completed, and its accompanying ceremonies come to an end quickly, to symbolise the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.
The methods used in creating mandalas are very precise and merged with different rituals including silence or sacred chanting. Mandalas may be based on or include a variety of geometric shapes using patterns that have evolved from different symbols. All are created from the middle out and take on their own shapes, colours and patterns depending on the message or healing that is being evoked.
Mandalas can also be traced back through many ancient cultures including the Native Americans and Australian Aborigines with their elaborate ground/sand art.