One of the richest visual objects in Tibetan Buddhism is the mandala.
A mandala is a symbolic picture of the universe. It can be a painting on a wall or scroll, created in coloured sands on a table, or a visualisation in the mind of a very skilled adept.
The mandala represents an imaginary palace that is contemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, representing an aspect of wisdom or reminding the meditator of a guiding principle. The mandala's purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones and to assist with healing.
The Tibetan mandala (like the example in this article, which was created in Manchester by monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery near Lhasa in Tibet) contains deities, with the principal deity in the centre of the pattern. The deities who reside in the palace embody philosophical views and serve as role models.
According to Buddhist scripture, mandalas constructed from sand transmit positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them. They are believed to effect purification and healing. Mandala sand painting was introduced by the Buddha himself and there are many different designs of mandala, each with different lessons to teach.
The mandala sand painting process begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. The monks chant and dance in resplendent dress.
The design of the mandala is marked with chalk on a wooden platform. This meticulous process takes an entire day.
Starting from the centre and concentrically working outwards, the monks use metal funnels called chak-pur to place millions of grains of dyed sand to make the elaborate patterns. The vibrations of the chak-pur being grated with a metal rod cause the sands to flow like liquid.
The sand used at Manchester Town Hall was actually ground marble from Southern India. Other popular substances are powdered flowers and herbs or grains. In ancient times powdered precious and semiprecious gems were also used.
The mandala in Manchester took six days to construct.
Cotton Canvas, Colors (extracts from minerals & stones), Genuine 24K Gold (No Gold Substitute).
Dimensions (W x H)
26.00 x 26.00 (in)
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