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Tibetan Mandala Sand Painting

The Tibetan mandala is a tool for gaining wisdom and compassion and generally is depicted as a tightly balanced, geometric composition wherein deities reside. The principal deity is housed in the center. The mandala serves as a tool for guiding individuals along the path to enlightenment. Monks meditate upon the mandala, imagining it as a three-dimensional palace. The deities who reside in the palace embody philosophical views and serve as role models. The mandala's purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones.

Mandalas constructed from sand are unique to Tibetan Buddhism and are believed to effect purification and healing. Typically, a great teacher chooses the specific mandala to be created. Monks then begin construction of the sand mandala by consecrating the site with sacred chants and music. Next, they make a detailed drawing from memory. Over a number of days, they fill in the design with millions of grains of colored sand. At its completion, the mandala is consecrated. The monks then enact the impermanent nature of existence by sweeping up the colored grains and dispersing them in flowing water.

~ Tibetan Healing Mendala website

The symbolism of meditation Mandalas has a rich tradition. The outer form of these so-called holy circles is a geometrical diagram, a Yantra, and each detail of its construction has symbolic meaning. The essence or purpose of the Mandala is concerned with the process of invocation, the calling in and realization of the spiritual force within the contemplator himself. All these different picture-tools have essentially the same inner meaning and purpose, but there are mandalas to suit all levels of consciousness: for the spiritually highly developed, for average people and for people not yet developed.

~ Buddhist Art and Architecture

 

"Great Art moves us. Sand mandalas urge us to notice impermanence in our own daily lives and to live every moment with virtue."

Photo by UCI UC Irvine (California)

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Photo in Atlanta, Georgia, by Connor Eòin

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Photo by UCI UC Irvine (California)

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Photo by Matt

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Photo at the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, by Henry Huey

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Photo by Henry Huey

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Photo of Dalai Lama at Barefoot College, India, by Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia

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Photo by Henry Huey

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Photo by Vernon Hyde

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Photo at Steynberg Gallery, San Luis Obispo, California, by Margie Savage

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Photo in Nepal by Wonderlane

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Photo in Oswego, Illinois, by Ralph Childs

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Photo by Ralph Childs

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Photo by Ralph Childs

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Photo by Ralph Childs

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Photo in Atlanta, Georgia, by John L. Crow

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Photo of Dalai Lama in Washington D.C. pavilion by Wonderlane

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Photo of Tibetan Peace Garden, London by Mariana Aurelio

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Photo of Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet (The Dalai Lamas lived here), by Michael Goodine

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Photo by elwillybobby

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Photo of prayer flags by Nao Iizuka

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Photo monk blowing conch shell for the morning call to prayer, Tiksey, Ladakh, India, by Braden Gunem

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Photo of prayer horns by Steve Hicks

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Photo of Maitreya Buddha near Diskit Monastery by pushkar v

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Photo of prayer horns by So_P

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Photo of Thanka (a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, or silk appliqué) in the Tashilumpo monastery by Steve Hicks

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Photo of Drepung Monastery by KL.Lau

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Photo of Ganden Monastery by Feng Zhong

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Photo of the road of pilgrimage by Xianyi Shen

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Photo of prayer wheels by Theo Wright

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Photo by sandeepachetan.com travel photography

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Photo of carved petroglyphs on Lamayuru meditation hill by sandeepachetan.com travel photography

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Photo of Mani wall - Diskit Monastery by Diana

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Photo of prayer wheels behind Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse, Tibet, by Dennis Jarvis

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"The basic structure of a Chorten consist of a square foundation symbolizing the earth, a dome symbolizing water, and thirteen tapering steps of enlightenment symbolizing the element of fire. These steps lead to a stylized parasol, the symbol of wind, which is topped in the ethereal sphere by the well-known ‘twin-symbol’ uniting sun and moon, which is the shimmering crown of the Chorten."

~ Buddhist Art and Architecture

Photo of chorten (in Hindu, a stupa) over Nam Tso lake by McKay Savage

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Photo of mandala made in honor of Dalai Lama's 80th birthday, by UCI UC Irvine

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