Tuesday, April 28, 2009

World View of Mandalas

What is a Mandala?

The word "Mandala" is from Sanskrit, a classical Indian language developed over 2,300years ago. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model of the organizational structure of life itself-a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community. Tibetan Buddhist believe that the mandala is "a matrix or model of a perfected universe," says noted Buddhist scholar, Professor Robert A.F. Thurman. "Every being is a mandala.... We are our environment as much as we are the entity in the environment."

The integrated view of the world represented by the mandala, while long embraced by some Eastern religions, has now begun to emerge in Western religious and secular cultures. Awareness of the mandala may have the potential of changing how we see ourselves, our planet, and perhaps even our own life purpose.

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