Healing Mandala comes from Sanskrit work that originally means ‘circle’ or ‘discoid object’. It is a geometric shape which has deep symbolism ingrained in it. It holds great importance in cultures of Hinduism and Buddhism. It is a symbol used for meditation and prayer in Tibet, China and Japan. In this article we will discuss Healing Mandala
In Asian culture, Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol. It can be interpreted in two ways; internally and externally. Externally it is a visual representation of the outer world and internally it acts as a symbol which guides many religious practices that are performed in Asian cultures. There is a belief in Hinduism and Buddhism that if you enter the Mandala and move towards its center you will start your journey of transforming your world of suffering to the world of joy and happiness.
In the basic form, Mandala is a circle which is contained within a square. Different sections are arranged symmetrically around one central point. This shape is drawn on paper or piece of cloth, on the surface with help of thread and is ingrained in bronze stone. Other than having symbolic meaning and spiritual and ritual purposes, it is also considered as a work of art.
History of Mandala:
The founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama was born in a land that is now known as Nepal. Historians believe that he was born around 560 B.C. After becoming aware of the suffering of the people, he left his kingdom and went in isolation to achieve enlightenment and attain Nirvana through Meditation. He started preaching his teaching in different parts of India and got a huge amount of devotees. He established the first Singha there that is a community of monks.
These monks started travelling through the Silk Road, which connects east and west, and preached Buddhism to other parts of the world. These monks carried Mandala with them as a symbol of Buddhism. Though emerging from Buddhism it became part of Hinduism and other religions too. As spiritual painters were common man and were commissioned by patrons. It also reached China, Japan and Tibet around the 4th century.
Symbolism in Mandala:
Within its basic structure described above, it has many geometrical shapes assembled around the center having different meanings. Traditionally, Buddha’s mind was represented in the Mandala in the form of a tree, flower, and jewel or in an abstract form. There is a dot in the center of Mandala, which is considered to be a dimensionless symbol, symbolizing devotion or the beginning of contemplation. From the center emerge different lines and geometric shapes which symbolize nature. These geometric patterns are enclosed in a circle which represents cyclic nature of life, as conceptualized by Buddhism. Here is a list of common symbols used in Mandala:
Wheel with Eight Spokes:
Circular wheel in Mandala is a representation of a perfect universe. Eight spokes is a symbol of the eightfold path that is determined by Buddhism as a practice that ultimately leads an individual to liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
It is a symbol of opening and emptying of mind. It represents the mind being free of all other details to let wisdom and clarity enter the mind.
Triangle in Mandala can either be facing upwards or downward having different meanings. Triangle facing upwards symbolizes energy and action while triangle facing downward represents pursuit of knowledge and creativity.
It is one of the most sacred symbols in Buddhism. The symmetric shape of Lotus represents a balance in life. Growth of Lotus from underwater towards lights represents the growth of human beings from darkness to enlightenment and awakening.
This is the symbol that forms the basis of modern Mandalas. Sun usually represents a universe full of life and energy.
Buddhist Mandala is also divided into four quadrants representing compassion, kindness, sympathy and equanimity.
Types of Mandalas:
There exist different types of Mandala in different parts of the world. These different Mandalas serve different purpose both spiritually and artistically. Here three different of Mandalas are mentioned below:
Each shape, color and line in teaching serves a specific function and is a symbol of different dimensions of religious and philosophical teachings. This Mandala is tailored according to the philosophical and religious underpinning of its creator. Thus it is a representation of its creator leaning. Its basic purpose is to be the colorful mental guide for its creator.
Buddhist monks have long used this sand Mandala as a part of traditional and religious symbolism. It is made up of colored sand. Intricate design in this Mandala symbolizes impermanence of human life. It has also been used in Navajo culture.
Healing Mandalas serve a more defined purpose than the other two. It is used for healing purposes as it is believed that healing Mandala delivers wisdom, restores peace and calm and enhances concentration and focus. It has therapeutic effects emotionally psychologically and spiritually. This spiritual circle also promotes mindfulness.
It can be used for self-expression of its creator. The center of Mandala represents its beginning and its end symbolizing the completeness and oneness which reflects oneself. The completion of Mandala in its own promotes balance and peace in the inner self of its creator thus bringing harmony in one’s identity.
It is believed that when you are dealing with healing Mandala, your mind is taking in the essence of Mandala that is oneness and completeness. Carl Jung has been the most prominent psychologist who worked with Mandalas and theorized its healing power.
The lines and geometric in healing Mandala depends on the type of healing being evoked. Colors with which healing Mandala is adorned are considered to heal the delusional ego in the soul of its creator. Each color has specific healing purpose listed below:
This color is said to heal ignorance and unawareness and replace it with wisdom.
It is believed that the yellow color in Mandala heals pride and replaces it with oneness and completion.
Red in healing Mandala heals emotions of fear and attachment in individuals and replaces it with freedom and confidence.
Green color in healing Mandala heals jealousy and replaces it with unconditional love and positive regard.
Blue color in healing Mandala heals anger in individuals and replaces it with self-expression and intuitiveness.
Ways to use healing Mandala:
Therapeutic effect of healing Mandala can be used to treat mental illness. It is also useful for individuals suffering from debilitating diseases, stress or more.
To achieve a healing effect of Mandala through a person first needs to select the Mandala that appeals to him. It is advised to set the intention first that what a person wants to heal. This will help individuals in selection of Mandala. After selection, he should start with the center and try concentrating all his attention on the center, as this center is the point from where a person starts to travel through the symbolism of Mandala.
When he is focused enough on center, he should gently move to the symbolism of Mandala absorbing all its colors and staying with all the thoughts travelling through the mind.
If he gets distracted and his attention starts to sway, he is advised to tenderly bring his attention back to Mandala and allow it to grab all the attention and focus of a person. As he becomes more and more absorbed in Mandala, he should try relaxing and breathing slowly. This leads to emotion of happiness and joy in an individual and he listens to his inside voice.
A person meditating over Mandala should go with the experience without any expectations. The preferred time for meditation is at least 15 minutes and an individual can move his way up from there.
A person can create his own Mandala to achieve healing. To begin this journey an individual should meditate for a while to set the intention and determine what type of healing he wants. This meditation will help individuals to select the medium and color they want to use to create Mandala. Individuals can use stones, flowers, water colors and can select any medium as water, sand, and piece of cloth or paper. He should follow his heart in selection of medium.
Once he is done with setting the intentions and selecting the medium, he should start creating the Mandala. He should start inside out following his heart and intuitions. There are no guidelines in creating Mandala as it is an individual’s personal reflection of inner self. As there are no right or wrong, a person should focus on his intentions and follow his gut feelings simultaneously feeling a connection with his work.
Once a person is done with Mandala, he can use it for his meditation or he can hang it on a place where he usually looks at.
Coloring Mandala has the same effect of healing as meditating over Mandala or creating Mandala. Following the same procedure, a person should set the intention and select Mandala to color by following his heart and intuition. After selecting Mandala, he should select a color theme, which can be selected based on the personal significance of color in life or can be identified in Chakras.
Once he is done with selecting the Mandala and coloring theme, a person should start coloring inside out. He can use any medium he wants such as water colors, crayons or pencil colors. Again like creating Mandala, there are no right or wrong. A person should focus on intention and follow the intuitions while coloring and be open for any healing that the procedure can have.
Mandala Therapeutic value and Carl Jung:
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, worked a great deal with Mandala. He said that Mandala describes a ‘representation of the unconscious mind’. According to him, Mandala represents the complete personality of an individual as it is in his unconscious mind. He observed that circular patterns emerge in his doodle and in drawing of his patients during art therapy. He also observed that children as young as two years old are inclined to draw circles even without any adult intervention. Jung explains that desire to make Mandala takes an individual to the realm of personal growth as it is where he reconnects with his inner self.
FAQs about Healing Mandalas
Do Mandalas have meaning?
Mandala literally means complete circle. According to ancient Hinduism and Buddhism, Mandala takes an individual to a sphere of creativity and existence. It symbolizes an individual’s connection with his inner self and with the larger universe.
How does Mandala heal?
Mandala healing includes the process of creating, coloring or meditating over round, symmetrical shapes. It has healing on an individual as it connects the individual to its inner self and promotes mindfulness, enhances focus and concentration and inculcates emotions of joy and happiness.
Why do monks destroy Mandala?
After creating Mandalas, monks pray and meditate over those. Once monks are done with meditation, they destroy Mandala as a symbol that nothing in this world is permanent.