Mandala Meaning | What Is Mandala?

Author: Jessica Tracy

Mandala Meaning What is Mandala Art

There’s something fascinating about mandalas and their divine geometry.

Founder of analytic psychology, Carl Jung discovered that there is a deep, symbolic meaning to these circular drawings and described them as the “archetypes of wholeness”.

At the core of our existence, we all try understand ourselves and our place in the Universe.

Mandalas help us to reach that understanding as they represent both the perfect, cosmic harmony, and the wholeness of the personality.

Carl Jung might have introduced Mandalas to the Western world through his psychoanalysis work, but mandalas have been around for at least 2,000 years and they are prominent part of Hindu, Buddhist, and Shintoism cultures.

Throughout Tibet mandala is referred to as Khyil khor, which is the core of the existence where a truly awakened being resides.

It is believed that symbols used in mandala design can assist you in navigating to the deepest areas of your subconscious mind and connect you with your Higher Self.

The purpose of this article is to satisfy your curiosity on these beautiful, spiritual symbols and show you how they can transform your life for better.

Furthermore, you will learn more about mandala meaning, discover few facts about mandala history and get some simple tips on how to draw your first mandala.

Ultimately, this knowledge has really helped me to find my inner peace and understand my role in life.

I am certain that it will be very useful for you too.

Without further ado, let’s just dive into the world of sacred geometry!

Carl Jung Mandala Quote

What Is Mandala?

Mandala can be best described as a geometrical design with ring structures, which have repeated patterns, shapes and colours branching out from the center.

Mandala composition blends various symmetrical forms into divine, cosmic diagram.

Mandalas can look pretty complicated, but in fact they are made up of basic geometric elements and symbols that are layered together to construct this hypnotizing, repetitive pattern.

Mandala is considered to be one of the most powerful forms of art known to date, which has the capability to unlock the unlimited potential of our mind.

Once activated, mandala’s energy can help us to improve our daily life and bring all of our blessings into this world.

It will show us how to cope with our struggles and face any difficulties from the place of inner peace. 

Mandala Sacred Geometry Examples

Meaning of Mandala

The term 'Mandala' originates from the Sanskrit and it means ‘circle’ or ‘center’.

The circle is mankind's most natural shape and most of our Galaxy comprises of spherically formed worlds, planets and stars.
The cells and atoms that create all things in the Universe are circular.

In many cultures mandala is considered to be a sacred symbol that represents the essence of the Universe and our connection with the never ending cycle of life.

Mandalas were traditionally created with a specific, symbolic meaning and used during certain sacred rituals as tools of contemplation, and meditation.

During ceremonies, the mandala served as a spiritual instrument used to focus the practitioner’s mind and induce a deep, meditative state of trance.

Mandala represents that semi-imaginary place that we reach during the meditation practice.

Hypnotic state of meditation allows us to transcend to a higher state of consciousness, increase our awareness and gain a better understanding of ourselves.

Mandalas have other uses beyond meditation, as the designs are intended to quiet down the thinking mind and enable the creative mind to free itself and relax.

As you can see mandalas can have few meanings and uses.

Let’s have a look at all of the possible ways mandalas can be used.

Monks Making Tibetan Sand Mandala Art

How Mandalas Are Used?

  1. Mandalas are used to represent different aspects of the Universe.

  2. Drawing mandalas can help us to understand universal teachings such as:
    - Everything is inter-connected and we are all part of the One Universe
    - Everything in the Universe works in a perfect harmony
    - Nothing is permanent and attachment is the root of all suffering

  3. Mandalas can be used as meditation and contemplation tools during spiritual ceremonies and rituals to focus the mind.

  4. Mandalas are nowadays often used in therapy to represent the patient's "wholeness" and to encourage self-expression.

  5. They are sometimes used in architecture.

  6. Mandalas can be seen on spiritual emblems across many cultures and religions to portray images of deities and sacred symbols.  

  7. All 7 chakras lotuses are in fact perfect examples of mandala.

7 Chakras Mandala Lotuses

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What Are Mandala Types?

There are numerous types of mandalas found in different cultures and used for a wide range of purposes, both creative and spiritual. Below are three major mandala types and their uses:

Teaching Mandala:

As the name suggests, teaching mandala allows one to pass the knowledge of drawing mandalas.

Students develop their own mandalas, focused on the concepts of their religious or philosophical education.

Mandalas are then designed by the students to show what they have learned during the study and to mentally illustrate their comprehension of the doctrines.

Throughout the process students begin discover their own sacred space and enlighten their own journey.

Teaching mandalas act as vibrant, visual maps of their makers. 

MANDALA TAPESTRIES

Healing Mandala:

These types of mandalas have been found to have therapeutic benefits.

Swiss therapist, Carl Jung, was one of the first researchers who noticed that the creation of mandalas had an effect on the psychological conditions of his patients.

Healing madalas have the potential to identify person’s emotional disorders.

The calmness given by creation of this kind of mandala provides a divine remedy that can later be extended to help the others.

Healing of body and mind requires an inner peace. These types of mandalas and the process of their creation provides a sense of inner peace. 

Sand Mandala:

Sand mandalas are used as a ritual element by Buddhist monks in Tibet and certain Native American cultures, such as Navajo.

These complicated designs use variety of coloured sand symbols.

According to the Buddhist tradition, sand-built mandalas transfer beneficial energy on to the world and to the people who see them.
They are believed to have many purifying properties.

Destroying the mandala acts as a reminder of life's impermanence.

We’ll discuss them in more detail further down in this article.

Mandalas in Christianity

The usage of the Mandalas can be also found in Christianity.
The Celtic Cross, the Rosary, and the Halo are some of the best examples.

These sacred, circular symbols are also known to have deep, spiritual meaning in many other cultures and religions.

Yellow Mandala on The Wall

Drawing Mandala. How to Draw a Mandala?

Have you ever wondered how to draw your own mandala but have no idea where to start?

Let me give you few simple tips, which can help you to get started:

  1. Grab a piece of paper, compass with a pencil and draw a circle in the middle.

  2. Outside of your main circle draw any number of larger circles.

  3. Find a centre of your inner circle and draw 2 lines (horizontal and vertical) inside of it.

  4. Keep slicing you inner circle into smaller pieces.

  5. Level of complexity of your mandala depends on the number of slices you divided your first circle.

  6. Get familiar with some basic shapes which you can use to design your perfect mandala such as: petals, long petals, pointed petals, lines, triangles, spirals and many more.

  7. Think about some creative ideas to fill your basic shapes with different elements.

  8. Grab a pen and start drawing the shapes into all of your circles.

  9. You can make recurring patterns and designs between the different
    divisions of circles. This gives your mandala its beauty and charm.

  10. Once you have completed the design, you can color your mandala.
     You can do it based on the color codes and qualities of different colors and simply based on your personal taste.

Mandala drawing practice will give you a peace of mind and I am sure that one day you’ll be able to create your perfect mandala. 

Girl Drawing Mandala - How To Draw a Mandala

The History of Mandalas

Coming at this point in this article, it must be very clear to you what is mandala and what is the meaning of mandala.

Let’s turn the pages back for a moment to see what is mandala origin, history and how they emerged.

As per history books, the existence of Mandalas dates back to 1st Century B.C.

Mandalas are known to be of Eastern heritage, but it would be challenging, if not unlikely, to locate any culture without any knowledge of the meaning of the circle and its capacity for philosophical self-examination.

However, most of the facts suggest that mandalas are deep-rooted in Buddhism and spread all over the world by a community of Buddhist monks.

The Buddhist Monks used to travel with mandalas across the Silk Road and to different parts of South Asia.

During their travels, they kept transferring their knowledge about these sacred compositions.

Tibetan Buddhist Monk Making Tibetan Sand Mandala

Tibetan Sand Mandala

Mandalas have been a big part of the local culture in the Buddhist region of Tibet for many centuries.

First evidence of their existence in this region has been dated back to the 7th century CE.

This region is also known for another form of mandala, the Tibetan Sand Mandala (also known by the native name of dkyil ‘khor).

This form of the mandala is completely made from dyed sand or small particles of crushed, colored stones and few other materials.

Sand mandalas usually take many weeks to create because of the vast amount of labour involved in spreading the sand in such complex way.

It is normal for a team of monks to work together on 1 mandala, constructing one part of the diagram at a time, operating from the middle to the outside.
The sand is applied to the artwork through a small metal tube or funnel.

The purpose of Tibetan Sand Mandala is to guide those who seek enlightenment through the meditative process of mandala creation and ultimately, to purify and transform their minds.

Tibetan Sand Mandala also serves as a great reminder about the impermanent nature of material life because it is being destroyed by the monks in the end.

The dismantling of Tibetan Sand Mandala is a major ritual performed in this region.

During that ritual, monks destroy all parts of mandala in a specific order.
Afterwards, they carry out the sand in a jar covered in a silk cloth to the river and throw it into the running water.

As a result, mandala sand particles return back to their natural environment.

This process symbolizes the power of universal balance and transmits the blessings of the sacred geometry back into the Universe.

The ritual of creating sand mandalas is still being practiced by Tibetan monks these days.

Losang Samten is one of the most famous Tibetan Sand Mandala artists in the world.

He is a part of a small group of 30 certified people who are qualified enough to teach the historical art of sand painting done in the region of Tibet. 

Group of Tibetan Buddhist Monks Making Tibetan Sand Mandala

Mandala Art Therapy Benefits

The mandala art is a form of therapy that has the potential to help you to get rid of your stress, anxiety and worries.

When you allow your creation to unfold intuitively you will be naturally open to explore new shapes, textures, patterns and colors in your designs.

It might seem to you that it is not that easy to draw such a complex art but when you practice consistently and have fun with it, eventually you will be able draw your perfect mandala!

Some of the main benefits of creating mandala art include:

  • It keeps your body and mind relaxed, calm and focused
  • Increases your self-awareness
  • Connects you with a power of present moment
  • It puts you into a meditative state
  • Increases your creativity and playfulness levels
  • Cultivates feelings of happiness and joy
  • It’s fun and you will most likely really like it!


So, are you going to try to draw your first mandala today?

Do you think they have the potential to change your life or you don’t really believe in any of that?

Or maybe you have already tried making your first mandala and I don’t need to convince you about their benefits.

Either way, share your experience with others and let us know in the comments below!

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