Mandala: Literally “wheel” or “circle, sacred space.” The connotation in Tibetan is of a circle and its circumference, or of a container and that contained.

In the ceremonial context, it is a symbolic offering of the entire universe, i.e., the container and all within it.

A support for a meditating person, a mystical diagram of energy within which deities or their emblems are portrayed in asymmetrically arrange diagram arranged in a basically circularpattern. It represents symbolically the diverse stages that the disciple should go through to arrive at the realization of ultimate buddhood.

One uses the Mandala in the transmission of iniationsand the practice of tantric rituals. They can also act as an offering in which the disciple offers to the Lama and to the Buddhas, an idealized universe.

The mandala is often illustrated as a palace with four gates, facing the four corners of the Earth. A mandala is a representation or symbol for various energies or particular enlightened states of mind.

A mandala may be in two dimensions, as in a painting, in three dimensions, such as in the placement of sacred objects, or symbolized by a mudra.

The body, a consciousgathering of initiates or even the world at large may be interpretedas a mandala, as they symbolize various aspects of universal energies.

A mandala may also be the throne of a particular deity.

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