The Buddha of Compassion
Making the Mandala
Sainte Marie Among The Iroquois
Onondaga Lake Parkway, April 28-30, 2005
created by Monks of
Gaden Shartse Norling College
Buddhist Cultural Tour
Dr. Joan Coff
The Rosamond Gifford Foundation
The Robert Kutz Charitable Trust
A mandala is a vision of the universe—a geometric pattern of the ground plan of a sacred mansion. Each color, shape and design holds special meanings. This mandala represents the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Chenrezig.
Some of the symbolism contained within this mandala of the celestial mansion of
The Buddha of Compassion
Outer circle is The Ring of Flames, to burn away obstacles.
Second circle of diamond-like figures represents protection.
Five colors represent five wisdoms, five families of Buddha, or five human aggregates
form, feelings, perceptions, composition, consciousness
Lotus in center is Chenrezig. Lotus flower also reflects the belief beautiful blossoms grow up from mud.
Center circle is a seed, or origin of the universe.
Painting with colored sand is an ancient Tibetan art form, and ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. Millions of grains of colored sand are painstakingly laid into place, forming an intricate diagram of the enlightened mind and ideal world. A sand mandala is carefully constructed from dyed sands to represent esoteric, textual traditions of Buddhism. Sand mandala construction is a vehicle to generate compassion, realize the impermanence of reality, and socio-cosmic healing of the environment. This transient art form is thought to have originated in India and been transferred in the middle ages to Tibet.
In Tibetan Buddhism, a mandala is a three-dimensional palace that is contemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, representing some aspect of wisdom, or reminding of some guiding principle. Various scriptural texts dictate shapes, forms and colors for the mandala. There are many different mandalas, each with diffferent lessons to teach and blessings to confer. Most mandalas contain a host of dieties, symbolic archetypes of the landacape of the mind.
Tibetan sand painting is known in Sanskrit as a "mandala"—a circle. The circle represents psychic and spiritual wholeness. Like religious texts, mandalas have outer, inner and secret meanings. On the outer level, the mandala represents the world in divine form. On thhe inner level, it is a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into an enlightened mind. And on a secret level, it symbolizes primordial perfect balance of the subtle energies of Body, and the clear light dimension of Mind.
Om Mani Peme Hung
The famous mantram of Chenrezig is said to contain all the teachings of Buddha. Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer)—out loud and silently to one's self—invokes the benevolent attention. Viewing the written mantra is said to have the same effect, and it is often carved into stones, placed where people can see them. It is the sound or vibration which activates him and his energy field, and develops all of Chenrezig's qualities: the loving kindness and compassion of all the Buddhas.