What are the different types of Mandalas?
Table of Contents
- 1 - Some Types of Mandala found in Mandalas Life
- 2 - Mandalas Symbol and Representations
- 3 - Outer Mandalas
- 4 - Teaching Mandalas
- 5 - Healing Mandalas
- 6 - Sand Mandalas
- 7 - Kalachakra Mandalas
- 8 - Architectural Mandala
- 9 - Mantra Mandalas
- 10 - Buddha mandalas
- 11 - Offering Mandala
- 12 - Meditation mandalas
- 13 - Hindu Mandalas
- 14 - Bodhi Mandala
- 15 - Body Mandala
- 16 - Yantra Mandala
- 17 - Ceiling Mandala
- 18 - Cosmological & Geographical Mandala
- 19 - Deity Mandala
- 20 - Element Mandala
- 21 - Figure Mandala
- 22 - Geometric Shaped Mandala
- 23 - Imagined Mandala
- 24 - Initiation Card Mandala
- 25 - Initiation Mandala
- 26 - Inverted-figure Mandala
- 27 - Letter Mandala
- 28 - Lotus Mandala
- 29 - Self Blessing Mandala
- 30 - Square Mandala
- 31 - Symbol Mandala
- 32 - Textile Mandala
- 33 - Thread-cross Mandala
Some Types of Mandala found in Mandalas Life
- Kalachakra Mandala
- Lotus Mandala
- Mantra mandala
- Buddha Mandala
- Sri Yantra mandala
- Tantric Mandala
- Manjushri Mandala
- Triple Yin Yang Mandala
- Galaxy mantra Mandala
- Aum Mandala
- Buddha Nirvana Mandala
- Green Tara mandala
- Conch Mandala
Mandalas Symbol and Representations
Mandalas are framed in forms of a symbol and a representation. Some of the mandalas are symbols while some are representations.
Whereas a representation is not clear to a non-artistic person. That’s a representation, so you have to be explained what the representation is.
There are different types of mandalas depending on how they are used. Here are brief explanations of what different types of mandalas are used in Buddhism.
Let’s start with a very basic one. It is called Outer Mandala. The outer mandala represents the universe or world-system. These type of mandalas are basically used for the offerings. We offer a mandala to a spiritual master asking him or vows, knowledge. Offering outer mandala is a standard practice in Buddhism for thanking people.
There is another type called Teaching Mandala. The teaching mandalas are symbolic. Each shape, line, and color in teaching mandala represents different aspects of Buddhism. A monk learns to create mandalas while taking his monastic education. The teaching mandala can be understood as a colorful, mental map that describes the Himalayan culture.
A Healing Mandala is more intuitive than a teaching mandala. Healing mandala are made for the purpose of meditation, deliver certain wisdom. The healing mandala can be used for focusing and concentrating.
Buddhist monks have a religious way of creating Sand Mandalas. For creating a sand mandala, the mandala is created of fine multi-colored sand, and then the sand grains are placed in the concentric circles. Working from outward towards the center along with the pattern that has been laid out. Metal funnels are generally used so that uniform amount goes at a time.
The word Kalachakra means “Cycle of Time”. Kalachakra mandala is for the meditative purpose.
Through the meditation on the Kalachakra mandala, monks invoke the qualities of the deity, striving in a ritualized way enter the mandala and become the deity themselves.
The Kalachakra Tantra is a profound Buddhist system of teaching and practice which encompasses three aspects:
- Outer Kalachakra
- Inner Kalachakra
- Alternative Kalachakra
His Holiness Dalai Lama writes,
“The Kalachakra initiations empower the disciple to practice the yoga of the Kalachakra Tantra, and, ultimately, to achieve the state of Shri Kalachakra.”
Architectural Mandala is a physical replica in three dimensions that depict a deity mandala. These mandalas are represented in 3D.
Mantra mandalas are those kinds of mandalas which have some Buddhist deities or Buddhism symbol in the center and surrounded by the mantras. Mantras mandalas are words or phrases that are chanted out loud or internally as objects of meditation.
Mantras and mandalas function as a means of “focusing” on the mind, i.e in meditation and visualization, and thus to assist the seeker along a given spiritual path.
Buddha mandala shows the teachings of the Buddha Dharma and the endless circle of Samsara. There are eight rays of the wheel which represents The Noble Eightfold Path showed by the Buddha and the representation of wisdom. There is the rim that symbolizes the importance of practice and meditation.
Offering Mandalas are a symbolic offering made by Buddhist practitioners of the entire universe and presented to the religious teachers, Buddhas, and deities, of the past and present.
A specific ritual object called a mandala plate is used for this ritual although anything flat and clean is also acceptable. Mandala plates filled with rice and multi-tiered are also commonly kept on a permanent shrine.
Shrine mandalas are constructed from a flat metal mandala plate and then three or four rings of metal, often engraved, embossed or spouse worked and topped with a small replica of a heavenly palace or a Dharma wheel.
Hindu Mandalas are mandalas that are evolved with the Hindu religion. To a Buddhist or Hindu, a mandala represents a cosmos within the universe. It is considered a sacred art form with spiritual significance.
Types of Hindu Mandala
Shiva God Mandalas
Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. In Shiva god mandala Lord Shiva is in the center of Mandala.
Sri yantra mandalas
A Sri Yantra is a type of mandala with geometric patterns. A mandala is a plan, chart or geometric pattern which represents the metaphysical cosmos of the universe.
Body Mandala is the external world is idealized by the Tantric practitioner and re-created to be the pure abode of a deity, so to the internal body with its senses, organs, veins, and nervous system are likewise idealized into an internal body mandala.
Painted depictions of body mandala systems are found in the Hindu, Buddhist and Bon religions although less common than the outer mandala of a deity and palace.
Those mandalas are diagram or device that refers to the very active and dynamic yogic postures and routines in Vajrayana Buddhism.
Cosmological & Geographical Mandala have painted representations of the four continents and Mount Sumeru, the universe, various types of cosmology, along with sacred realms and pure lands such as Tushita, Sukhavati, Medicine Buddha Pureland, etc.
Deity mandalas are originated in the Indian Tantric literature with the function of serving as a meditational system within the Tantric theory of Deity Yoga.
Under the topic of Deity mandala are Figure Mandalas, Symbol Mandalas, and Geometric Mandalas.
Element mandalas represent water with a white circle, the earth with a yellow square, fire with a red half-circle, and air with a blue triangle. These general shapes also correspond to the four activities.
These five elements and their energies also live within ourselves. They are connected to our chakras and also correlated to emotions, colors, body types, illnesses, thinking styles, and character for example.
Thes mandala was used to explain the relationship between the diseases and their treatments.
Figure Mandala is a deity mandala that correctly places images of the actual iconographic figures in the proper locations around the mandala center and periphery.
Geometric Shaped Mandala
Geometric shapes Mandalas are those that represent the four principal activities and the four elements of earth, firewater, and air.
The Medicine Buddha and Vaishravana Riding a Lion both typically have square-shaped mandalas.
Imagine mandalas are mentioned in the ritual texts. These, however, are considered only applicable for use by the best teachers and the best students.
Initiation Card Mandala
The mandala cards are used as the central shrine object for initiations and rituals.
They are often made for those occasions when large numbers of initiations are given at one time such as the Vajravali and Mitra Gyatsa collections of initiations.
Mandala cards are typically more than twice as large as initiation cards (tsakali).
Initiation Mandala is a painted depiction of a mandala, larger than an initiation card, placed flat on a table with rituals objects and offerings arranged at the four sides.
This type of mandala serves as the central focus for a tantric initiation ritual.
A Mandala Plate with Deities is the identical same type of object except the Mandala Plate is a cloth painting glued to a flat square wooden board and then heavily varnished in anticipation of regular and repeated use.
Inverted Figure Mandala is a mandala painting where all of the secondary figures are standing inverted, half-inverted or upright in relation to the central figure of the composition and to the individual views of the composition.
Any figures in the composition of a scroll painting that are outside of the mandala circle proper, such as in registers or floating in the corners, are not inverted as they are not actually part of the mandala.
Letter Mandalas are those mandalas that are created in a simplified manner with letters used to substitute for the actual deities.
Lotus is a symbol of rising out of the material world and into spiritual union with the entire universe, also known as enlightenment. Lotus mandala is a three-dimensional metal sculpture of a lotus blossom and stem. Hinged petals can appear closed or open revealing a central figure and retinue circle of deities.
Self Blessing Mandala
In Dalai Lama’s words,
Square mandalas are those which are represented in square format. Some mandalas have square walls in the center but the square mandala has the square’s edge.
some mandala in the square format:
- Medicine Buddha
- Shakyamuni Buddha & the Sixteen Elders
- Vaishravana Riding a Lion etc.
Symbol mandalas are a simplified mandala where the hand attributes of the deities are used in place of actually drawing and painting the deities themselves.
Sometimes only the symbolic attributes of the central deity are used and the retinue figures are filled in with small colored circles. In other cases, there is nothing to indicate the presence of the retinue figures.
Textile Mandalas are the same as the painted mandalas textiles function in the same manner. In some cases, textiles are used horizontally for permanent mandala shrines, with a canopy above and offerings around the perimeter. They are also called applique Mandala.
They are generally flat objects, displayed vertically. For elaborate rituals, they are constructed into large three-dimensional palaces placed at the center of a mandala.