Thangka and Mandala painting process

Thangka painting process is very difficult and time-consuming. To sketch the figures in a Thangka and mandala, the artist must be an expert in the measurements and proportions of different deities. There are thousands of different deities in Tibetan Buddhism.

  • Generating a pure motive
  • Canvas preparation
  • Foundation line drawing
  • Mixing the paint
  • Painting brush making
  • Painting
  • Redrawing and shading
  • Details
  • Shading and final painting
  • Gold application
  • Opening the eye of deity in thangka
  • Brocade
  • Consecration

Consecration Process

This final step of thangkas and mandalas painting process is “idol worship”  called as the consecration of Thangka and Mandala paintings In the Buddhist tradition, consecration is considered essential for any sacred implement used for meditation or devotional practice.

Consecration is a ceremonial process of blessing the Paintings by Rinpoche, Lama, Monk; a highly realized Buddhist master makes offerings to request the master’s blessings.

Consecration serves to “awaken” the status of any sacred image used for meditation or devotional practice.

The master, endowed with the clear mind of enlightenment, is able to “bring alive” the image on the painting by infusing it with energy and beseeching the deity to open its eyes and look upon all sentient beings.

Traditional Thangkas and Mandalas Painting are a receptacle of wisdom and is considered as living Gods and Goddess.

The painting, having now been properly consecrated, is a receptacle of wisdom. It is ready to be hung and venerated as a genuine living embodiment of enlightened mind.

Why should a Mandala or Thangka be consecrated?

Mandala or Thangka should be consecrated to bring it to life or to awaken the state of Thangka or Mandala.

What is the process to consecrate a thangka?

The painting will be inscribed with holy mantras and consecrated by a qualified Lama from the Buddhist monastery. The Lama proceed with an involved filling process, followed by a consecration ceremony.

What is the ritual performed in Consecration?

The monks do a visualization practice where they welcome the wisdom being of the particular deity or image and dissolve it into the mandala or thangka paintings, bringing it to life.

By receiving the wisdom being into the commitment being allowing them to become one being, the mandala or thangka gains vitality and is made a true living image.

At this time the request is made that the wisdom being will reside permanently until this image or world system is extinguished.

What are the materials needed for Consecration service?

To perform this service the materials such as the tightly rolled strips of paper containing the mantras, the incense, the chhoksing (the wooden “heart” of the statue), rice, the medicinal and purifying herbs etc are needed.

How can I get Thangka or Mandala consecrated? Is there a charge?

The consecration materials are required, and we need to make a donation to the Lama for his time and services. A small donation is suggested, but he will be happy to accept any amount offered to him.

Temple and Monastery Use for Consecration Process

Kopan Monastery

Kopan Monastery is located in Kathmandu Nepal. Kopan Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Boudhanath. In this monastery, the consecration ceremony is held with Lamas or monks in an auspicious day and the thangkas and Mandalas are purified with perfume and incense. The painting will be inscribed with holy mantras and consecrated by a qualified Lama from the monastery.

This is an outside view of the monastery. Visitors from all over the world come here to attend courses and enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the place for study and practice.

Kopan is committed to helping all beings develop their full potential of infinite wisdom and compassion as taught by our founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe, and spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

This is the inside view of the monastery. It is the home of 360 monks, lamas, teachers and workers. The monks come from all areas of Nepal and Tibet with ages ranging from seven to sixty years old. They have devoted their lives to the study and practice of the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, with special emphasis on the teachings of Lama Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelug Lineage.

Kopan Monastery is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an organization devoted to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service. FPMT provides integrated education through which people’s minds and hearts can be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others, inspired by an attitude of universal responsibility.

Swayambhunath Stupa

Swayambhunath stupa one of the most sacred stupas in Nepal given nickname as “Monkey Temple”. Swayambhunath is considered by Buddhists to be among the most important pilgrimage places in the world.

In Swayambhunath stupa, the consecration ceremony is carried by monks and lamas. It was described by Kathok Situ Chökyi Gyatso as “a sacred shrine of universal value for the people of the Indian subcontinent, unsurpassable for accumulating merit and good fortune.” Trulshik Rinpoche said that the Swayambhunath Stupa carries the blessings of thousands of Buddhas and that it will continue to be blessed by all the Buddhas of the current eon.

According to the Seventh Dalai Lama, this very stupa is the source of all the happiness in the world. The significance of this has led the Newar Buddhists of the Kathmandu valley to revere the site, while Buddhist practitioners from both India and Tibet have been gathering here for centuries, to pay homage.

The site thus provides an intimate point of connection between the well-being of the buddha-dharma throughout South Asia and its flourishing in Tibet as well.

Thrangu Tashi Choling Monastery

Thrangu Tashi Choling, located close to and facing the Great Stupa of Boudhanath, was founded by Thrangu Rinpoche is 1979 when construction began.

The ancient stupa is a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists, one of the most important holy places in Nepal and is also the largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet.

There are many monks under the age of eighteen and most of these boys are from rural areas of Nepal, particularly the mountain areas bordering Tibet. Some come from Tibet, India, and Bhutan. In the monastery, they study and practice Buddhism, philosophy, rituals, and reading and writing Tibetan as well as English.

From an early age, they learn to develop the good habits and discipline that will serve them and others throughout their lives. These days, the monastery is the center of monastic life for nearly 250 monks. They receive training in ritual practices, study Dharma and learn to read and write in Tibetan and also learn English.

Young Monks in Thrangu Tashi Choling Monastery.


This is an outside view of the monastery. 

Stupa at Boudhanath






About sadiksha

Namaste! I am a Nepali Art Dealer specialized in Mandala and Thangka paintings. I love to write articles about the monastic culture of the Himalayas. If you like this post or have any question please leave me a comment or use the contact page to reach me.

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