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mandala
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Sacred mandala !

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This article examines the mandala - a symbolic picture of the universe.
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One of the richest visual objects in Tibetan Buddhism is the mandala.
A mandala is a symbolic picture of the universe. It can be a painting on awall or scroll, created in coloured sands on a table, or a visualisation in the mind of a very skilled adept.
The mandala represents an imaginary palace that iscontemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, representing an aspect of wisdom or remindingthe meditator of a guiding principle. The mandala's purpose is tohelp transform ordinaryminds into enlightened ones and to assist withhealing.
The Tibetan mandala (like the example in thisarticle, which was created in Manchester by monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery near Lhasa in Tibet) contains deities, with the principal deity in the centre of the pattern. The deities who reside in the palace embody philosophical views and serve as role models.

Constructing a sand mandala:

According to Buddhist scripture, mandalas constructed from sand transmit positive energies to the environment and to thepeople who view them. They are believed to effect purification and healing. Mandala sand painting was introducedby the Buddha himself and there are many different designs of mandala, each with different lessons to teach.
The mandala sand painting process begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness.The monks chant and dance in resplendent dress.
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