In Tibetan Buddhism, mandalas come
in two varieties; they can represent the conventional universe (see the image
left), as it is used in the Mandala Offering Ritual, where one symbolically offers
the entire universe. During the offering one recites mandala offering prayers.
The type of mandala we will explore here represents (amongst many things)
the dwelling place of a specific Buddha-form or deity. Mandalas are actually 3-Dimensional
buildings, and in the Tibetan tradition, they are made as thangkas (scroll-paintings),
wall paintings, sand-drawings, and 3D models made of e.g. wood or metal.
the centre of the mandala one usually finds the main Buddha-form of the specific
A mandala is full of symbolic meaning and can be "read" and
studied like a text. The purpose of a mandala is to acquaint the student
with the tantra, and thus allowing the student to identify with the
central deity and its pure surroundings as the mandala.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama from: 'The
Kalachakra tantra, rite of initiation':
The mandala is actually a 3-dimensional phenomenon, and
making of such a mandala requires much time and expertise, which explains why
actual 3-dimensional models are quite rare.
Full Sand Mandala
A sand mandala is used in most traditions (including
His Holiness the Dalai Lama) for a Kalachakra initiation.
Creating a two-dimensional Kalachakra mandala in colored sand of some
2 meters diameter means quite a lot of work, as all the dimensions are
to be accurately in accordance with the tradition. Also, many prayers
are made in the process, so it takes a team of monks about 6 days of
The mandala of Kalachakra symbolizes
the entire universe (Outer Kalachakra) in terms of planets and time cycles, as
well as aspects of our body and mind (Inner Kalachakra), and even the practice
In the practice of Kalachakra, one strives at visualizing the complete
mandala, including all its deities and ornaments in perfect detail within
the size of a tiny drop to practice single-pointed concentration.
You can now download our special Kalachakra
Screensaver for free, which includes Kalachakra mandala images.
It is suitable for Windows only, just unzip the file and double click
to install. If you like, you can set the speed and number of moving
images by right-clicking on your desktop and chose 'properties' and