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Mandalas, Mandalas, Mandalas

April 2, 2010

You already know from my last post that I am on a mandala kick. I am also heading out on spring break, and thought a visual post might be the perfect thing to leave here while I’m away. I am planning to do a personal update post soon, since I missed my last month-in-review, but I’ll wait until I get back.

Tibetan Mandala Schematic

Tibetan Mandala Schematic

Mandala 1

Mandala 1

Mandala 2

Mandala 2

First, here’s some sample mandala schematics. The defining shape for a mandala is circular, with other shapes used in the interior. Everything radiates out from a center point, and they are always symmetrical. However, they are sometimes divided into quadrants or smaller sections to represent a linear series, such as the moon phases or astrological symbols. Coloring mandala schematics is really a form of meditation for both children and adults. You can click on any of these to see them at full-size and print them out for coloring, or go to this old article of mine from BellaOnline for more.

Sand Mandala

Sand Mandala

Tibetan Buddhist monks create sand mandalas, a sacred practice that can take a group of monks – usually four – several weeks to make. The mandalas are typically destroyed with a swipe of the hand upon completion, a practice in non-attachment and the recognition of transience.

Tibetan Buddhist Mandala

Tibetan Buddhist Manda

Tibetan thangka mandalas are very structured and precise. The center-point represents a doorway of sorts, an entrance point into enlightenment. Meditating on these mandalas is a transformative practice – they pull you into a new state of awareness. I also wrote an article on them for BellaOnline awhile back, so check it out if you are interested in learning more.

Rosetta Window

Rosetta Window

Of course mandalas are not just found in Buddhism – virtually every world religion utilizes them in sacred art or architecture. In Christianity, they are often found in rosetta stained glass windows such as this one, particularly in cathedrals.

Goddess Mandala

Goddess Mandala

The outer ring of this goddess mandala is an example of a progressive cyclical theme, displaying the moon phases. The main circle pictures goddess figures from all around the world.

Jung Mandala

Jung Mandala

Jung used spontaneous mandala creation in his therapeutic work with patients. He would have them draw mandalas and then analyze them for themes and imbalances, and he would draw mandalas himself after working with them, as a form of surfacing insights. He also drew various mandalas of the self as part of his theoretical work, of which this mandala is a part. Mandalas became an important representation to him of individuation, and integration, as he talks about in this quote:

“I had to abandon the idea of the superordinate position of the ego. … I saw that everything, all paths I had been following, all steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point — namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the centre. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the centre, to individuation… I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.” – C. G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

Of course, I couldn’t do a post on mandalas without including some chakra mandalas. Various traditions have specific mandala patterns associated with each chakra. This particular one uses the traditional Indian/Hindu color scheme.

Kaleidoscope Mandala

Kaleidoscope Mandala - By Peter Kaminski

This is my favorite of recent mandala images I have found – it is a kaleidoscope image made from a free photoshop plug-in called Mehdi’s Kaleidoscope . The source image was a seaweed-covered rock on the San Francisco Bay, near the San Mateo Bridge.

Flower Mandala

Flower Mandala - Photo by Eric Perrone

Of course mandalas occur naturally all the time – think snow flakes, leaves, and flowers. I thought this was a particularly simple and stunning example of that.



Finally, tying back to my last post on each of us as a wholly unique body-mind-spirit mandala, I think this picture says it all.

If you observe Easter, have a wonderful weekend (and even if you don’t!) And may we all experience a rebirth. Namaste-

28 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2010 11:46 pm

    Thanks for the mandalas to colour. I printed them out for me and my son. I can’t wait! Happy Easter!

  2. April 3, 2010 12:09 am

    Very nice article! It reminded me of something that I have been doing in my jewelry-making hobby, which is making a piece of jewelry as a meditation and then taking it apart as a way to “let go.”

  3. April 3, 2010 2:17 am

    Interesting post! It’s so you, Lisa.
    Enjoy your spring break.

  4. April 3, 2010 2:53 am

    These images are a lovely gift. Thank you.
    Have a wonderful spring break!

  5. April 3, 2010 3:52 am

    they’re all so beautiful!

    many blessings to you for your spring holiday ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. April 3, 2010 4:38 am

    These boxes are different, aren’t they? This post is so colorful. It feels like a springtime bouquet of mandalas. I like the big green one too.
    Happy spring break. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. April 3, 2010 10:03 am

    Hi Lisa,
    Enjoy your time away.

    This is really very interesting to read – as it’s not something I have thought much about. What I am particularly drawn to is the examples of snowflakes and flowers…natural occurrences of these mandalas. The other thing that really jumps out for me is how I feel drawn into the center of all of these. And for me – that then feels like a “centering” in my life – or maybe a focal point. Wow, as I think about that – I find it very soul-connecting…. Lisa, thank you so much for sharing all of this!

  8. April 3, 2010 5:14 pm

    The sand mandalas totally rock my world. I LOVE that level of letting go.
    Have a great break!

  9. April 3, 2010 8:30 pm

    Glad you all enjoyed!

    Lance – Yes, the centerpoint is really what it’s all about.

    Cate, what an interesting practice, taking your jewelry apart after making it. It really makes you focus on the process and joy of creating, doesn’t it? Instead of just the end result…

  10. ruth permalink
    April 4, 2010 1:11 am

    I need to sit with you and chat for a while Lisa ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mandalas I find are completely mesmerising and meditative to look at I love them and I can get lost in them for a long time looking at all the detail. It is my next project after my current one actually.
    I did a post about the sand mandalas a wee while ago – you might like it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Did you read the book Spirit Maps? There are some mandalas in there.

  11. April 4, 2010 3:44 am

    I think I will have to find some to color now!

  12. April 4, 2010 1:42 pm

    Love these mandalas to color! I may have to sharpen up the color pencils!

  13. April 4, 2010 4:52 pm

    Nice collection of mandalas, Lisa. Very colorful and, uhm… illuminating. Those Tibetan monks are such funny guys. Imagine them working their b*tts off creating those awesome mandalas and then destroying it right after they’ve sprinkled the last grains of sand. I wonder what would happen if someone sneaks in with black pepper and hands it to one of the monks. LOL.

  14. April 5, 2010 4:55 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    When we lived in India, the village that we lived in had many Tibetan refugees. Many of them would either run restaurants (I swear…the best food in the world) or sell symbolic items. Some would do mandalas in the street and it was amazing to watch.

    The images that you shared were just beautiful and brought back some fond memories.

    Hope all is awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. April 6, 2010 12:15 pm

    Lisa, thank you for the visuals with this. It was wonderful and stunning to see! And it opened my eyes in new ways, and to think of mandalas in a new way. And especially to seek them out in nature. I’ve never considered that. You are such a wise woman….

    What was the source of the goddess mandala? Can you e- me the info as I am pretty much offline these days and not blogging. Your blog is an exception…(wink)

    I hope you have a fabulous spring break. Enjoy and be well. xo

  16. April 6, 2010 2:32 pm

    I love getting your emails and I love this post. I love mandalas and you shared some really great ones!

  17. April 6, 2010 3:05 pm

    Hi all, thanks so much for your comments! I am reading them this week, and reading blogs in my reader too, but taking a break on the commenting myself. Hope all is well-

  18. Shawntanet permalink
    April 12, 2010 9:32 am

    Thank you.

  19. April 13, 2010 9:04 pm


  20. danceswithcrayons permalink
    April 23, 2010 1:42 am

    I love mandalas also, enjoy reading your Blog, thank you! From the center, the heart.

    Love, Jane : )

  21. March 26, 2012 9:27 pm


  22. Eva permalink
    January 22, 2013 8:55 am

    I have been drawn to mandalas and energy grids for a while and your blog was a wonderful trubute with information.Thank you for sharing.Keep up the good work!

  23. January 23, 2013 5:30 am

    Thanks Eva, yes mandalas as energy grids is another wonderful topic – our body as a mandala, the earth as one, places in it as grids/mandalas, and the way we can consciously engage with each.

  24. April 11, 2013 9:54 pm

    Beautiful images!!

  25. April 16, 2013 6:26 pm

    Thanks Deborah, I do love mandalas.

  26. May 3, 2013 1:20 pm

    Thanks for liking my page. I always refer back to Trungpa Rinpoche, so if you haven’t yet, you might consider checking out his book “Orderly Chaos/the Mandala Principle.”

  27. May 3, 2013 5:56 pm

    Hi Jakekarlins, I do have The Mandala Principle (and I think it was just rereleased by Shambhala, someone else just brought it up to me.) Trungpa always brings so much depth and insight to his teachings. Have been meaning to see if Crazy Wisdom is on Netflix yet actually, the documentary on him. Thanks for the comment.

  28. May 4, 2013 11:52 pm

    Yeah, all of his books are Shambhala. I’ll check about Crazy Wisdom. If it’s on Netflix I”m waching it right now!

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