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Mandalas: the Buddhist wheels used in meditation

Mandalas: the Buddhist wheels used in meditation

May 6, 2021

Mandalas are one of the artistic and cultural elements associated with meditation .

They are used in some Buddhist rituals, but it is also common to resort to them as a form of therapy. This can be confusing at first glance, so let's see how the mandala is used and what it really is.

Related article: "35 Buddhist phrases to find inner peace"

What are mandalas?

Summing up a lot, The mandalas are circular and concentric drawings related to symbolic elements of Hinduism or Buddhism .

Thus, all mandalas have a similar structure, which is usually a circle full of symmetric and concentric shapes. Beyond this, all the mandalas can be created as the person who draws them wants, including certain details and not others, choosing the details, etc.


What is the meaning of the word "mandala"?

The meaning of the term mandala has its origins in the Sanskrit language, and can be translated as "sacred wheel". This simple fact already indicates the relationship between the mandala and religion, and that is It is considered a symbol of healing and meditation, as well as representing a facet of the cosmos .

This symbolism is reflected in the forms presented in the mandala, all drawn inside a circle. Some forms, such as spirals or stars, are associated with certain meanings, and the same occurs with the shades used when painting mandalas.


In fact, the color palette used in the elaboration of a mandala symbolizes the nature of each of the chakras that according to the cultures related to Hinduism occupy different parts of the body. Thus, blue represents the fifth chakra and the sensation of calm, red symbolizes the first chakra and is related to passion, etc.

Beyond the classical representation of the mandalas, which is usually circular, also There are other types of mandalas with alternative forms , as for example with a contour in the form of a square. However, in all these drawings the direction of the contour towards the center is always emphasized and vice versa.

Mandalas and meditation

Knowing the symbolic nature of the elements that make up a mandala, you can come to think that these are simple pieces of folklore. However, it is not necessary to embrace mystical beliefs to use the mandalas. Because yes, these wheel-shaped drawings have a use beyond religion.


Like what happens with relaxation techniques, practically all meditation exercises focus on a basic task: managing attention and achieving an effect on bodily processes that are normally automatic, such as breathing.

The use of mandalas is not an exception in this regard, and its use during meditation sessions implies that we concentrate totally on them. In this way, drawing mandalas resembles some trance ways used in all kinds of religions .

The usefulness of the mandala

Thus, the use of mandalas is relatively simple, since it serves, basically, to be drawn and painted. That is, what is useful is not so much the mandala itself as the process of creating these figures and their coloring.

Of course, the way in which the act of drawing and painting mandalas is useful, however, it is a personal and totally subjective issue , since its use can not be equated to the use of scientifically validated therapeutic proposals. Something is that the mandalas are the result of religion and popular culture, and not the years of research made from the use of the scientific method.


Sand Mandalas Explained, with Losang Samten (May 2021).


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