During large-scale ritual activities, the lamas in the temple use millions of sand grains to depict the grand world of the Buddhist country. This world constructed from fine sand is called a mandala, also known as "sand mandala". In the Tantric culture of Tibetan Buddhism, the sand mandala symbolizes the origin of the structure of the universe, and its center is the dwelling place of the gods. This process may last for several days or even several months.
However, the precise Buddhist sand art created by the lamas with great efforts is not used to show the world its beauty. The world depicted in the sand will be swept away after a ceremony without hesitation, and it will disappear in an instant. And those sand will be put into bottles and poured into rivers.
What is the Tibetan Mandala's Meaning?
"Mandala” originated from Indian Buddhism and is used as a map where the Buddhist deities and relatives gather.
According to Tibetan Buddhism tradition, in order to prevent the intrusion of demons or non-Buddhists, practitioners used to draw a boundary circle or build an earthen altar at the practice site and set a Tathāgata statue on it. This represents Buddha and his true merits and virtues that are perfect and full without any deficiency. Later, the altar set and the boundary line were called mandalas.
The mandala paints the Buddhist ritual implements, and the deities’ palace, and the structure of the Buddha-field, constructing in three-dimensional or two-dimensional geometric shapes.
The Significance of Tibetan Mandala
When we talk about Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet monks' sand art is one of the ancient traditions in the artistic aspect.
In Tibetan culture, it's believed when young children see the Buddhist sand mandala, they get positive energy. Therefore, resulting in a peaceful and harmonious behavior when they grow older.
It is said that as long as you visualize the mandala, you can obtain vipassana or inner peace. If you can see the mandala, you will establish a deep relationship with the deity. The mandala can also purify the polluted environment and bring prosperity to the world.
If we go by the beliefs of Tibetan Buddhists, each Tibetan mandala has its own outer, inner, as well as secret meaning associated with it.
On the outer aspect, it's the signs of a divine form, while on the inner point, it's a way for a being to transform into an enlightened one. As for the secret level, the Tibetan sand mandala signifies an ideal balance of different energies of the body.
All these different aspects join together to purify the heart of a human being and perform healing at different levels too.