What is a mandala?

Almost 10 years ago, when I was studying communication sciences in Montréal, Canada, I discovered a beautiful website: The Mandala Project. It`s a great website, giving lot`s of interesting information about mandalas, education, the labyrinth project, . . . Another website I discovered there was  Starwheels, an extraordinary website from the artist Aya. Aya makes amazing mandalas, and feels for me very pure and integer.

I wrote, for the university, several papers about mandalas. Here you find a sample, a text that was inspired on  information given on the websites `The Mandala Project` & `Starwheels`.

“Mandalas” have been used in all cultures throughout history but they have been particularly developed in India’ (reference Mandala project). ‘In the Americas, Indians have created medicine wheels and sand mandalas. The Aztec calendar was both a time-keeping device and a religious expression of ancient Aztecs. In Asia, the Taoist “yin-yang” symbol represents opposition as well as interdependence. Tibetan mandalas are often very intricately painted illustrations of religious significance that are used for meditation. Both Navajo Indians and Tibetan monks create sand mandalas to demonstrate the impermanence of life in their spiritual practices. In ancient Tibet, monks created intricate mandalas with colored sand made of crushed semi-precious stones as part of a spiritual practise. The tradition continues to this day as the monks travel to different cultures to demonstrate the creation of the mandala and to educate people about the culture of Tibet’ (reference Mandala project).

But you don’t need to go to Tibet to experience a mandala! You have already encountered an infinite numbers of mandala’s in your live, you are even using them right now: your eyes! Look into the mirror; your eyes are round, so are mandala’s. But the most famous mandala’s you know are maybe the ones you see during Christmas: the star on the top of your Christmas tree, and the snow crystals on the outside of your windows.

You will notice by yourself that every mandala is always constructed around a center, a middle, an Essence. So do your eyes, which are constructed around the pupil, the essence of your eyes. Without that center, your eyes wouldn’t be of great value. ‘”Mandala”, in Sanskrit, means “that which contains the Essence”’(Reference Starwheels). ‘On our planet, living things are made of cells and each cell has a nucleus – all circles with centres. The crystals that form ice, rocks and mountains are made of atoms and each atom is a mandala. Flowers, spider webs and the rings found in tree trunks all reflect the primal mandala pattern. The “circle with a centre” pattern is the basic structure of creation that is reflected from the micro to the macro in the world as we know it’ (Reference Mandala project).We know our eyes have a primal mandala pattern and that they have an essence also: the pupil. But eyes aren’t functioning by themselves. There is a guided current of bio electricity flowing from your brains via the nerves to very small muscles, which are moving your eyeballs right now. In this way the real Essence of your eyes can never be the pupil, because the pupil doesn’t provide this bio electricity, our birth does!

Steven Vrancken

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