A "mandala" means "circle" in Sanskrit, and they are used as artistic representations of higher thoughts and are used as spiritual tools to focus one's attention. They first appeared in India in the text known as the Rig Veda, going back to 1500 B.C., but is found in many other cultures around the world throughout different time periods and up to our days.
The shapes, symbols and meaning of a given mandala depend on the individual creating or observing the image, but mandalas in all cases they encourage introspection, ideally leading to an insight of one's purpose in the world, and thus peace of mind.
Though is some places or traditions they may have a special meaning, in general terms, the forms used to shape a mandala do not have a set meaning, except for the one creating it.
However, in religions of the East, mandalas generally represent maps of the universe and deities, and the spiritual journey, starting from outside to the inner core, through layers.
Mandalas are most commonly used as a meditative tool and spiritual exercise in Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Shintoism.
What is special about Mandalas?
What is special about mandalas, more than the result, is the creation process that is most important.
It takes concentration, introspection and inspiration to design your mandala. It is a fascinating unfolding of creativity and surely something you will want to try.
Mandalas can be made on paper, with ink, paint, carved on wood, onto stone, with wool, beads, and in the case of Buddhism, they are sometimes made with colored sand.
In the Tibetan traditions, the mandala aims to depict the enlightened state of Buddha, and can take weeks to create, placing the colored sand carefully in the desired shapes. After a mandala has been created, a mandala ceremony is held where the monks pray and meditate, and is then destroyed to affirm the impermanence of things/everything, in other words it’s a reminder of the transitory nature of material life.
Of course at our studio we will not attempt to make sand mandalas, but rather use pens, pencils and paper for the design and color in with colored pencils, felt pens, or using brushes and acrylic or water colors.
You are welcome to use our free downloadable to print and practice coloring in! Click on document to download PDF.
Main reference source: wikipedia.org