Mandala, is basically a Sanskrit word. It means circle and represents wholeness, unity, and harmony. Even though it is dominated by triangles and squares, a mandala includes concentric structures.
Various kinds of mandalas are applied for different purposes in Buddhism practices including the sutra & tantra. You can get dharma chakra mandala online, which will help you generate spiritual mental thoughts.
Outer mandala represents the world system. Mandala offering is a tantric initiation ceremony offering spiritual teacher a vow for bestowing tantric empowerment. Outer mandala can be offered in two ways
- Outer mandala comprises of flat-bottomed bowl held side up with three mounds of gems or raw grains placed on top of one another. It is enclosed within progressively small concentric rings and crowned with an ornate crown.
- On the other hand, this offering can be made with hand-mudra. It includes fingers inter-twined in specific pattern.
According to abhidharma teachings the system has 4 island-continents that surrounds Mount Meru, In Kalachakra system, world system shape differs a little. It has Mount Meru but includes four island-continents and eight small islands. Dalai Lama, his holiness often told devotees to imagine outer mandala as the solar system, earth, galaxy, universe, or planet just like the modern science visualizes them today.
The mandala helps to build positive energy but it depends on your level of concentration, purity of motivation and understanding the depth of voidness in oneself. Repeated outer mandala offering is needed to build positive force to break your existing understanding level and progress towards a deep level
Inner Class Anuttarayoga Tantra
Anuttarayoga tantra is the highest yoga tantra. It includes four offering levels correlating with 4 empowerments.
- Outer offering is related to external objects like water incense, flowers and more or desirable elements of your five senses. A kalash abhishek purifies your body for obtaining a Nirmanakaya (Body of emanations). It allows the devotees to visualize themselves as Buddha-figures.
- The aspects of internal offerings may include your whole body, where trunk represents Mount Meru and 4 limbs as four island-continents. This is a secret empowerment, which purifies the delicate energy-winds as well as speech for obtaining a Sambhogakaya (Body for full use). It allows complete stage practice of illusory body.
- Hidden offering creates blissful awareness. Offering of hidden mandala correlates with deep discriminating awareness. It purifies mind for obtaining dharmakaya (Body that encompasses deep awareness). It allows you to practice clear light or direct vision.
- A mandala offering of two inseparable truths includes pure appearance as Buddha figures and blissful cognition of awareness. It purifies the mind, body, and speech together for obtaining Svabhavakaya (Body that includes natural individuality). It allows you to practice amalgamated pair of two truths.
In this system the round symbolic mandala discs includes 4 heavenly bodies like sun, moon, rahu and kalagni. These represent the 4 delicate energy drops of waking, dreaming, deep sleep, and peak state. The 4 states are mentioned below –
- The kalash empowerment is bestowed from round symbol instead of a pot (kalash) containing sacred water like in anuttaryoga systems
- Secret empowerment is bestowed from round shape representing a womb
- Deep discriminating cognitive awareness is offered from round conventional bodhichitta energy-drops that slide down within the body
- The word empowerment is given from deep bodhichitta state
Mandala offering means the eagerness to give away everything in this universe to obtain teaching, vows, or empowerment.