I am not here to teach you how to make a mandala. You are not likely to appreciate the lesson.
I am here to teach you how to draw one. The first thing you need to know is that all mandalas are wrong. They are wrong because they are incomplete. A wheel has spokes, but a circle has none. A wheel has a hub but no center. A wheel has no boundary, but a circle does. And so whatever your first attempt at drawing a wheel may be, it will always contain hidden inside it the germ of another wheel, another wheel that is also wrong but also complete, and so on forever.
I have made this mistake myself many times, and I have watched my students make it too. You do your best to draw what seems right, but something is missing or something looks off or maybe there’s just something that bugs you about the whole thing and you can’t put your finger on it but you know it isn’t right. If you’re lucky, you can fix it; if not, well then at least the drawing is finished and you can move on to something else.
A mandala is a diagram used in meditation. The word means “circle” in Sanskrit; it comes from the same root as the word “whole.” Mandalas are used for four different kinds of meditation:
— Chakra meditation, to balance and clear your energy centers (chakras).
— Image meditation, to focus your mind on specific visual images.
— Deity meditation, to connect with and worship specific aspects of God.
— Wisdom meditation, to realize the true nature of reality.
Mandalas can help you do all those things, but first you have to learn how to draw them. Why go through that trouble? What’s the point of learning to draw something that’s just going to be a crutch?
A mandala is a geometric design. If you want to know what one looks like, it is probably easiest to go on Wikipedia and look at some pictures.
You can think of a mandala as a window into another world. If you are creating a mandala, you enter the world of the geometric shapes. As you draw them, they take on lives of their own, perhaps even coming alive in your mind’s eye. You enter into these worlds, experiencing them fully.
And when you are done drawing the geometric patterns, you return to ordinary reality with new eyes. The shapes that surround you might seem just as familiar as before, but now they are seen through the lens of the mandala world that you have just visited. The daily things around you might still be completely familiar–but now they are also completely magical.
A mandala is a kind of picture. You can think of it as a window into a mathematical world, although not all mandalas have to be mathematically accurate. It is a way for you to get in touch with your subconscious mind. Drawing a mandala is a process that lets you look inside yourself and see what’s there.
Circles are very special shapes in geometry, so if you draw them in the right way they automatically give you certain mathematical properties. But even if you don’t draw them in the right way, drawing a circle will help you relax and let your unconscious mind take over from your conscious mind.
A mandala is a spiritual image representing the universe. There are thousands of different kinds of mandalas, in use by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Native Americans, for example. The word mandala comes from two sanskrit words that mean “circle” and “center”: the mandala is a picture of the universe with its center at the center of the picture.
The overall structure of one of these spiritual images often follows a pattern called the vajra-cakra , which shows how opposites are connected. In Western culture, “vajra” is usually translated as “thunderbolt,” but it’s better to think of it as a type of spring or vine or chain — something that can stretch or contract without breaking.
The chain metaphor works particularly well for the way I draw mandalas. Each line of my drawing is actually an arc, not a straight line; if you look at them closely you can see that they follow a complex curve through three dimensions, but they vary their direction more continuously than you would expect from looking at them on the page.
You can think of this drawing style as being more flexible than conventional Western art styles — more like vines than trees — but it has its drawbacks too.
Mandala art designs are complex drawings of patterns, flowers, animals, geometric shapes, and so on. What is a Mandala? Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “circle” or “essence.” It represents the universe in the shape of the circle. The universe is everything that exists around us. Mandalas have been used in meditation practices for thousands of years.
The purpose of creating mandalas is to find our own center. .
My first mandala was drawn in a class at the Buddhist center where I was studying. I don’t remember what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. It is hard to imagine something less like an art class than sitting on the floor of a candlelit room with a bunch of people, drawing with colored chalk on the bottom half of a big white folding screen. The teacher gave us no instructions whatsoever; she did not tell us what to draw or even what colors to use. She told us only to draw what we saw and make of it what we would.
When it came time for me to do my own drawing, I had no idea how to proceed; my previous experience with art involved following strict rules about shading and perspective and rendering folds in cloth. The teacher sat quietly behind me until I finished, then told me that this is how an artist listens: by watching the flow of the mind that makes the marks on the paper.