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(mŭn`dələ), [Skt.,=circular, round] a concentric diagram having spiritual and ritual significance in Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism. The mandala may have derived from the circular stupa and the ritual of walking around the stupa in a circle. The mandala is seen as a microcosm embodying the various divine powers at work in the universe, and it serves as a collection point for the gods and universal forces. Numbers of deities have specific positions in the diagram, and the symbolism and structure of the mandala are highly elaborated. The mandala symbolizes the totality of existence, inner or outer. Mandalas are used in meditation, particularly in Tibetan BuddhismTibetan Buddhism,
form of Buddhism prevailing in the Tibet region of China, Bhutan, the state of Sikkim in India, Mongolia, and parts of Siberia and SW China. It has sometimes been called Lamaism, from the name of the Tibetan monks, the lamas [superior ones].
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 and Japanese tantric Buddhism (see KukaiKukai
or Kobo-Daishi
, 774–835, Japanese priest, scholar, and artist, founder of the Shingon or "True Word" sect of Buddhism. Of aristocratic birth, he studied the Chinese classics as a young man, but left the university and became a wandering ascetic, eventually
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). Similar ritual drawings have been found in the sand paintings of Native North Americans and in other traditions.


See G. Tucci, Theory of Practice of the Mandala (1969); M. Arguelles, Mandala (1972); D. F. Bischoff, Mandala (1983). For an analytical psychology perspective, see C. Jung, Mandala Symbolism (tr. 1972).

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What does it mean when you dream about a mandala?

A mandala is an intricate design, usually of circular or square patterns, used in meditation to focus the mind: One gazes at and concentrates on the center or on a dot within the center of the design. This meditative concentration brings about a state of mind in which healing, harmony, and order can be restored. In Jungian psychology, mandalas represent the Self. To dream of a mandala may signal that it is time for the dreamer to look inward, or it may be a reflection of the positive changes the dreamer is experiencing in waking life.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


1. Hindu and Buddhist art any of various designs symbolizing the universe, usually circular
2. Psychol such a symbol expressing a person's striving for unity of the self
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A system based on Concurrent Prolog, developed at ICOT, Japan.

["Mandala: A Logic Based Knowledge Programming System", K. Furukawa et al, Intl Conf 5th Gen Comp Sys 1984].
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