Mandala Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

Do you know the meaning of mandala? This geometric figure in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism is a critical part of these religions’ visual identity.

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Art is one of the most impactful beauties in the world. It can have extensive symbolic meanings in many religions, and it has become a central point in the way many of us experience the world. 

The mandala design is one of the most recognizable types of Hindu and Buddhist art globally. At first glance, many of us simply see a beautiful design. In reality, the mandala is one of the world’s most important and universally acknowledged sacred symbols. The geometric shapes and techniques that make up this design have become sources of peace for people across teh globe. 

This is what the mandala is, where it comes from, and why it’s so important today! 

What iI a Mandala? 

Hindu and Buddhist mandala art is based around spiritual and ritual symbols used to represent the wholeness of the universe as a visual guide for meditation practices. It is used in many Asian cultures, including religious groups in India, Japan, Nepal, and Tibet. 

In Hinduism and Buddhism, geometric patterns are seen as a way to connect with the universe. The ​​maṇḍala is one of the most important symbols of spiritual awakening within these beliefs. 

Fundamentally, the mandala is typically created with a focus on the impermanence of life at large and the acknowledgment of the universe’s interconnectedness. In almost all cases, geometric designs within the mandala illustrate how everything is fundamentally connected. Within Buddhism, this helps to demonstrate the concept of the Brahman, which is the universal spirit of all things. 

The word mandala itself can be translated from Sanskrit as meaning “circle.” This is because most mandalas tend to fall into a circle pattern with many other shapes. Depending on the structure, it might look like a lotus flower due to the many conditions and designs that make up the mandala. 

A Brief History of the Mandala

While the mandala generally doesn’t have a single origin date or location, it is still a large part of Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Around 650 BCE, Siddhartha Gautama — the first Buddha — initiated Buddhism as a religious belief system. His teachings on enlightenment and cosmology changed world religions immeasurably. He taught and preached his philosophy to countless people, developing a passion for loving the world and embracing unity at large between all life. 

Over the following years and centuries, Buddhist monks spread their beliefs throughout Asia, following the Silk Road and many other trade routes that connected different parts of Asia. They used their mandalas as tools to meditate with and illustrate their beliefs to people around them. 

Around the 4th century, these symbols and geometric patterns became more and more prevalent in other cultures and moved from Tibetan Buddhism into Hinduism, Jainism, and Shintoism. 

Types of Mandalas

There are many different types of mandalas within the world of Buddhism and other religions. These four kinds of mandalas make up the majority of all mandalas today. 

Teaching Mandala

These specific mandalas are generally symbolic tools used to help convey the teachings of Buddhism or Hinduism. They represent philosophies and ideals carried by the creators and are often some of the most colorful and exciting in design. 

The intricate beauty of these mandalas makes them beloved and appreciated by people all over the world. They are some of the most aesthetically pleasing and beautiful mental maps ever created and have a significant impact on the lives and beliefs of people who use them. 

Healing Mandala

This kind of mandala is used for meditation and healing. Often, they are used in Hindu tantric practices alongside the concept of yantras. These mandalas are most often used to help stimulate effective meditation and feelings of calmness, relaxation, and peace. 

These mandalas are found in coloring books in some modern contexts because they are powerful tools for inner peace. 

Sand Mandala

Sand mandalas are a piece of art based on designs using extensive amounts of colored sand. These are one of the most popular types of mandalas and are often ritually destroyed in an attempt to display the impermanence of the world as a whole. 

Sand mandalas are widely regarded as some of the most essential and traditionally significant kinds of mandalas. They serve as an incredibly tactile and physical representation of people who believe in the concepts and ideas of Buddhism and Hinduism. 

Native American Mandalas

While Native American mandalas aren’t technically connected to Asian mandalas, they follow the same geometric patterns and designs. They are most commonly created to serve as dream catchers and clothing designs. 

Even though they were most likely created and designed independently from each other, the fact that Asian and Native American mandalas have so many geometric and spiritual similarities is worth noting. While they may not technically be mandalas on a fundamental level, Native American Mandalas are often explored in tandem with Asian mandalas. 


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  1. Mandala | Definition, History, Types, Meaning, & Facts | Britannica
  2. Mandala – Definition, Meaning & Synonyms |
  3. Mandala definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary