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Abstract“Mandala” is a Sanskrit word generally used to refer to a painting, diagram, or architectural structure with a particular symbolic meaning. Mandalas are often artistically beautiful and can be used to depict stages of the spiritual journey, the teachings or realm of a spiritual adept, or even life or the universe more generally. Perhaps the most well-known type of mandala are those comprising colored sand that can take many weeks to construct. In certain meditation traditions, the offering of a sand mandala concludes with the mandala being wiped with a brush to signify impermanence. Although mandalas often have elaborate designs, they can also be very simple. For example, there is an amusing story about the Indian Buddhist saint Naropa who was walking in the desert with his teacher, Tilopa. In his typical spontaneous manner, Tilopa decided to perform an initiation but Naropa had nothing on his person to offer his teacher. Consequently, Naropa proceeded to urinate in the sand in order to create a mandala that he could offer to his teacher. This was acceptable to Tilopa who then continued with the transmission. Some people find mandalas to be useful aids to meditation and spiritual practice. Among other applications, they can help spiritual practitioners work mindfully (i.e., during the creation of the mandala), engage in purification and healing practices, request blessings from spiritual teachers, and remember the transitory nature of life and phenomena. This paper explores how the mandala principle can be used to deepen our relationship with the present moment.
CitationVan Gordon, W. et al. (2017) 'The Mandala of the Present Moment', Mindfulness, 8(6), pp. 1720-1722.