“A Mandala is an integrated structure organized around a unifying center.”
Longchenpa (14th century)

“Get back to the center, right back to the center.”
Paul Brady (20th century)

Tibetan Sand Mandala

Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle, which through centuries of religious practices has come to denote circular images traditionally used (e.g., in Tibetan Buddhism, Navajo healing rituals) to assist in concentration, meditation and healing. The center of the circle is its point, or in Sanskrit “bindu,” the place from which the circle is created. Developing from the center of the mandala are its arms or radiations, usually in our case four or multiples of four.

The modern champion of the awareness and use of mandalas is C.G. Jung. Mandalas played a crucial role in the development of his psychological theories, especially as he turned away from an earlier Freudian orientation. From his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections:

When I began drawing mandalas, I saw that everything, all the paths I had been following, all the steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point—namely to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation. During those years, between 1918 and 1920, I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the self. There is no linear evolution; there is a circumambulation of the self. I knew that in finding the mandala as the expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.

From the explosive development of new pathways in spirituality and psychology since the 1960s, a neo-Jungian orientation toward the use of the mandala for personal transformation has now become commonplace. Attributed to positive interaction with mandalas has variously been growth, centering, integration, wholeness, balance, harmony, meditation, relaxation, identity, self, access to the core of one’s being, serenity, and the promotion of healing of a plethora of actual mental and physical illnesses.

For the purposes of mandelmandala, the mandala is an art form, unified and naturally occurring as chaos is transformed into order in the fractal generation process. We take no position on the psychologically transformative and integrative powers of mandala interaction and contemplation as such. But as concerns the healing and restorative power of art, we have no doubt.