Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Offering and Practice Mandala

Offering and Practice Mandala as used in Tibetan Buddhism. This example, made in Scotland by myself, one of many, is for a shrine. A plain base duplicate is used for the actual practice.
Alas with passing of time my hand/eye co-ordination has degraded. Now I work in other less demanding arts and crafts.

Offering and practice mandala. Silver, parcel gilt, engraved and bejewelled.
The preliminary practices are the approach in the preparation for the Tantric practice. In Tibet, it is known as Ngondro, which means 'something that goes before'. There are two kinds of preliminary practices, the first is the common / ordinary and the second is special / particular.

Fourth Foundation Practice Yoga - The Offering of the Mandala

The Mandala practice enhances the positive factors in attaining enlightenment. According to traditions, two small slightly convex metal plates, called the Mandalas, are used as a basis for meditation. One of them is placed on the shrine, as above. The other Mandala is held in the hand for making offerings with five piles of rice in a pattern, one in the centre and one in each of the four directions. This forms the basis for the visualization of the sources of refuge, the Three Jewels and the Three Roots, in the sky in front of the practitioner.

The actual visualization is built in stages. The first step is to create an idealized conception of the universe in four directions, then the seven attributes of the universe monarch (wheel, gem, consort, minister, elephant, horse and general), and then the eighth attribute is a great vase filled with treasures, which represent the eight cardinal and inter-cardinal directions, including East, South, West, North, SE, SW, NE, NW.

Next, the eight offering goddess are visualized in the cardinal directions, namely, the goddess of joy, the goddess of flower garlands, goddess of song, and the goddess of dance, then the other four in the inter-cardinal directions, i.e. goddess of flowers in SE, goddess of incense in SW, goddess of lamps, light and illumination in NW, and goddess of perfumed water in NE. The next elements are the sun and the moon, the world systems of greater and greater order of magnitude. One meditates and allows the mind rest in a state of formlessness, non-conceptual awareness and tranguility.

In making offerings, one should not simply benefit oneself, but benefit all sentient beings out of compassion.
May all beings be happy, may all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.


Anonymous said...

Wow absolutely beautiful made, do/did you sell mandala plates somewhere? Tx.

Peter Mannox said...

Thank you, as stated at the beginning of the post, my skills have eroded with age and I no longer make. Practice plates can be bought from Samye-Ling shop on line.