The next circle contains the eight dharmachakras that refer to the historical Buddha setting the wheel of the teachings into motion. Letters between the wheels indicate various deities.
Next is the water element circle, in blue color, containing wavelike ripples. The yellow-colored ring following it denotes the element earth.
Let us now consider the square area at the center of the mandala. Lines connecting the opposite corners of the square create four triangles of equal size. The point where their apexes meet is none other than the center of the mandala. Each of the triangle corresponds to one of the cardinal directions, and displays its characteristic color. In Tibetan paintings, the east - which is black - always occupies the bottom part. Each of the four outer sides of the square is interrupted in the middle by a T-shape. These are 'entrance gates,' since the square in the mandala is none other than a building or the ground plan of a palace.
Housed at the center of this palace is an eight-petalled lotus flower. The eight stylized petals refer to the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path of the Aryas or righteous beings, which comprises of:
1. Right Understanding 2. Right Thought 3. Right Speech 4. Right Action 5. Right Livelihood 6. Right Effort 7. Right Mindfulness 8. Right Concentration
Meditation on this mandala will help the practitioner imbibe and follow the Buddha's Eightfold path of spiritual perfection, the sure way to Ultimate Enlightenment, or Nirvana.
This thangka painting was created by the monk-artist Ram Bdr. Lama, at the Lama Thanka Painting School in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu.
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