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 ring of fire, rendered florally in rainbow colors.
Fire in Tantrism means knowledge. Without knowledge (prajna)
there is no possibility of arriving at supreme understanding.
Here, fire also means that believers who enter the mandala are
purified, as it were, and at their passage through the purging
fire, their ego and all their illusions will burn away.
Then there is a circle of lotus petals. Here the spiritual realm
begins and one enters the mandala.
Esoteric Buddhist thought believes that the cosmic mountain,
Mount Meru, where the gods live, is in the center of the cosmic
The Kalachakra mandala has as its center Mount Meru with the four
corners of the world around it. On a flat plane, only the
projection of this can be seen. The four corners are rendered as
four gates that are each colored differently. Each cardinal
direction is indicated by a color. The elements of earth, water,
fire, air, and ether that are symbolized by the structural
portions of a stupa and thus are also present in Mount Meru, are
indicated in the mandala by the various squares. Through the
entrance gates, the believer gets inside the mandala.
According to tradition, Shakyamuni Buddha is supposed to have
communicated the Kalachakra tantra in the mystical land of
Shambhala. It is in the heart of Shambhala, in the center of a
palace with nine stories, that there is believed to be a large
Shambhala is a mythic kingdom, believed to lie somewhere to the
north of Tibet, surrounded by high, snowy mountains. Shambhala is
a paradise on earth. Its people are not acquainted with illness
or hunger and nothing but happiness prevails. This practically
unattainable utopia can only be found by people who are
sufficiently pure of spirit and free of ignorance. The Panchen
Lamas are said to reincarnate as kings of Shambhala. At the
topmost layer of the painting can be seen the various kings of
This enviable paradise led to numerous literary and artistic
speculations in the West. The one that became most famous was the
creation of the ideal world of Shangri-La in the James Hilton
novel Lost Horizons, first published in 1933.
Each of our thangkas comes framed in silk brocade and veil, ready to be hung in your altar.
Of Related Interest:
The Buddhist Mandala - Sacred Geometry and Art (Article)
Kalachakra in Yab-Yum (Tibetan Thangka Painting)
Mandala (Sterling Silver
Ten Interlocking Syllables (Sterling Silver Finger Ring)
Om Mani Padme Hum (Sterling Silver Bracelet)
The Dalai Lamas of Tibet (Book)
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