(LONDON) por Paula Tooths
The term mandala in its traditional Buddhist context is a polyvalent term referring to several distinct yet interrelated concepts. It can refer to one’s microcosmic body, to the macro cosmic universe as a whole, to a two-dimensional bird’s-eyeview blueprint for a three-dimensional multi-storied palace, to one’s mind, or the path to Buddha hood itself. It can be danced,chanted, visualized or painted in colored sand or ink, but all of these mandala media function identically; that is, their purpose is to lead the adept into a radical self-identification with the empty nature of reality. In this vertiginous experience of non-differentiated being, one’s self, one’s body, one’s mind, the painted mandala palace, and the apparent mandala world should all be considered as parts or aspects of the same reality which Buddhists characterize as being empty of any permanent reality. Given this scheme, everything is mutually conditioned. No-thing, including the notion of the self, can exist in and for itself.
Unlike Hinduism which maintain the notion of a permanent, unchanging and divine self/soul (tman), Buddhist doctrine proposes that we realize the truth of no-self (antman). According to Buddhist doctrine, the self is but a karmically compelled confluence of influences which ultimately link back to all the other forms in the universe. It is a temporary conglomeration of sensations, perceptions, feelings and cognitions enveloped within a constantly changing form. The Buddhists therefore claim that everything exists in dependence upon everything else around it, and the whole is characterized as being impermanent and subject to constant flux and transformation. In this scheme of mutual dependence and impermanence of forms, the reified, permanent notions of “I,” “me,” “mine,” the self,” or “the ego” are considered to be dualistic contrivances that actually constitute the cause and karmic fuel for the suffering of conditioned existence (samsra). One’s task then, lies in eradicating the root cause of suffering (i.e. one’s own ego-driven desires) so that one can attain the detached equipoise of nirvana.