mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. In common use, “mandala” has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmosmetaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.
The term appears in the Rigveda as the name of the sections of the work and vedic rituals use Mandalas such as nava graha mandala to this day. Mandala is also used in Buddhism.
Mandalas are commonly used by tantric Buddhists as an aid to meditation.
The mandala is “a support for the meditating person”, something to be repeatedly contemplated to the point of saturation, such that the image of the mandala becomes fully internalised in even the minutest detail and can then be summoned and contemplated at will as a clear and vivid visualized image. With every mandala comes what Tucci calls “its associated liturgy … contained in texts known as tantras“,instructing practitioners on how the mandala should be drawn, built and visualised, and indicating the mantras to be recited during its ritual use.
Mandala by Wikipedia