The basic pattern of a mandala is a palace, envisioned not as a solid, but rather as made up of crystallized light, a jewel-like light that radiates through the composition. The palace is generally placed centrally and shaped as a square, a symbol of symmetry. Each of the four walls of the palace has a large ornamental gate decorated with vases, canopies, garlands, and victory banners.
A journey through a mandala symbolically recreates the journey to enlightenment or Nirvana. The meditator enters by the eastern gate and by encountering the sacred being residing at the heart of the mandala, transforms the five human delusions enumerated in the Buddhist scriptures to positive attributes. Indeed a mandala is identified by the central deity, and it is the power of this entity that the mandala is said to be invested with.
Here at the nucleus of the mandala resides the five-pronged Vishvavajra. Each of its five prongs transforms the following human delusions which obscure our true natures, into their respective positive attributes:
1). The delusion of ignorance becomes the wisdom of reality 2). The delusion of pride becomes the wisdom of sameness 3). The delusion of attachment becomes the wisdom of discernment 4). The delusion of jealousy becomes the wisdom of accomplishment 5). The delusion of anger becomes the mirror like wisdom
The outermost circle of the mandala is composed of stylized scrollwork depicting the sacred flames which must first consume our ignorance, stripping us of negativity and prejudice. The circular band coming next which consists of various sacred syllables and mantras, is the area of rejuvenating purification enabling and ennobling us, preparing us thoroughly for the seeds of enlightenment which lay in wait for us at the heart of the mandala.