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Paintings > Thangka > The Mandala which Defies Death
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The Mandala which Defies Death

The Mandala which Defies Death

The Mandala which Defies Death

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Tibetan Thangka Painting

1.8 ft x 2.5 ft
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The Mandala which Defies Death

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Viewed 5339 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
"If we keep in our minds the thought that one day of each of us will die, we can cherish every moment that we are alive. Embracing the knowledge of life's impermanence, we stare death boldly in the face!"

Romio Shrestha

The outermost circle of this mandala is composed of a ring of fire, depicted here as stylized scrollwork. This symbolizes the process of transformation which ordinary human beings have to undergo before entering the sacred territory within. The next is made up of lotus petals, signifying absolute purity and divine auspiciousness. Finally seated inside his square palace (a symbol of perfection) is Yamantaka, the fierce buffalo-headed deity, who is credited with conquering death itself. He is the annihilator (antaka) of Yama, the Lord of Death. The bull form of Yamantaka, points to Nandi, the favorite bull of Lord Shiva. One is reminded here that Shiva too, is the terrible destroyer whose boon is the incomparable one of illumination. Indeed enlightenment does conquer death, or more precisely, the fear of death.

Floating all around, in a black vortex of doom and decay, are various wrathful forms, dancing skeletons (Citipati), and other gory images. These horrific icons remind us of our ingrained fears and the mammoth nature of the task awaiting us on the path to true enlightenment.

Of Related Interest:

Article: The Buddhist Mandala - Sacred Geometry and Art

Tibetan Thangka Painting: Black Mandala of Manjushri

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Book: Sacred Mandala of Buddhism

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