Mandala of Guhyasamaja

The Guhyasamja Tantra is a highest Yoga Tantra, and is often called the King of Tantras.

Guhyasamaja sand mandala

Guhyasamaja sand mandala

All Buddhist teachings can be traced back to the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in India two and half thousand years ago. All the teachings are based on the Four Noble Truths the Buddha taught in the first sermon following his Enlightenment: the recognition that every living being experiences sufferings; the understanding of the causes of this sufferings; and the path or methods by which to achieve Liberation from sufferings, or full Enlightenment.

The Buddhist Tantric teachings include methods for the purification of the psycho-physical components of human beings through meditation upon a pure being or deity, within a pure environment, or mandala. The deities who inhabit a mandala are not external gods; rather, they symbolize the Enlightened State, which everyone has the potential to realize.

Description of the Guhyasamaja mandala

The mandala, usually constructed from coloured sand particles on a horizontal base, depicts the residence of the 32 deities, of whom the principal figure is Buddha Akshobya in the form of Guhyasamaja. The other deities are all different appearances of the central deity manifesting in varying forms. Although depicted here on a flat surface, like an architect’s plan, the mandala is actually a three-dimensional “divine mansion”.

Guhyasamaja mandala painting

Guhyasamaja mandala painting

Every aspect of the mandala has meaning; nothing is arbitrary or superfluous. The mansion is square with four walls, each wall having a doorway in the middle. The entire mandala rests upon a green lotus, around which can be seen a border of 64 lotus petals. A fence of protective vajras surrounds this border. The outermost fence is of coloured flames, representing the fire of wisdom. Inside the square mansion, the centre of the circle and four directions represent the five Buddhas who correspond to the five psycho-physical aggregates or components of a human being, and who purify impure states of mind; in the blue centre, Akshobya purifies anger into the wisdom of reality, to the white Eastern direction, Vairochana purifies ignorance into mirror-like wisdom, in the yellow Southern direction, Ratnasambhava purifies pride and greed into the wisdom of equality; in the red West, Amitabha transforms craving and attachment into analytical wisdom; and in the North, Amogasiddhi turns jealousy into all-accomplishing wisdom.

The meditation

As a meditator practicing the Tantra of Guhyasamaja, one would familiarize oneself with every detail of the mandala and the deities within it, engaging in repeated exercises based upon visualizing the pure beings and pure environment which symbolize one’s own being and environment in purified, sublime form. Such exercises, carried out within the basic Buddhist framework of developing wisdom and compassion, bring about a profound transformation of the psyche.

Just to glimpse this sand mandala, however is thought to establish a positive connection with this profound Buddhist Tantra, and to sow positive seeds upon the mind stream of the observer which will ripen beneficially in the future as the events of our world system manifest as predicted in the Buddhist teachings.

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