Lecture: Enter the Mandala: Mental Maps and Cosmic Centers of Himalayan Buddhism

April 19, 2014
Mandalas are geometric maps of Vajrayana Buddhist visionary worlds. Appearing in both painting and sculpture, mandalas typically consist of nested squares and circles. These geometric forms define the center of the cosmos and the four cardinal directions. Minutely detailed and saturated with philosophical meaning, mandalas are a feast for the eyes and the mind. For Buddhist meditators, however, mandalas are not just images to view, but also worlds to enter. To work with a mandala, practitioners first re-create it in their mind’s eye, and then imaginatively enter its world. Dr. Durham explores the possibility of re-creating this kind of experience without years of meditative discipline.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition In the Land of Snow: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas.