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When paired with another mandala depicting the Five Wisdom Kings, this forms the Mandala of the Two Realms.

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.

This type of mandala is used for the mandala-offerings, during which one symbolically offers the universe to the Buddhas or to one's teacher.

Within Vajrayana practice, 100,000 of these mandala offerings (to create merit) can be part of the preliminary practices before a student even begins actual tantric practices.

In many tantric mandalas, this aspect of separation and protection from the outer samsaric world is depicted by "the four outer circles: the purifying fire of wisdom, the vajra circle, the circle with the eight tombs, the lotus circle".

As a meditation on impermanence (a central teaching of Buddhism), after days or weeks of creating the intricate pattern of a sand mandala, the sand is brushed together into a pile and spilled into a body of running water to spread the blessings of the mandala.

Such Buddhas are depicted depending on the school of Buddhism, and even the specific purpose of the mandala.By visualizing "pure lands", one learns to understand experience itself as pure, and as the abode of enlightenment.The protection that we need, in this view, is from our own minds, as much as from external sources of confusion.Every intricate detail of these mandalas is fixed in the tradition and has specific symbolic meanings, often on more than one level.Whereas the above mandala represents the pure surroundings of a Buddha, this mandala represents the universe.

Such Buddhas are depicted depending on the school of Buddhism, and even the specific purpose of the mandala.By visualizing "pure lands", one learns to understand experience itself as pure, and as the abode of enlightenment.The protection that we need, in this view, is from our own minds, as much as from external sources of confusion.Every intricate detail of these mandalas is fixed in the tradition and has specific symbolic meanings, often on more than one level.Whereas the above mandala represents the pure surroundings of a Buddha, this mandala represents the universe.In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.