Mandalas of Light
Silent Light / 2011 / Terry Long
The Mandala (Sanskrit for “round” or “circle”) is a symmetrical image, usually circular, but frequently square or floral, that is used to focus concentration and promote meditation. It can have sacred meanings for both its creator and user. Various art mediums can be used to produce Mandalas, including drawing, painting, sculpture, embroidery and dance. Mandalas can be found in many cultures including the ancient Egyptians, Navajos, Hindus, Buddhists and Celts. All of these traditions have inspired my artistic exploration of Mandalas.
The act of creating the Mandala can be as important as the finished form. Some Mandalas are created in order to exist only for a brief time. Buddhist monks create their Mandalas with sand in a sacred and ritualistic way, and afterwards the Mandalas are ceremoniously brushed away and returned to the earth via the river. I had the rare chance to observe this ritual when several Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery visited the University of Redlands where I work, and near to where I live. This wonderful experience was inspirational.
My Mandalas are created with light. I chose to use this spontaneous and ethereal medium for my Mandalas so as to infuse them with a Zen-like quality. As a artist and photographer, it was natural for me to use light to draw and paint these Mandalas, and I found that this technique added a satisfying dimension to this form.
I hope these Mandalas bring you inner peace, as they continue to do for me. Thank you for sharing this experience with me.