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Truly Seeing

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Mandala is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning "sacred circle that protects the soul." It also refers to the sacred cosmograms that serve as core symbols of all cultures. Westerners have been fascinated for centuries about the mandalas of the Hindu-Buddhist cultures of Asia, most often painted geometric diagrams of great beauty and sophistication, that draw the viewer into a realm of balance, harmony, and calm. But such diagrams are actually architectural blueprints of the purified realm of bliss that we can only realize through enlightenment. They represent three-dimensional spaces of personal and communal exaltation, palaces for the regal confidence of love, compassion, and universal satisfaction of self and other. Understanding their role in anchoring the world-picture of a culture or a person provides a new insight into the "mandalas" of our own culture – the national space anchored by the Washington monument and its environs, or the personal cosmological space anchored by the models of the solar system, the DNA double-helix molecule, and the atom.
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