I've become a bit obsessed with creating mandalas, but I haven't really written anything about their meaning. In Sanskrit the word mandala means circle or center. The circular shape symbolizes the cosmos. Mandalas can be used as a vehicle for concentrating the mind. They are symbols of integration, harmony and transformation. Tibetans view the center as the abode of the deity, and while I stitch away I'm always drawn back to the center, the point of origin from which awareness expands. I became a bit curious what would happen if I experimented with the center. This mandala is meant to be hung in a window. It has a clear glass cabochon in the center. The light freely radiates through it. I think it's an interesting effect.
A Cup of Tea
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
From Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings. Complied by Paul Reps.