Religion Past and Present

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(331 words)

[German Version]

(Sanskrit “circle”). Especially in the Tantric forms of Indian religion (Tantrism), maṇḍala designates the arrangement of deities in a cosmos-palace. Traditional (Purāṇas) cosmology (ring-shaped continents surrounding a central mountain) persists in the concentric circles of the maṇḍala. The subdivision into four quadrants represents the cardinal points; squares symbolize the palace, further square elements mark its gates, etc. The main deity resides in the center of the maṇḍala, while other deities flank it in the peripheral segments. The Buddhist maṇḍala

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Schneider, Johannes, “Maṇḍala”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 09 August 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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