Buddha Life Laptop Skin
Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". In the Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the shape of a T.
These mandalas, concentric diagrams, have spiritual and ritual significance in both Buddhism and Hinduism. The term is of Hindu origin, but is also used in Buddhism. In the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism, mandalas have been developed into sandpainting.
In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts, as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. Its symbolic nature can help one to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises The psychoanalyst Carl-Gustav Jung saw the mandala as "a representation of the unconscious self" .
In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective.
The Stages of Buddha's Life (form The Teaching of Buddha)
1. The Shakya clansmen dwelt along the river Rohini that flowed among the southern foothills of the Himalayas. Their King Suddhodana Gautama had had built a great castle in Kapila and had ruled wisely, winning the joyful acclaim of his people. The Queen's name was Maya. For twenty years they had no children, then, after dreaming a strange dream of an elephant entering her side, Queen Maya became pregnant. The King and the people looked forward with joyful expectancy to the birth of a royal child. The Queen returned to her own home for the birth, and while on the way, she rested in the flower garden of Lumbini Park. All about her were Asoka blossoms and in delight she reached out her right arm to pluck a branch and the Prince was born and all, even Heaven and Earth manifested their joy. This memorable day was the eighth day of April. The joy of the King was extreme as he named the child: Siddhartha Gautama, which means, "Every wish fulfilled."
2. In the palace of the King, however, delight was quickly followed by sorrow, for after a few days lovely Queen Maya suddenly passed away. Fortunately her younger sister, Prajapati became the child's foster mother and brought it up with loving care. A hermit predicted: "This prince, if he remains in the palace after his youth, will become a great King to rule the Four Seas. But if he forsakes the household life to embrace a religious life, he will become a Buddha and the world's Savior." At first the King was pleased because of the prophecy, but later became troubled at the thought of the possibility of his only son leaving the palace to become a homeless recluse. At the age of nineteen, the King arranged the marriage of the Prince to the Princess Yasodhara.
3. For ten years the Prince was immersed in a round of music, dancing and pleasure, in the different pavilions of Spring, Autumn and Winter, but ever his thoughts reverted to the problem of suffering as he pensively tried to understand the true meaning of human life. He wished to understand the true nature of sickness, old age and death, and live a life that transcends all human suffering.
4. In his twenty-ninth year his only child, Rahula, was born. Gautama decided to leave his palace home and seek the solution of his mental unrest in the homeless life of a mendicant. He shaved his head, carried a begging bowl in his hand, and turned his mendicant steps to the south. The Prince first visited the hermit Bhagava and watched his ascetic practices; then he went successively to Arada Kalama and Udraka Ramaputra to learn their methods of attainment, but after practicing them for a time became convinced that they would not lead him to enlightenment. Finally he went to the Magadha country and practiced asceticism in the forest of Uruvilva on the banks of the Nairanjana river where it flows by the Gaya Castle.
5. The methods of his practice were unbelievably intense. He spurred himself on with the thought that "no ascetic in the past, none in the present, and none in the future, ever have or ever will practice more earnestly that I do." Still, the Prince could not get what he sought. After six years in the forest he gave up the practice of asceticism. He bathed in the river and accepted a bowl of food from the hand of Sujata, a maid who lived in the neighboring village. The five companions who had lived with the Prince for the six years of his ascetic practices thought him degraded thereby and left him. The Prince, thus, was left alone. He was still feeble but at the risk of his life he attempted a final meditation, saying to himself, "Blood may become exhausted, flesh may decay, bones may fall apart, but I will never leave this place until I find the way to enlightenment." He was beset with all the lures of evil. But carefully and patiently he examined them one by one and rejected them all, and when the morning star appeared in the eastern sky, the struggle was over and the Prince had found the path to enlightenment at last. It was December the 8th, when he was thirty-five years of age that the Prince became Buddha.
6. From this time on the Prince was known by different names; some spoke of him as Buddha, the Perfectly Enlightened One; some spoke of him as Shakyamuni, the Sage of the Shakya clan; and still others spoke of him affectionately as the Blessed One. He went first to Mrigadava in Varanasi where the five mendicants who had lived with him during the six years of his ascetic life were staying. At first they shunned him, but after he had talked with them, they believed in him and became his first followers. He went about the country living on alms and persuading men to accept his way of life. Two great teachers, Sariputra and Maudgalyayana, and their two thousand disciples came to him. At first the Buddha's Father, King Suddhodana, suffering inwardly from his son's retirement, held aloof, but afterward became his faithful disciple; and Maha-Prajapati, the Buddha's step-mother, and the Princess Yasodhara, his wife, and all the members of the Shakya clan, believed in him and followed him. And multitudes of others became his devoted and faithful followers.
7. For forty-five years the Buddha went about the country preaching and persuading men to follow his way of life, but at last, at Vaisali on the way from Rajagriha to Sravasti, he became ill and predicted that after three months he would enter Nirvana. Still he journeyed on until he reached Pava where he was made critically ill by food offered by Cunda, a blacksmith. Then he reached the forest on the border of Kuninagara castle. Lying between two large sala trees, he continued his teachings to his favorite disciples until the last moment.
8. Under the oversight of Ananda, the Buddha's favorite disciple, the body was cremated by his friends in Kusinagara castle. The ashes were divided and buried under eight great monuments.