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Vitaliy Bugara


great and wonderful

Vitaliy Bugara


great and wonderful 2013

Content Foreword..........................................................................................................5 What is a mandala?........................................................................................6 Mandalas in nature.........................................................................................8 Mandalas in everyday life............................................................................12 Ritual mandalas............................................................................................29 Meditation and art therapy.........................................................................34 Mandala therapy...........................................................................................37 Sacred geometry...........................................................................................39 What do you need to know about color?..................................................41 Construction of a mandala.........................................................................44 Mandala artists ............................................................................................47 Literature.......................................................................................................53 About the author..........................................................................................54


Foreword In this book, I want to introduce you to the mandalas: to show their beauty, their mystique and to draw your attention to their extensive presence in our lives. I have tried to highlight only the key points in order to make your acquaintance easy and effortless. Illustrations in the book take up most of the material, because as the proverb says: “A picture is worth a thousand words.� My main goal is to awaken your natural desire for being creative and to fascinate you by the process of drawing itself. It gives pleasure, it heals, it allows you to look inside yourself. And the most important thing is that it helps to remember that you are primary happy. That your life is important and meaningful. That you are the chosen one if you have been given a life time. Vitaliy Bugara

P. S. I thank all the authors of the photographs, who kindly agreed to set them forth for illustrations in this book.


What is a mandala? A mandala is a geometrical composition symbolizing the spiritual and cosmic order. This is an attempt to portray the ultimate reality, which is not perceived by the senses. The mandala is a highly pictorial harmony of all its elements, symbolizing the divine harmony, opposed to the confusion and disorder of the material world. The word “mandala” is derived from Sanskrit and has multiple meanings such as: “circle”, “disk”, “orbit”, “space area”. All of these values imply a concentric shape and belong to the sacred sphere. There is a similar concept in many cultures, but the mandala is more well-known than others. Mandala is a tool of meditation. It helps to achieve a state of contemplation and concentration. It helps to study one’s inner world and promotes emotional and mental emancipation and relaxation. On the one hand, the mandala is a philosophical work containing the constructions of esoteric symbols and elements of sacred geometry. On the other hand, it is an abstract coloristic storyline, filled with color energies tuned to a specific emotional state. These energies resonate in the soul of every viewer: run deep mechanisms of self-regulation, awaken latent potential, inspire to creativity, provide impetus for spiritual growth and intensify internal human aspiration for Truth.

On the right: “Cathedral”. V Bugara. Canvas, acrylic, 80×80 cm, 2012


Mandalas in nature If we look around thoroughly, we can easily see that the mandala is ubiquitous in nature. Each flower shows us the most beautiful and unique pattern of a mandala.

Mandalas are present in the plant kingdom and in the kingdoms of minerals and animals as well. They evolve and mutate with us throughout life. A new growth ring appears on the tree trunk each year and the iris of the human eye is able to change against the mood and lighting. Mandalas are found in the microcosm and the macrocosm both. Some galaxies that are visible from the Earth look gigantic, constantly moving and changing mandalas...


Snowflake. Photo: Alexey Kljatow

Snail. Photo: Mike Dugenio Hansen

Eye Iris. Photo: Suren Manvelyan

Sunflower. Photo: Stig Nygaard

Tree rings. Photo: Gillie Rhodes


Pine cone. Photo: Melinda Chan

Web. Photo: Firstscene Images


Agate. Photo: Bill Morgenstern / Earth Moods

Wood fungus. Photo: Pablo Fernández Estévez

A computer model of the DNA. Slide from the Robert Langridge’s interview taken by Russ Altman in 2002

The galaxy Messier 74. Picture taken by Hubble telescope, NASA photo archive


Mandalas in everyday life Man has always learned from nature. All that coined and invented is spotted from her. Noticing a mandala in the heart of all things, people endowed them with special sacred and mystical features. Therefore, mandalas are present in many areas of human activity. Through art a man shows his innate desire to be creative, through which he improves and learns harmony, explores the inner world and the depths of his soul. Turning to religion, he learns the unseen, becomes aware of the unity of all things and improves spiritually. Discovering the thing that is impossible to describe, people render these revelations in metaphors, parables, figurative and symbolic systems. And mandala became a good tool for the expression of important knowledge about the subtle worlds, the Universe and God. Mandalas are widely used for decorative purposes. Very often they are the rapport ornaments on our clothes or component parts of patterns that adorn our homes. In this case, their symbolism moves from the conscious to the unconscious. We surround ourselves with mandalas, sometimes without realizing it, submitting to internal attraction to Beauty. Zodiacs and cosmograms are among the most interesting mandalas. At first glance, they may hardly be called mandalas, but they have all the features of these symbols. And what magnificent mandalas can be seen at the heart of the architectural works of the great Masters! Temples, churches, mosques and theaters are very complex, geometrically considered and verified mandalas, if you look at their design plans.


The Incan agricultural terraces at Moray (South America). Left photo: Google Earth, right photo: Ilya Varlamov

Fresco in the Temple of the Moon, refers to the Moche culture (South America). Photo: Matias Recondo Disc Cholo (Central America). The National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico City, Mexico). Photo: Miguel Gonzรกlez


Stone of the Sun (Spanish: Piedra del Sol) - monolithic basalt disc with a symbolic representation of the Aztec cosmogony and the solar cult (Central America). The National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico City, Mexico). Photo: Nestor Barbitta


Dendera Zodiac or Osiris Zodiac, was installed on the ceiling of a chapel on the roof of the temple of Hathor at Dendera (ancient Egypt). The Louvre Museum (Paris, France). Photo: Alexandre N.Isis


Phaistos disk, possibly dating to the Minoan culture. Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (Crete, Greece). Photo: Alexandr Serakov

Phoenician bronze bowl (Nimrud, Iraq). The British Museum (London). Trustees of the British Museum


Stonehenge — megalithic stone structure on Salisbury Plain (Wiltshire, England). Photo: Joe McNally/Sygma, National Geographic photo archive


A Byzantine roundel from Ariadne Galleries. (New York, USA). Ariadne Galleries

Ancient Zeugma mosaic. Zeugma Mosaic Museum (Gaziantep, Turkey). Zeugma Mosaic Museum Anglo-Saxon brooch (The Fuller Brooch) of the engraved decoration depicting the Five Senses. The British Museum (London). Trustees of the British Museum


Mosaic floor from the Villa of Dionysos. The Archaeological Museum of Dion (Greece). Photo: Carole Raddato


Mandala of Manjushri (Tibet, 15th century). Rubin Museum of Art (New York, USA). Rubin Museum of Art


Avalokiteshvara — Amoghapasha (Tibet, 15th century). Rubin Museum of Art (New York, USA). Rubin Museum of Art


Orthodox Icon “Eye of God”


Orthodox Icon of the Mother of God “Burning Bush”


The Rose Window of the Lausanne Cathedral of Notre Dame (Lausanne, Switzerland). Photo: Peter Bull

The Rose Window of the Fishergate Baptist Church (Preston, England). Photo: George D Thompson


Roman Catholic Cathedral of Santa Maria de Leon (Leon, Spain). Photo: Umberto Luparelli

The Rose Window of the Church of St. Mary (Cheltenham, England). Photo: Adrian Morgan

The Rose Window of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Barcelona, Spain). Photo: Nimajus Bagdonavicius

The Rose Window of the Museum synagogue at Eldridge Street (New York, USA). Museum at Eldridge Street


The dome of the Selimiye Mosque (turkish: Selimiye Camii), great architectural monument of Islamic culture (Edirne, Turkey). Photo: Bernardo Ricci Armani


The dome of the Temple of the Sun (Modera, Gujarat, India). Photo: Amit Patel


The dome of the Yazd city bazaar (Iran). Photo: Zeinab Sarikhani

The dome of the Capitol of Texas (Austin, TX, USA). Photo:


Ritual mandalas Since ancient times mandalas are used in the ritual ceremonies and spiritual practices. Thus the main role is assign to the very process of its creation. After the rite such mandalas are solemnly destroyed. Dream catcher is an Indians’ talisman of North America. It is made of willow twigs, animal tendons and threads. Its round shape symbolizes the daily journey of the sun across the sky; the threads are connected to the hoop in eight locations like the number of legs of a spider. By tradition, in the center of a weave that looks like a spider web, one ties a feather, symbolizing the air that is the main source of life. The Indians believe that the dream catcher holds the bad dreams and only pleasant and kind dreams penetrate through a small hole in the center. Catchers are not intended for a long term use. Willow dries out and breaks the thread tension hoop with the lapse of time. This reminds of the transience of life. Modern dream catcher is a very popular souvenir, which shape and design resembles an authentic talisman. Indians themselves consider such amulet usage as an undesirable cultural borrowing. Navajos believe that men and gods are joined together in the healing ceremony with sacred sand drawing. Dreamcatcher. Photo: Annette Lozinski The order and symmetry in the drawing symbolizes the


Creating mandala by Navajo Indian. Photo: Danny Lehman / Corbis

harmony that the patient wants to restore in his life. Pigments are made from sand, crushed gypsum, coal, ocher, sandstone, cornmeal, roots and plants bark. A patient is invited to sit down in the center of the picture and some tribesmen, who are next to the patient, sing healing songs. The spent sand is considered to be toxic, so the mandala is destroyed at the end of the sacrament.


Women of India sprinkle special symmetrical patterns at the front door of their home in the morning. They are believed to protect the residents of the house and bring understanding to the family. The are called differently in different regions, such as “colam”, “rangoli” or “alpona”, and they are made of milled rice grain. During the day, flapping patterns in the wind gradually disappear, but the next morning they are carefully restored. In Tibet, the art of creating sacred sand paintings is called dul-tson-kyil-khor, which literally means “mandala made of colored powder”. There exist strict rules for the construction of mandalas, including the use of geometric shapes and a variety

Just drew rangoli, timed to the fire festival. Photo: Nevil Zaveri


of spiritual symbols. These sand mandalas are used as a tool for the sanctification of the Earth and its inhabitants. The ritual begins with the consecration ceremony of the platform and the materials that will be used to create a mandala. Immediately after the ceremony, the monks begin to work on the marking scheme. The central and diagonal lines are plotted with a clean white yarn to be woven by young girls and bought without bargaining. This thread is lowered into the white fine-ground sand, and then the monks pull it over the surface of the platform, gently lift over the middle and release. A white trail remains on the platform. The other lines are plotted with chalk, pencils and rulers. This painstaking work takes several hours. The next few days the monks fill the scheme with colored sand with the help of some special tapered metal tubes, called in Tibetan chak-pur. Sanding starts from the center to the periphery. According to tradition, four monks are working on the mandala creation. Each of the monks is responsible for a certain side of the world. A ready-made mandala lives for as long as a ritual of its creation lasted. After this period, it should be destroyed, because its main purpose is to serve as a tool for meditation practice. Before the mandala destruction, the monks ask the deities that were in a sand palace during all these days to return to their locality. The sand is then placed in a large bowl and all of them go to the river in a beautiful procession with music, where the sand is poured into the water.


Creating mandala by Buddhist monks from Tibet. Drepung Loseling Monastery, Inc.


Meditation and art therapy Meditation is a tool for self-discovery and self-healing. Its basic principle consists in the willful attention direction to a particular object of contemplation. Such objects can be material objects, physical sensations, thoughts and ideas. External objects of contemplation are better to be chosen between works of art, esoteric and religious symbols. Observation of natural processes is a perfect thing for relaxation: leaf swinging in the wind, clouds moving, sunrise and sunset, the flow of water, surf, fire or stars shining. Internal objects of contemplation may become some physiological processes (heart beat, blood flow in vessels, respiratory lung function) and feelings (stress, pain, vibration). Meditative reflection on the postulates of the spiritual teachings, cause and effect, the cosmic laws and sacred meanings of words contribute to the expansion of consciousness. A special state of mind, the so-called bliss, is achieved with the utmost concentration on prayer. In the process of meditation, it is important to note how your physical sensations, visual images, spontaneous thoughts or answers to urgent questions at the moment are changing. The meditative state may come not only during the static contemplation, but in motion with the full concentration on the dancer’s dance, the musicians may concentrate on the executable work, and the artist may concentrate on the process of painting. Any activity can be a meditation if the concentration on it is so high, so as everything else ceases to exist. As already mentioned, meditation is not only a tool for self-knowledge and knowledge of the world, but also an effective healing tool. The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung used mandalas successfully to diagnose and cure mental illnesses. For example, we can find the causes of current problems by focusing on the past events.


Making the cause conscious and the awareness of its value takes off mental blocks, removes “energy tube�, which in turn heals the physical body. Dynamic meditations associated with the creative work are called art therapy and, in my opinion, deserve special attention. Let’s dwell at length on the drawing. Both adults and children, who are not able to express their feelings and emotions through verbal forms, can draw. At the same time, children and adults, who have forgotten how to draw, cope with spontaneous abstract paintings and manipulation of them quite successfully. One can not only diagnose mental and emotional state, but also adjust this condition with the help of drawing. The scope of impact of this method is so enormous that psychologists affirm that it helps to solve almost any problem. There are simple techniques to get rid of complexes and fears, learn to enjoy life, to have confidence in your abilities and openly express your feelings. For example, a good way to get rid of childhood fears is to draw them. Fears that are drawn with a pencil can be erased. Fear figure can be hidden in a box, thus emphasizing that the fear is outside, not inside. One may complete the picture of a color fear with bows, mustache, and bunny ears or in any other ways to turn a frightening image in a funny and positive one. The main task of these techniques is to draw every detail, throw out the accumulated stress, excessive excitement, anxiety and to bring out everything that deprives the inner peace and harmony.


Mandala of the “Red Book” of CG Jung


Mandala therapy Mandala therapy is a form of art therapy, based on working with mandalas. Such operation with the mandala can be passive (contemplative) or active (the process of creating a mandala itself). In the first case, the work is being done mostly on a subconscious level. Considering the mandala, the viewer does not do any reflection or analysis. Attention randomly travels in the image, from one color spot to another, from figure to figure, from line to line. At first glance falls on simple forms, but gradually begins to encompass more complex visual groups of objects and their relationships. In such a way the work to streamline and harmonize what one have seen, is performed unconsciously. At the same time such process takes place in the subconscious, but the thoughts, feelings and emotions are ordered and harmonized. Everything organizes without our conscious participation. Geometric mandalas are more suitable for the contemplative therapeutic work. They do not cause specific associations, thereby not diverting the mind from the contemplation of the process to the process of deliberation. Attention is held in the form and colors enliven the image, bring more emotion into it. A contemplating person gains the mood: appeasement come or, conversely, the deÂŤHappinessÂť. V Bugara. Canvas, oil, 60Ă—60 cm, 2009 sire to act. In each case, the viewer finds in a man-


dala the thing that appeals to his current state, draws the energy that is necessary for him at the moment. The second way of dealing with the mandala is the process of painting a readymade scheme. In such a way, unconscious processes are reflected on a paper with the possibility of further analysis of the mental state and the choice of the method of its correction. Although the process of painting itself has a positive therapeutic effect: a man tries to decorate and harmonize the space of the worksheet, and the same thing is happening in his inner world. This process is at a deeper level than in the case of a passive contemplation. The third method is more complicated, but it has the most powerful influence. These are the independent design and coloring of mandalas. The division into stages of designing and painting is relative; mandala can be drawn right in color, gradually complicating its pattern. An artist does not simply transfers his experiences by creating his mandala, he constructs an entire matrix, reflecting the many facets of his inner world with a complex chart of many of his constituents. If we consider a mandala from the point of view of psychoanalysis, so it is a detailed map of the current mental state of the author. And if we include consciousness, put a definite meaning and promise in your work, it is possible to construct a mandala that could have a therapeutic effect on the viewer. It will be the visual tuning fork to tune in to a certain emotional mood and will be a good tool for meditation. The mandala that is charged with love energy, beauty and goodness can even harmonize the environment.


Sacred geometry Since ancient times, people have searched for a universal language that could express the relation between things and phenomena in the world. This search resulted in the emergence of different symbol systems. All of the processes occurring in the Universe have a mathematical basis and can be expressed in numbers. In the Hermetic philosophy symbolic values of the numbers refer to the area of secret and sacred. The world of numbers is identified with the set of reasons. Incarnating in the physical world, the numbers take the form of geometric shapes, such as: 1—point, 2—angle, 3— triangle, 4—square, 5—pentagram, etc. Sacred geometry is a symbolic language, which recreates all the processes of the universe, a kind of a universal law that controls all aspects of life by means of numbers, shapes and relationships between them. The ancients noticed that sacred geometry facilitates communication with the Creator. The study of its principles promotes heart opening and consciousness development. The methods of sacred geometry have a close relationship with spiritual practices, they help to create a certain mood during a specific spiritual activities. Sacred geometry is the principle of the world “Gates of the Heavens”. V Bugara. Canvas, acrylic, 60×60 cm, 2011 order, translated into the language of symbols


available for the understanding by a man. This language helps to comprehend the laws of life, thereby being a mean of resolving the major life questions. It brings to the understanding of the purpose of existence and the realization of its life program (meaning of life). Geometric forms are not sacral at all. Anyone can draw a circle, square or any other figure. But, if you enter into a special state of mind by means of a prayer or meditation, and it would work with your own geometric pattern, filling it with something more than just colors and shapes, your drawing may become sacred. The impact of spiritual ener“Prayer”. V Bugara. gies allows us to move from the geometric design Canvas, acrylic, 60×60 cm, 2011 to sacred geometry. The form for the sake of the form itself does not make sense. It is valuable only when the artist has been able to express a piece of his inner world and his spiritual essence. The application of sacred geometry in the construction of mandalas fills them with a deep sense, as well as makes them visually quite harmonious.


What do you need to know about color? Everything that exists on the Earth has a dual nature: day and night, light and darkness, good and evil. In the color palette, you can also select a pair of colors that are contrasting to each other: black and white, blue and orange, red and green... If you look closely, it becomes apparent that the apparent duality is actually a triad. Thus, any process has three stages: initiation, continuation and ending. We perceive Time in three hypostasis: past, present and future. The number series is divided into positive numbers, negative numbers and zero. In the religious and esoteric concepts the world has three main levels: the higher worlds (Paradise), the earthly world and the lower worlds (Hell). Similarly, the basic color systems are based on three colors, for example, red, yellow and blue colors can be obtained by mixing the orange, green, purple, and all the other shades. Number Seven has a special sacred meaning and is also present in a variety of colors: these are the main colors of the visible spectrum of light waves, the colors of the rainbow. All of these examples point to the fact that the colors are not just the outward signs of the objects. They create a certain emotional experience, which is translated into the language of symbols: red — love and passion, green — life, light blue — peace and serenity... What do you need to know about color for coloring mandalas, or working in any other genre of intuitive painting? As an answer to this question I want to quote a passage from an essay by the artist and the poet Yuri Kosagovskiy: “A tint should please the artist, rendering his point of view and his trend of thought or feelings (which is the same in painting). A viewer has the ability without straining himself,


Exercise at the rate of color in BGTHI, 2nd year, the Department of Interior and Equipment, 1974. Head: Mironova LN


but just by feeling, to fly over those distances, where the artist was swept away during the work...� Put your heart in drawing, improvise and do not hesitate over the selection of colors. Do this intuitively, and then the right colors will be chosen by themselves and shades will find each other. The main thing is to find and catch the right wave, to be filled with the spirit of creativity, to feel joy and pleasure in the process of drawing. And then your picture will be filled with not just the play of shapes and colors, but also will get a powerful boost of creative energy.


Construction of a Mandala In order to construct a geometric mandala one needs a pencil, a paper and a strong desire. The main thing here is the tranquility and mind relaxation. After the first drawn shape, the second will immediately appear by itself. It will ask to «hug» the first one or fit into it. Your mandala is like a snowball rolling down the hill. It will soon acquire with lines and shapes and turn into an intricate pattern that you did not even imagine at first. If time has flown by you unwittingly, it means that your soul was painting together with you. For example, let’s consider a staged creation of my mandala painting «A Spark of Inspiration». And let the spark ignite the flame of your inspiration.











Steps 1—8: mark up, step 9: remove the extra lines and add a decorative circles.


“A spark of inspiration”. V Bugara. Canvas, acrylic, 40×40 cm, 2012


Mandala artists My acquaintance with mandalas happened when my wife presented me a book by Norbert LĂśsche “Mandalas in Acrylâ€?. For the first time I saw a mandala as an independent work of art. It struck me how geometric shapes interacted with each other by color contrasts, all the while joining together in some new and new items. A circle turned into a star, a flower bloomed out of her and became a deep tunnel... As a viewer, I was struck by the metamorphosis and magnetism of these pictures. As an artist, I admired how a seemingly static symmetrical composition could be so vibrant and dynamic. I wanted to create a geometric mandala by myself. After coloring several constructed circuits, I discovered that the same design can look different depending on the selected colors. And special internal feelings show up when one is looking at or coloring these pictures. All these aroused in me an even greater interest in the study of mandalas. Since then I have been studying, analyzing and creating mandalas. A simple curiosity has grown into a professional career, and eventually has gone beyond just art. After all, the language of symbols is used in a mandala. A lot more information than just its decorative pattern contains in its symbolism. I want to introduce you the mandala artists whose works inspire me up till now. I hope that their works will fill you with the inspiration and a spirit of experimentation.


Charles Gilchrist USA

“The contemplation of Sacred Geometry through the processes of studying or creating Mandalas (openeye meditation) can literally lead the to enlightenment.�


Norbert Lösche Germany

“Mandalas have a pleasant and relaxing aura and create a positive mood in the surrounding area.”


Alena Ratushniak Ukraine

“The main purpose of the mandala is to learn the true nature and help it to reunite with the personality. Thus integration takes place and a holistic man is reconstituted.�


Xie Caomin



Eric Standley


“I hold allegiance to a faith of my own construction, which is reinvented on a daily basis.�


Literature Andre van Lysebeth. Pranayama: The path to the mysteries of Yoga. — Moscow: Ex Libris, 2003 Asaulyak Olga. Book of Lights. — Moscow, 2008 Baal Sulam. The essence of Kabbalah. — Zhironkina Julia. The Tibetan sand mandalas: Buddhist Tantric Monastery Gyudmed. — Samara: MonksArt, 2002 Kucherenko Andrey. How to recognize an awakened person. — Mironov V.B. Ancient civilizations. — Moscow: Veche, 2006 Mironova L.N. From zero to the trinity. — Neapolitaskiy S.M., Matveev S.A. Sacred Geometry. — St. Petersburg: Institute of Metaphysics, 2004 Roshal V.M. Encyclopedia of symbols. — St. Petersburg: Sova, 2005 Selivanova Daria. Children’s art therapy. — Drepung Loseling Monastery, Inc. The Project of the Center for the Study of Tibet “Mystical Arts of Tibet” — Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia —


About the author Vitaly Bugara is an artist, an illustrator and a designer. He lives and works in Kiev. The author works in painting, children’s illustration, graffiti, street art, calligraphy and many other directions. His diverse creative experience helped to realize the relationship between creative and spiritual bases. Mandala is the result of combining these two ways of self-development. More about the author and his work can be found on his website:


Mandala is a geometric composition symbolizing the spiritual and cosmic order. It is a tool for meditation, healing and helps to heal and restore the integrity of the person.

Bugara mandala en  
Bugara mandala en