As cosmic models and area of being of the gods, mandalas play an important role in the ritual. Monks either use actual representations of mandalas or visualise them in meditation.
Photo by Jon Warren
Tashigomang, wood, clay; H: 54 cm; 17th century; loan from the National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, Liverpool
This three-dimensional mandala shows, on various levels, the deities in all four directions of the compass of a specific school. A mandala palace is used by travelling narrators of religious stories. In order to explain his lecture, given in a singsong, the bard opens one gate after the other, thus showing the respective gods of a specific level and direction.