Tibetan Thangka of Palace Kalachakra Mandala
Everything in this mandala is the symbolic representation of some aspect of the Kalachakra deity and the deity's universe. There are 722 deities in the mandala which symbolise various manifestations of aspects of consciousness and reality, all part of the ultimate wisdom of the Kalachakra deity. Understanding and interpreting all of the symbols included in the mandala would be like reading the Kalachakra texts, which contains a vast range of teachings from cosmology to epistemology to psychology.
The Kalachakra Tantra is interpreted at three levels referred to as external, internal and alternative. The external concerns the laws of time and space of this physical world and accordingly deals with astronomy, astrology and mathematics. The internal concerns the elements and structure of the human body, including its energy system. The alternative is the doctrine, path and fruit of the actual meditational deity and its circular mandala abode.
The Kalachakra deity resides in the centre of the mandala. His palace consists of our mandala, one within another: the mandala of body, the mandala of speech, that of mind, and the very centre, wisdom and great bliss.
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