Thursday, March 31, 2016

Coloring Book Controversy

Everywhere I go lately I see these adult coloring books. They have intricate and detailed images to be colored. It is known that coloring is a good way to relax and it seems that lots of people are enjoying this simple way to unwind. I have been drawn to the ones that have flowers or animals and not so much to the sacred geometry ones for some reason. I have yet to buy a book but have participated in coloring with friends and family. I even have an app on my phone for the mandala images. 

Image result for mandala coloring booksImage result for mandala coloring booksImage result for mandala coloring books

I saw a video recently and I do not remember who or I would give him credit, that was talking about what you are giving your energy to and why these coloring books were being pushed so hard. At first I only saw these at art stores or book stores and now you can get them in line at the grocery store or Dollar General. It has really become a fad. I did a quick google search and here is what I found.

mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.

In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. 

yantra is a two- or three-dimensional geometric composition used in sadhanas, puja or meditative rituals. It is considered to represent the abode of the deity. Each yantra is unique and calls the deity into the presence of the practitioner through the elaborate symbolic geometric designs. According to one scholar, "Yantras function as revelatory symbols of cosmic truths and as instructional charts of the spiritual aspect of human experience"[5] (In Hindu)

So if I am reading this correctly, each symbol has a deity connected to it that your attention is being directed towards. 


In the many traditions where mandalas are used, there are different rites where the practitioner, at least metaphorically, establishes a dialogue with the symbol or deity at the core of the mandala by moving progressively from the outside towards the center. Once within the center, the practitioner connects with the central symbol or deity and he or she is able to perceive all manifestations as part of a single underlying whole and gets closer to the goal of enlightenment or perfect understanding.
The Vajrayana Buddhist school (Tantric Buddhism), has a very complex set of rituals. In order to help the disciples to gain enlightenment, they use a wide range of physical disciplines and tools including mandalas. This school believes that achieving enlightenment by traditional methods requires a very long time, even many lifetimes, while the methods used in Vajrayana can deliver the same result in just a single lifetime.

It seems that every culture has some form of Mandalas they use to connect to some spiritual source. As with most things some are probably good and some are probably bad. I wonder if these coloring books need a disclaimer to warn people that they might be connecting to a spirit. 

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