The Mantra Garlands

This unique set of paintings was created in the late 1980’s to familiarise Western Dharma practitioners with Tibetan Buddhist meditation. Used as visualisation aids, they help one to develop special qualities, for example, wisdom, compassion or healing.

The practitioner visualises these at the heart chakra of the deity, or in tantric practice, within one’s own body. Qualified teachers of these practices say they can be visualised in English (or one’s own language) or Tibetan letters. At the centre is the seed syllable which represents the subtlest mind and essence of the deity. Surrounding it are the Tibetan phonetics and the Mantric script.

The mantras spin clockwise and the light radiates from the seed syllables and the mantra garland throughout space or one’s body. They should be visualised like a movie, vivid and not static, to focus the mind on purifying and transforming ordinary appearances. With the accompanying recitation of the mantra one can develop enlightened qualities of body, speech and mind.

At the base of each mantra garland are offerings, essential in creating the correct attitude to sacred images. The ritual of making offerings is significant as it opens the mind to the deity’s particular power and weakens individualistic and egotistic attitudes.

This set is very rare as the images are not usually depicted in Buddhist art, and traditionally only explained orally to initiates. As the Dharma spread in the West, the purpose and complexity of visualisation techniques gradually became more understood. The idea for painting these therefore highlights the historic development of Buddhist practice from East to West. I created these to help practitioners in my own Dharma Community.

The cards were published in the 1990’s and have been one of the most popular sales items.

The originals (32cm x 40cm) are painted on art board with gouache and pure gold.