Mandala Principle: The Sphere of Awareness
Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche An interview in Dec. 2009
Mandala is a very crucial point, from the perspective of vajrayana practice. The dimensions of a mandala are the sphere of your mind. You can make it as small as a mustard seed or let it expand limitlessly. It's all up to you.
The whole cultural aspect of working with mandala is the art of suppleness and flexibility-and making it vast or small, in response to your view. And in this case, we're talking about how the mahayana view would require you to respond.
One way to look at it would be to look at the sphere of mind of our great gurus. It just shifts according to the needs of sentient beings, and time and environment. With such suppleness, such flexibility, it can be here and everywhere. It can be now and everything, and yet so precise and to the point-all with absolute grace and elegance and simplicity.
So you are training the mind and the dimensions of mind to really be flexible. And of course, this training would include the various vajrayana methods: for example, seeing all phenomena and thoughts as your mind; seeing the inner and outer mandalas, and the union of both, and so on. And it would not be done with a sense of sacrificing to the needs of others, but with the understanding that ultimately this is your basic awareness. This sphere is the main essence of the mandala principle.