The Thangka and Meditation
Thangka paintings intended for meditation practice usually take the form of a mandala. A mandala is a circular, symbolic diagram, usually consisting of many concentric circles containing depictions of deities. With a thangka, the onlooker enters this visual space mentally from the lines and outer circles of fire, diamonds, graveyards, and lotus leaves before entering the mandala itself. Those circles represent the burning of ignorance, illumination, cognition, and rebirth respectively. By meditating on this imagery, the viewer is said to be able to enter a state of calm and relaxation while becoming more aware of his or her spiritual connection.