Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.12)

[Carl Jung advises that mandalas found in monasteries and temples are of no particular significance; many mandalas are not free and individual formations.]

In 1938, I had the opportunity, in the monastery of Bhutia Busty, near Darjeeling, of talking with a Lamaic rimposhe, Lingdam Gomchen by name, about the khilkor or mandala.

He explained it as a dmigs-pa (pronounced “migpa”), a mental image which can be built up only by a fully instructed lama through the power of imagination.

He said that no mandala is like any other, they are a individually different.

Also, he said , the mandalas to be found in monasteries and temps were of no particular significance because they were external representations only.

The true mandala is always an inner image, which is gradually built up through (active) imagination, at such times when psychic equilibrium is disturbed or when a though cannot be found and must be sought for, because it is not contained in holy doctrine.

The aptness of this explanation will become apparent in the course of my exposition.

The alleged free and individual formation of the mandala, however, should be taken with a considerable grain of salt, since in all Lamaic mandalas there predominates not only a certain unmistakable style but also a traditional structure.

For instance they are all based on a Quaternary system, a quadratura circuli, and their contents are invariably derived from Lamaic dogma.

There are texts, such as the Shri-Chakra-Sambhara Tentra, which contain direcctions for the construction of these “mental images.” ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, Paragraph 123