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Heruka mandala

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Heruka maṇḍala (हेरुकमण्डल) refers to a large-scale and elaborate maṇḍala of Heruka, consisting of 986 deities, as found in the Ḍākārṇava chapter 15.—The east division of the entire maṇḍala is blackish dark-blue in color; the north division, green; the west division, red; and the south division, yellow. Heruka is the origin of all heroes, and Vārāhī is the origin of all Ḍākinīs.

The Ḍākārṇava-Heruka maṇḍala taught in the Ḍākārṇava 15 consists of four layers (puṭa) consisting of concentric circles (cakra, totally one lotus at the center and 12 concentric circles, that is, 13 circles in total). Through this structure the maṇḍala represents the Buddhist concepts (meanings) such as the Fourfold Body of the Buddha, the Four Modes of Birth, the twelve categories of holy sites, the Twelve Levels of a Bodhisattva, and the Three Realms.


The First layer (sahaja-puṭa, ‘innate’) consists of:

The lotus (padma) at the center binducakra or tilakacakra according to Jayasena’s Sādhana],

The adamantine circle (vajracakra),

The heart circle (hṛdayacakra),

The merit circle (guṇacakra).


The Second layer (dharma-puṭa) consists of:

The space circle (ākāśacakra),

The wind circle (vāyucakra),

The earth circle (medinīcakra).


The Third layer (saṃbhoga-puṭa, ‘enjoyment’) consists of:

The fire circle (agnicakra),

The water circle (jalacakra or udakacakra),

The gnosis circle (jñānacakra)


The Fourth layer (nirmāṇa-puṭa, ‘emanation’) consists of:

The mind circle (cittacakra),

The word circle (vākcakra),

The body circle (kāyacakra).


The heruka-maṇḍala is multi-dimensional and should be contemplated from multiple perspectives: Seen from a different perspective, the maṇḍala shows a different concept (meaning). The deities/circles on the Ḍākārṇava-Heruka-maṇḍala are also connected with gestures or jargons (chomā, chomakā, mudrā, saṃketa) that a female and a male practitioner exchange in meeting.


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