The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated
to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape.
It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the
organizational structure of life itself, - a cosmic diagram that
reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends
both beyond and within our bodies and minds.
Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.
The integrated view of the world represented by the mandala, while long embraced by some Eastern religions, has now begun to emerge in Western religious and secular cultures. Awareness of the mandala may have the potential of changing how we see ourselves, our planet, and perhaps even our own life purpose.
(From Mandala: Journey to the Center, by Bailey Cunningham)