The Taima Mandala
(當麻曼荼羅) is a mandala
in Japanese Pure Land
Buddhism. Unlike mandalas used in esoteric, or Vajrayana
Buddhism, it is strictly a work of art or visual explanation, and not an object of meditation. The original copy of the mandala is still housed in the Taima-dera
temple in Nara
, Japan, and was woven approximately around 763
. Many copies have been made since, and the original work has degraded considerably. According to popular legend, a nun named Honyo watched as the mandala was crafted from lotus stems by two nuns who were thought to Amida
Buddha and Kannon
Bodhisattva. The imagery of the Mandala is based mostly from the Contemplation of Amida Sutra
, and has been the subject of many commentaries and explanations by Buddhists in Japanese history.
The central image is of the Pure Land itself, while in the periphery are images related to different sections of the Contemplation Sutra.