[permaculture] Philosophy behind mandala gardens
erda at nor.com.au
Mon Jun 6 18:59:21 EDT 2005
On 7/6/05 8:36 AM, "David Bryce" <dbryce at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
> We have started a community garden in my town and had an experienced community
> garden person come and run introductory workshops for us. He went through a
> lot of material stressing the importance of a mandala garden to a permaculture
> What I want to know is how much is the concept of the mandala garden tied to
> Buddhist philosophy? I do not wish to offend anyone but I am not a Buddhist
> and have no desire to be involved in anything that has that philosophy built
> in to it.
Hi Dave - A Mandala essentially is a circular design embodying balance and
harmony. They're found in many cultures around the planet, not always called
mandalas, but essentially the same thing, I see mandala designs in many
Aboriginal dot paintings, in the mosaics in mosques and in the round stained
glass windows in cathedrals & churches.
There was no religious philosophy considered when the first mandala garden
was designed. It came about when Bill Mollison and myself were co-teaching
the first permaculture course in India and we sat with a couple of students
planning out a practical activity. We wanted to make a banana circle and
thought a circle of keyhole beds around it would work nicely, as we drew up
the plan one of the students said, 'Hey, it's a mandala'. So the name stuck.
BTW the students name was Gangamma and if you look at the manadala garden
design in the Designers Manual you'll see Bill's called it Gangamma's
It can be a great garden module in the right situation and has inspired many
to try their first step in gardening and permaculture - especially people
not attracted to rectangular bed layouts. It's been popular for many school
gardens and community gardens were a team cares for each key hole bed.
Things like mandala gardens and herb spirals are simply practical and
beautiful design options that may be included in permaculture gardens, but
none are compulsory - there are many wonderful permaculture systems that
don't have either.
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