The components of the mandala consists of four components. There is the outer gates, the outer mandala petals, the inner mandala and the center.
The Outer Gates
Each of the four directions manifest as an element. The elements of Water, Earth, Fire and Air are the basic building blocks of our human lives and the lives of all living beings on the planet.
East - Water
At the top of the mandala is the Element water is this case we are using the Tantric color white to represent the water element. The water element is essential for life forms on our planet. This element also relates to our Water Chakra, called Svadisthana.
South - Earth
The red gate represents the element Earth. All beings are dependent upon the Earth for survival. All beings have bodies that cause them to appear as individual existences. From an evolutionary prospective life emerged from the Oceans on to the Land. The element Earth also relates to our Earth Charka or Muladhara.
West - Fire
The yellow gate represents the element Fire. In this case we are referring metaphorically to the Sun. It is from the Sun that all beings receive light and warmth. The Sun is like a loving mother that provides all inhabitants of our planet with light unconditionally.
North - Air
In the northern corner is the element of Air as the green color. Air referred to the atmosphere. This consists of an exchange between human beings, animals and the plants. In forest trees and planets give off oxygen while processing carbon dioxide. This creates a natural cycle of existence between humans and animals. We are dependent upon oxygen for our breath, just as we are dependent on Water, Earth, and Fire for our existence.
The Outer Mandala Petals
There are 16 outer mandala petals in this mandala. One these petals we have placed the 16 vowels Bijas (seed) Sounds. They represent the composite of the elements as all phenomena are compositions of Water, Earth, Fire and Air.
Creating a simple matrix we can arrive at 16 basic components; Water-Water, Water-Earth, Water-Fire, Water-Air, Earth-Earth, Earth-Fire, Earth-Air, Earth-Water, Fire-Fire, Fire-Air, Fire-Water, Fire-Earth, Air-Air, Air-Water, Air-Earth, Air-Fire.
This matrix is indicating that all phenomena are dependent upon on another for their existence. When we explore this matrix we can see that elements are dependent upon on another to produce any phenomena or appearance.
We can also apply to these petals the Buddha's teachings of the 16 components of the Four Noble Truths. These are processes by which to understand each of the Noble Truths better.
First Noble Truth - 1) impermanence, 2) suffering, 3) emptiness, 4) selflessness.
Second Noble Truth - 5) causes, 6) origin, 7) strong production, 8) condition.
Third Noble Truth - 9) cessation, 10) pacification, 11) being superb, 12) definite emergence.
Forth Noble Truth - 13) path, 14) awareness, 15) achievement, 16) deliverance.
The Inner Mandala Lights and the Four Immeasurable
The inner mandala or 4 lights represents the Four Quarters of Padas of OM as described in the Mandukya Upanishad. We have associated these with the purity of the elements which arise as four of the Dhyana Buddhas. They can also be associated to the four branches of yoga. Karma yoga, Jnana yoga, Bhakti yoga or Dhyana yoga.
In the case of the Buddhas, they are inner dwelling beings that carry a wisdom to be realize from the practice meditating upon them.
A = Water = Akshobhya = Equanimity
The first pada or quarter of the sound OM relates to the Buddha Akshobhya. This is the Buddha of Mirror - Like Wisdom and is essence of the water element. It is the realization that all life forms have a base in the element water. We are all together and interdependent experience of being. Continued investigation of this will assist us in purifying our emotions of separation and indifference. With the realization of Equanimity we can free ourselves emotionally from the poisonous emotion of Anger.
Akshobhya's Wisdom is embodied in the Four Immeasurables as the following statement.
"May all beings have happiness"
U = Earth = Rantasambhava = Generosity
The second pada or quarter of the sound OM relates to the Buddha Rantnasambhava. This is the Buddha of Jewel Like Wisdom. It is indicating that all living forms are embodiments of the Buddha nature, or that all sentient beings have Buddha nature. Continued investigation will reveal that all living beings that one encounters, including ones apparent self, have the characteristics of Body, Speech and Mind. It is a furtherance of the mind stream which is developed from the sense of equanimity of Mirror-Like Wisdom. When we can see that all living beings are essentially the same self, living presence, then we can enjoy the Jewel-Like nature of life as it emerges from emptiness and arises in a beautiful display of Jewels. It is liberation from the poisonous emotion of pride.
Ratanasambhava's Wisdom is embodied in the Four Immeasurables as the following statement.
"May all beings be free of suffering"
M = Fire = Amithbha = Love
The third pada or quarter of the sound OM relates to the Buddha Amithbha. This is the Buddha of Discriminating Wisdom. Essentially it is saying that the Light in you is the Light in me. It is the experience of Empathy with all livings beings. We each are the light of the Buddha within. We have different conditioning or memories. These cause us as humans to have different life experiences caused by our conditioning. This is the same with other sentient beings such as animals. Even though our conditioning and life experience causes us to appear physically different we are essential of the same light. Continued exploration of this thread will result in an experience of Love for all beings that appear in the mirror of life as shining jewels. This Buddha frees us from the poisonous emotion of desire.
Amitabha's Wisdom is embodied in the Four Immeasurables as the following statement.
"May all beings know the Joy that has never known suffering"
Bindu or Ansara = Air = Amogasiddha = Compassion / Joy
The four pada or quarter of the sound OM relates to the Buddha Amogasiddha. This is the Buddha of Compassion or Joyous Action. When we see that all is a mirror consisting of jewel like beings with the same light as the source of being we have a natural experience of Compassion or Joy. It is the Buddha of completion. We rest in the experience of liberation having freed ourselves from the myth of separation. It is like a breath of fresh air liberating us from the prison of conditioned indifference. This Buddha frees us from the poisonous emotion of Jealousy.
Amogashidda's Wisdom is embodied in the Four Immeasurable as the following statement.
"May all beings be free of hatred and obsession"
OM = Space = Vairocana = Liberation
Resting in the center of the mandala is the Buddha Vairocana. This Buddha's Wisdom is that of Liberation. The experience of overcoming the emotions caused by the belief of separation is the liberation of the concept of an independently existent self. It is the end of the hero's journey. Having conquered the Ignorance of selfhood we rest in the realization that we are the world. At this profound place within our consciousness within we find the highest state of realization, that of Buddhahood. We have become the Universe arising in all things as the sound OM.