The Word of the Day comes from "THE LABYRINTH" by Amanda Lohrey, which won the 2021 Miles Franklin Award.
A mandala, which is Sanskrit for “circle” or “discoid object,” is a geometric design that holds a great deal of symbolism in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Mandalas are believed to represent different aspects of the universe and are used as instruments of meditation and symbols of prayer most notably in China, Japan, and Tibet.
In their most basic form, mandalas are circles contained within a square and arranged into sections that are all organized around a single, central point. They’re typically produced on paper or cloth, drawn on a surface with threads, fashioned in bronze, or built in stone. While extraordinary as a standalone work of art, mandalas hold symbolic and meditative meaning beyond their vibrant appearance.
It can be understood in two different ways: externally as a visual representation of the universe or internally as a guide for several practices that take place in many Asian traditions, including meditation. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the belief is that by entering the mandala and proceeding towards its center, you are guided through the cosmic process of transforming the universe from one of suffering into one of joy and happiness.
From invaluable website.