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mandalas, religion, Buddhism, Asia, history, culture, art, aesthetics, architecture, space-time

Mandale: tajni vrtovi razsvetljenja

Mandalas: Secret Gardens of Enlightenment

by Zmago Šmitek

Zmago Šmitek's monograph Mandalas: Secret Gardens of Enlightenment is a recognition of India's contribution to East-Asian, Central-Asian and Southeast-Asian culture. It revolves around the adventure of mature Buddhism which, as author Zmago Šmitek claims, “invented Asia”. Buddhism welcomed different paths to acquiring knowledge and was able to absorb local traditions. A part of this spiritual wealth – insofar as it is connected to the phenomenon of mandalas – is presented in Šmitek's book.

The book explores the role, significance, structure, design, functionality and message of mandalas in different Asian cultures: Indian, Nepali, Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Japanese, Thai, etc. This serves as an entry point for integral examinations of the concepts of space, time, architecture, art and aesthetics in general in Asian cultures. The author furthermore scrutinizes similar symbols and concepts in European and other cultures.

The exhaustive text is one of the most comprehensive studies of mandalas to date, uses an innovative methodology and is very well supported with graphic materials, including over 300 photos and diagrams.

An extensive, integral and quintessential study of the design, structure, importance and role of mandalas


  • The book by Prof. Zmago Šmitek is an extensive, comprehensive and representative study of the form, structure, meaning and role of mandalas in the major Asian cultures … It will firstly serve as a great resource for students of non-European cultures, but will surely also be of interest to the general public, at least to those interested in Asian cultures, particularly their spiritual foundations, as well as to any researchers of the boundless treasury of Asian arts.

    From a peer review by Prof. Andrej Ule
  • Mandalas: Secret Gardens of Enlightenment is a project very dear to the author, who had worked on it for a long time. Published in book form, the project is now complete. Book of the year in cultural anthropology.

  • In its field, Zmago Šmitek’s book is a monumental work.