In the vernacular Indian language Pali, "mandala" means: sacred drawing. In a ritual held in common by Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, the faithful meditate by carrying out repetitive drawings on the ground of certain mandalas handed down by tradition and believed to bring awareness of the divine. The Buddhists developed this art to the greatest extent. Tibetan, Nepali or Sikh art exhibitions provide occasion to admire the "thangkas": these are large paintings that, hung by monks over statues of Buddha, represent the fruit of the spiritual exercise of reproducing a divine mandala. Thangkas are not considered works of art since, once finished, they lose their importance: for worshippers who produce these works, what matters is "doing the drawing", and not the end product. Such worshippers accomplish the same rite as the monks who become painters, illustrate manuscripts or untiringly draw and repeat mandalas on the ground. The mandala featured here is the oldest and most orthodox extant; it is of Hindu rather than Buddhist origin, and explains the origin of the world.