The Black Dragon Eye Mandala is an auspicious medium in which to navigate through the turbulent and erratic seas (the Moving Principle).
The black background of the Black Dragon-Eye Mandala depicts the infinite universal realm of the Dharmakaya that always pervades and transcends the phenomenal realm. The outer bands of the mandala represent the moving-phenomenal aspects of the Body consciousness:
The outer-grayish hue is indicative of ordinary consciousness that is the lens through which one experiences the volatile vijnanaic waves of samsara
The white, circular shade is the diurnal path of the subconscious mind that is the root of all karmic associations that continually initiate emotive (Kleshas) reactions
The darker gray area represents the unconscious mind. This constitutes what the Lanakavatara Sutra calls the “Manas”, or those impulsive drives and propensities that form an artificial “ego” that fuels the desires and fears of the subconsciousness mind. Hence, this is indeed a pre-conscious volition that forms a false-reality and adamantly refuses to relinquish its control
The dark band epitomizes the Alaya vijnana; this is the store-house consciousness of all dharmata since time immemorial. The Alaya is the objective support of the previous bands, and is the direct source of all all afflictions, attachments, and associations. This is all of the accumulated and diseased habit energies—the realm of avidya par-excellence!
The final, “unmoving” yellow core is the Amala vijnana—this exemplifies the Unmoving Principle and is the focused and sustained power of bodhicitta—“enlightened consciousness.” This is the direct seat of primordial exuberance and, as such, is indicative of the supracognitive abilities of the Unborn Spirit. Hence, this enlightened core always precedes the act of perception that is the direct downfall of the previous four bands of consciousness.
The Black Dragon Eye Mandala was created by Tozen and the following video is a breakdown of its origin and significance.