Kalachakra for World Peace

Graz 2002

Bruno Baumann and the Tibet House Delhi presented a photo exhibition on „Living Tibetan Buddhism“.

 

Living Tibetan Buddhism

A Photographic Journey

The concept of this exhibition is based on an advice given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama some years back to the director of the Tibet House Lama Doboom Tulku on an occasion of consultation regarding cultural activities of the Tibet House. The photographs by Bruno Baumann used in this exhibition were taken during his extensive travels to Tibet, India and Nepal within the last decade covering major aspects of living tradition of Tibetan Buddhism today. Tibet House expresses its gratitude to Bruno Baumann for his enthusiastic support, and also takes this opportunity to thank Ms. Sandhya Luther for helping to prepare the preliminary plan of the exhibition and Dr. Antonella Mathur for editing the final texts of brochure and accompanying booklet.

 

The monastic tradition

This section looks at the backbone of Tibetan Buddhism: the monastic tradition. Images of ordination, rituals, initiations, ceremonies, sacred dances, mandala preparation will be accompanied by portraits of the daily life of monks and nuns. It is easy to understand the importance of the Guru's qualities, since it is through his teaching and example that disciples are guided on the spiritual path and eventually led to enlightenment.

 

Religious life of laymen

Here we examine the place that religious practice occupies in the everyday life of common people. Dharma is closely woven into the culture of Tibetans and most of them keep a home altar and perform regularly certain basic practices, such as prostrations, offering of water bowls, incense and light burning, recitation of prayersand mantras and the hoisting of prayer flags. Lay people attend teachings and initiations in thousands, and many engage in serious practices of meditation and rituals akin to those performed by monks and nuns. There are moreover in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition many lay masters and yogis who chose to share their spiritual life of learning, meditation and teaching, with family responsibilities.

 

Relationships

Following the two previous sections, we begin to realise the rich and close-knit relationship connecting the monastic community to the laity. If the laity often visits, and supports, monasteries and nunneries, the monks and nuns take care of the lay community by assisting them with the performance of pujas and other rituals at the times of marriage, birth, illness or death and on the occasion of important festivals. They also assist families by blessing their homes, consecrating sacred objects, and helping them to overcome specific difficulties through prayers, divination and the like. Besides coming together for religious practice, they may enjoy eating together, going for picnics and generally share a relationship of friendship. The monastic Sangha normally maintain the links with their families and visit relatives from time to time.

 

Pilgrimage

An important part of the life of a Buddhist is visiting the places associated with the life of Sakyamuni Buddha or the great centres of Buddhist learning. Though some Tibetans manage to go to India for a pilgrimage to the Buddha's holy places, most of them conduct pilgrimages within Tibet. The major destinations are power places of Cakrasamvara (Demchog) such as Mt. Kailash. A pilgrimage would also typically include several of the great monasteries of the various Buddhist traditions such as the Jokhang and Potala in Lhasa, Samye, Gaden, Drepung, Sera, Tsurphu, Sakya and many others. Other pilgrimage destinations are holy lakes and spots where the great yogis of Tibet, such as Milarepa, lived for years in solitary meditation retreats.

 

Tibetan medicine, astrology and sacred art

The Buddhist tradition of Tibet includes a number of disciplines spanning the gamut of art and science. The training in many of these disciplines is often part of monastic life but it is not exclusive to monks or nuns. There are many outstanding artists, doctors and astrologers among the lay community as well. Some of the disciplines depicted in this section are medicine, astrology, architecture, thangka painting, mandala preparation, wood and stone carving, butter sculpture, as also arts such as divination and ritual music.

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