This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience the original art of Tibet and Nepal. The exhibited artworks are rooted in the centuries-old tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which not only continues to be practiced in the East today, but has also begun to flourish in the West. These works are highly valued because they are intricately crafted – often it takes the artist more than five years to produce only one work – and also adhere to all the iconographic and iconometric requirements.
Although the exhibits can be admired for their artistic merit and enjoyed on the level of external aesthetics – and the exhibition’s subtitle refers to this aspect – the real value of these works lies in their deep symbolic importance for the practitioners of Diamond Way (Vajrayana) Buddhism.
Tibetan Buddhist art is closely linked to the teachings on the nature of mind and the path of meditation, which leads to the full realization of the potential of one's mind, i.e. enlightenment. Rather than portraying deities to be worshiped, the statues and painted images of Buddhas are understood as mirrors, which reflect the richness of the fully realized mind, or in other words, our own Buddha nature. These objects help to develop personal qualities, such as fearlessness, unconditioned joy and active compassion. Most of them are used as a meditation tools by their owners and therefore normally are not shown to the public.
The arrangement of the exhibition follows the form known as the Refuge Tree, which in Tibetan Buddhism expresses mind in all of its richness. It shows the different aspects of enlightenment and is embodied in the Three Jewels and the Three Roots. The Three Jewels include the Buddha (the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, who represents the enlightened state of mind), the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings), the Sangha (the community of practitioners), and Bodhisattvas (the realized practitioners). The Three Roots consist of the Lama (represented by the big blue form of Dorje Chang and the Buddhist masters of India and Tibet), the Yidams (forms that symbolize different aspects of the enlightened mind) and the Protectors (who remove external and internal obstacles the practitioners may experience on their way to enlightenment). In Tibetan Buddhism, to take refuge in these six aspects is to begin the journey towards timeless, unconditioned values.
The exhibition is going to be accompanied by lectures related to Buddhism and other events, including projection of the Hannah: Buddhism’s Untold Journey movie on April 15th, 2018 at 3.00 pm.
A detailed program of accompanying events is available on the website www.skarbyhimalajow.pl.