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The Four Friends Story in Tibetan Art

The tale of The Four Friends is a common subject of paintings found in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, temples and in Thangka art work. Lord Buddha used this story to illustrate the value of seniority and the wisdom that experience and age bestows. Four friends: an elephant, a hare, a monkey and a bird - all lived in a forest. They mutually took shelter and enjoyed the fruits of a large tree. One day they got into an argument over which of the four was the eldest of the group. The elephant argued that he was the oldest as he saw the tree in its maturity when he was yet young, the monkey from his point of view was the eldest...

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Tibetan Buddhist Art & Architecture in Dharmshala, Himachal Pradesh , India

Gyoto Tantric Buddhist Monastery near Dharamshala  Inside the temple was an image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama seated ceremonially on a chair and dias.     Lots of color and beautiful artwork everywhere. It was quite a big complex including a school for Buddhist monks and large living quarters. Next was a visit to Norbulingka Tibetan Arts Center. This huge complex is built in layers going up the hillside and is devoted to preserving all manner of Tibetan Arts : woodcarving and wood art painting, Thangka Buddhist painting, textile creation etc etc. The gardens were my favorite part. Here are a few photo highlights. The artisans live and work on the premises and support themselves with the sale of...

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Art as a Spiritual Practice - Owning Buddhist Thangka Art for Enlightenment

The  Buddhist Tradition of Thangka art serves a very different and high purpose. It is foremost a form of worship. Buddhist Art and the process of creating it, is seen as a direct path to enlightenment- the full unfoldment of human potential. The purpose of such art is to develop ultimate wisdom in the artist and and also the observer of the art. The enlightenment of all sentient beings should be the sole motivation of the artist according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. To meet this lofty goal, creating Buddhist art necessitates a deep understanding of the tenets and doctrines of Buddhism within the mind and heart of the artist. Living these tenets and adhering to the practices of art as outlined in the...

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The Power of Kalachakra Mandala Paintings

The Kalachakra Mandala painting is a powerful tool for meditation. It is a physical representation of the Kalachakra teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Initiation into this teaching has been given by the Dalai Lama around the world.  One of our artists creating a Kalachakra Mandala The Kalachakra Mandala painting is a representation of the abode of the deity named Kalachakra who holds the secrets of time and enlightenment in his possession. Through meditation on the 2D, 3D or mental image of the Kalachakra one gains deep knowledge and insight into the universe and the immortality of the soul.  Here is a 3D version of the Kalachakra.  Seen in a Buddhist temple. The Kalachakra Mandala can also be created in sand....

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