Tibetan Religious Arts

Tibetan Religious Arts



mandala Tibetan Art
Ritual arts have been a part of Tibetan Buddhism since the Buddha's teachings first arrived in the Land of the Snows some 14 centuries ago. Chanting and sacred music, painting, religious dances, the creation of sand mandalas and butter sculpture, and philosophical debate are all part of the path to enlightenment.


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hangkha painting
stupa

Thangkas--portable scroll icons, usually of a Buddha, Bodhisattva, or deity, painted with mineral colors on fine cotton or silk--are often used as aids in visualization and other ritual meditation.

Chorten is the Tibetan word for the Sanskrit "stupa," a monument built to commemorate the presence, and enshrine the relics, of a deceased Buddha. The shape of a stupa mimics the profile of the Buddha sitting in meditation.


more at: tibetart.com


more at: buddhanet.net


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sand mandala
geshe det

Mandala, Sanskrit for "essence" or "circle," is a symbolic map describing the universe and its contents. Rendering mandalas in sand is a painstaking, meticulous practice ending in the destruction of the work to demonstrate the law of impermanence.

To attain the degree of geshe, a sort of double Ph.D. in Buddhism, monks hone their knowledge of the Buddhist teachings in raucous philosophical debates, a form of analytical meditation.


more at: artnetwork.com


more at: tibet.com


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mantra
prayer wheels

A sacred syllable or series of syllables that, when repeated, evoke a state of being, intention or insight. Om Mane Padme Hum, the mantra of universal compassion, is Tibet's most-heard mantra.

A rotating cylinder, large and stationary or small and hand-held, containing many copies of the mantra of universal compassion, Om Mane Padme Hum, inscribed on thin paper inside. Turning the wheel, is believed to activate the benefits of the mantra, to purify consciousness, and accumulate merit.


more at: dharma-haven.org


more at: dharma-haven.org


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butter sculpture
lama dance

Butter sculture, called torma in Tibetan, are offerings intricately carved from pieces of colored and hardened butter. Buddhas and bodhisattvas are invoked to occupy the sculptures until the torma are dismantled.

Part of the training for Tibetan monks, lama dances are composed of precise, sacred movements that symbolize different aspects of enlightenment, tell tales of Tibetan deities, and feature elaborate costumes and masks.


more at: themonasteryproject.org


more at: surmang.org


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medicine
astrology

One of Tibet's greatest offerings to the West, this 2,500-year-old Buddhist science uses herbs, precious, metals, and meticulous medical training to diagnose and treat ailments of the body and mind.

The ancient sciences of astrology and astronomy have melded with Buddhism to form a unique Tibetan practice, used to understand karma and designate auspicious dates and names.


more at: dharma-haven.org


more at: tibet.com



Line drawings of Tibetan auspicious symbols by Robert Beer. From "Tibetan Thangka Painting: Methods and Materials" by David and Janice Jackson, illustrated by Robert Beer. Courtesy Snow Lion Publications.
Tibetan mandala thangka courtesy of the Donald and Shelley Rubin Foundation.

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