Join us for a glimpse into the world of Tibetan Buddhism and the use of thangkas as aids in meditation and prayer.
Tibetan thangka painting is a distinctive tradition that dates over a thousand years. Thangkas are part of the cultural fabric of the Tibetan people, embodying not only their spiritual history, but remaining an integral part of Tibetan daily life in modern day.
The iconography of the thangka is rich in information about the spiritual practice of Buddhists and the Tibetan world view. As representations of the enlightened potential inherent in all sentient beings, thangkas are objects of devotion, aids to philosophical and spiritual practice, and bringers of blessings.
The images of deities and mandalas are used as visualization aids for yiddam (deity) practices. There are also detailed images of the advanced practices of the six yogas and other esoteric practices that are iconographically depicted as aids for subtle body practices, which are generally kept secret and are practiced in a retreat environment. There are also many other iconographic images housed in ritual manuals such as torma manuals, music manuals, manuals for the construction of sand mandalas, the construction of temples and stupas and pilgrimage maps that also rely on detailed technical drawings generally used for ritual purposes in monasteries. These types of drawings and paintings are incorporated into the traditional training of Tibetan artists.
As aids in meditation and prayer, we use visualizations to identify with the sacred images and the enlightened qualities they represent as a means of assimilating those qualities into our own experience. In this way, they help to guide us along the dharmic path in the hopes of one day fully realizing enlightment as did the Buddha.
Barbara Hazelton has a BA in Fine Art History and a Masters Degree in Buddhist Studies. She completed the Three Year Meditation Retreat under the guidance of Kalu Rinpoche (1882-1986). Barbara is currently pursuing her PhD at University of Toronto, where her research focuses on Tibetan epic literature and performance. She has lived for many years with Tibetan communities in Asia and Canada and is a practicing artist studying Tibetan Thanka painting with master artist Urgyen Gyalpo. She has a background in Tibetan visual imagery and ritual through studies with Tibetan scholars and ritual specialists, including experience with shrine imagery, torma, reliquaries, musical instruments and Tibetan music reading, thangka painting, and all sorts of Buddhist common and esoteric rituals.
* Suitable for anyone with an interest in meditation, Buddhism, or Tibetan art and culture.
All proceeds benefit the Tibetan Artists Development Society in Labrang. Donations support the school’s capital, operating, and scholarship needs.
Food and snacks available at Youngplace Coffee Pub.