Exhibition - Teachers of Enlightenment

Friday, May 8, 2020 at 10:00am

The Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111


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Teachers of Enlightenment: Traditions in Tibetan Buddhism

Beginning with the historical Buddha who founded the tradition of Buddhism over 2,500 years ago, the teacher has occupied a central role within Buddhism. Teachers (gurus) serve as instructors for their students and are venerated by practitioners.

Within Vajrayana Buddhism, an esoteric form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet, the teacher is essential to guiding a student’s path to enlightenment. Specialized teachings, rituals, and practices are taught that can only be passed directly from a spiritually advanced teacher to an individual practitioner.

Works of art are key to disseminating the Buddhist tradition and actively used by students and teachers for worship. Sculptures and paintings (thangkas) depicting individual teachers serve as a focus for prayer and contemplation in Buddhist monasteries. Ritual objects are used by teachers and their initiates, and portable amulet boxes allow practitioners to take images of religious figures and protective charms with them. Gurus provide their student’s with tools that help them create a better tomorrow and alleviate lifetimes of suffering.

Exhibition Date: May 11, 2019 - May 10, 2020.

Location: Gallery 203

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