Art Of Visualization


Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, The Art of Visualization, Wednesday Talks, 14 January, 2015 at 7:00 pm, Rubin Museum of Art, New York. ‘Visualization’, a common practice in Tibetan Buddhism, is using the imagination to transform the perception of reality. The power of this practice is at the heart of the new exhibition at the Rubin titled “The All-Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide” on view now through 13 April, 2015. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Buddhist nun, and one of the world’s leading senior female Dharma teachers, will sit down with art historian Kathryn Selig Brown to discuss how she was inspired by the visualization of the feminine in Buddhism to travel to the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery Temple in northern India. A book signing by Jetsunma will follow the talk.


From the exhibition “All Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide” which focuses on an exceptional set of paintings in the intimate format of album leaves from eighteenth-century China. The 54 richly detailed paintings provide step-by-step guidance to visualization of the Buddha Sarvavid Vairochana -also referred to as the All-knowing Buddha, and offer unique insight into the meditation and rituals of Tibetan Buddhism. These practices are normally not meant to be depicted and are usually restricted to oral transmission by a teacher to his initiated disciple. The album is displayed at the Rubin alongside an array of sculptures and paintings that brings together Tibetan, Mongolian and Chinese works collected by a European missionary in Inner Mongolia during the turn of the 20th century, that provide an artistic, religious, and historical context for Buddhist practices related to Vairochana.

Jetsunma_BookInto The Heart of Life by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, 2011. The real test of our Buddhist practice happens not on the cushion or in the protected space of retreat, but moment-to-moment in daily life, particularly when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations. How do we respond? In this book, one of the most respected Western figures of contemporary Buddhism, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, offers insights gleaned from more than forty years of engagement with Buddhist practice. Her perspective is vast, with a well-grounded understanding of how the timeless Buddhist teachings apply to the demands and challenges of modern life.


Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo left her native England for India in 1964, and at the age of twenty was one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Buddhist nun. Vicki Mackenzie’s international bestseller Cave in the Snow chronicles her twelve years of seclusion and meditation practice in a remote cave in the Himalayas. During more than forty years of Buddhist practice, she has witnessed how women are neglected in spiritual communities and often forbidden to receive the highest teachings. Deeply concerned with the plight of Buddhist nuns, she established the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in 2000 in northern India. A residential and academic center, the Dongyu Gatsal Ling is a visionary new model for the spiritual training of young women. Jetsunma is the author of Reflections on a Mountain Lake & Into the Heart of Life. She was last on stage at the Rubin in the company of Gloria Steinem in 2011.

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