Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Enter the Mandala: Cosmic Mind Maps

Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; Assistant Curator Dr. Jeff Durham (SFAAM)
Buddha icon in Tawang district, Arunachal Pradesh, India (Appaji/
A mandala in Tibetan Vajrayana meditation serves as a kasina (
Buddhist and Hindu hallway, Norton Simon, Pasadena (Christian DeLao/judasmaiden15/flickr)

Enter the Mandala: Mental Maps and Cosmic Centers in Himalayan Buddhism

Jaws of Samsara, Bhavacakra (thangka-mandala)
Dr. Jeff Durham, Assistant Curator of Himalayan Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, will explore the possibility of re-creating a Buddhist experience without years of meditative discipline:

Mandalas are geometric maps of Vajrayana Buddhist visionary worlds [planes of existence in Buddhist cosmology]. Appearing in both painting and sculpture, mandalas typically consist of nested squares and circles.

These geometric forms define the center of the cosmos and the four cardinal directions in the sky/space (akasha). Minutely detailed and saturated with philosophical meaning, mandalas are a feast for the eyes and mind.

For Buddhist meditators, however, they are not just images to view, but also worlds to enter. To work with a mandala, practitioners first re-create it in their mind’s eye then imaginatively enter its world.
Free with admission (limited seating). Member seating 3:30 pm; general seating at 3:45 pm.
Rise of Shramanic tradition
Wisdom Quarterly edit of Dharmic Religions (7th to 5th centuries BCE)
The Buddha taught mostly in Magadha

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