Wellcome Collection : Tibet’s Secret Temple

This exhibition explored Tibetan Buddhist practice. I have mainly been exposed to Christianity in my life, so I was eager to explore another religion, although it is controversial as to whether it is a religion as it doesn’t neatly fit into that category, or the category of philosophy.

I was struck by Chogyam Trungpa’s quote: ‘It is with our emotions that we create demons and gods: those things which we don’t want in our lives and world are the demons; those things which we would draw to us are the gods and goddesses. The rest is just scenery’. Is Buddhism a non-theistic religion? There is no Creator God in Buddhism, but there are various references to supernatural beings in the suttas and sutras. And, this exhibition displayed many depictions of these beings.

For me, Trungpa’s quote implied that the creation of these demons and gods was based on our subjective experiences. However, when we look at the artwork on display, we notice a unified style. If people were providing interpretations of their emotions through these alluring sculptures, why is the style so unified? Is it because their subconscious is heavily influenced by the figures that they have been frequently exposed to? There must be many factors at play here that I am eager to explore.

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Lhasa’s Lukhang Temple

Approach what you find repulsive.
Help those you think you cannot help.
Anything you are attached to, let it go.
Go to the places that scare you.
(Advice to Machik Labdrön from her teacher)

‘Having meditated on gentleness and on compassion, I have forgotten the difference between myself and others’

Milarepa

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