Beautiful Photos on Display Reveal Secret Tantric Buddhist Temple
World Religion News, Nov 17, 2015
Photographer Thomas Laird is sharing photos of murals inside a secret tantric Buddhist Temple meant to only be viewed by Dalai Lamas.
London, UK -- From November 19 to February 28 2016, the Wellcome Collection’s winter exhibition in London will have on display tantric images from an ancient Buddhist temple in Tibet.
This temple was kept hidden from the world for several years. The photos on display, were taken in 1986 by Thomas Laird who was the first American to enter this abode meant to be used strictly by Dalai Lamas for meditation.
The prime attraction of the exhibition are the high-resolution recreations of three esoteric murals, created from hundreds of distinctly exposed frames and printed on transparencies using cutting edge photographic technology.
In all there will be 120 objects at the exhibition including scroll paintings, statues, manuscripts, archival and contemporary film, together with a wide range of ethnographic and ritual artefacts.
Tibet’s Secret – Lukhang Temple is located in Lhasa on a small island on a lake and was built by the fifth Dalai Lama as a place for meditation for his successors. It explores Tibetan yogic and meditational practices and has several scenic depictions, symbols, yogic poses by 84 Buddhist masters and what Laird describes as the 'cosmic vagina', a detail representing the start of the universe.
Laird calls it the ‘Tibetan Sistine Chapel’ and said “The Sistine Chapel was painted by a great artist, commissioned by a pope and it tells us everything from God creating man to the resurrection. The whole world, as Christians viewed it, are there in images – and that’s what’s happening in the Lukhang.” He had settled in Nepal for almost 30 years and has been capturing Tibetan murals for decades making him the only person to possess the largest photography archive of them in the world.
Ruth Garde, who is the co-curator of the exhibition hopes the murals will change western presumptions about the Buddhist culture.
She says, "You come to it thinking it's quite serene, tranquil: deep breathing and that kind of thing. Tantric Buddhism is very different – the more radical and advanced yoga techniques are quite dangerous."