Tibet-Japan inter-Buddhist culture enhanced

Phayul, August 10, 2006

Tokyo, Japan -- Six senior monks from Gyuto monastery, Dharamsala, are currently on tour in Japan. The tour is being organized and sponsored by Tibet House, which is the cultural facet of the Liaison Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Japan and East Asia.

Gokokuji, one of the best known Tantric Buddhist temples in Tokyo hosted the Gyuto monks for a nine-day live exhibition of sand-mandala and butter sculpture creation at their temple complex from the 22nd to the 30th of July 2006. Gokokuji means 'State Protector Temple' and this temple had functioned in the role suggested by its name during the Shogun Period. The main deity of the temple is a six-armed Avaloketeshwara which is believed to be very sacred.

Besides sacredness in religious terms, the beauty of the sand-mandala and artistic wonder of the butter sculptures, and above all the unique chants of the Gyuto monks captured the hearts of all who came to see the exhibition. Two leading national newspapers Sanki and Nikki Shinbum carried articles on the exhibition and a local online TV channel for young people showed the exhibition live. Over three thousand people came to see the exhibition.

The exhibition hall was always full, particularly towards the evenings as the day was closed by the awe-inspiring resonant chants of the Gyuto monks followed by lectures on related subjects by prominent people involved in the event. Speakers included Reverent Okamoto, the abbot of Gokokuji who spoke on the various mandalas according to Japanese trantric tradition, Chope Paljor Tsering, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama who spoke on 'Tibet Past and Present', Mr. Yamada on Japanese arts, and Mrs. Yamada on her experiences in India and in the Himalayan region.

Mr. and Mrs. Yamada are directors of the Indo-Japan Art Institute Trust and they have also extended support in exhibiting Mr. Yamada's art of the masks of the eight manifestations of Padma Sambawa, which he had drawn with original Japanese rock pigments.

The exhibition has been an extraordinary event that has truly enhanced Tibet-Japan inter-Buddhist cultural affinity, and above all it has been an event that has presented the true quality of Tibetan monks and their skills in all aspects of Buddhism and Buddhist arts.