Tibet’s Secret Temple

Reviews: Exhibitions / Performances

Rashid visited the Wellcome Collection’s exhibition of ‘Body, Mind and Meditation in Tantric Buddhism’, currently showing in London, England.

You can wander straight off the atrocious Euston Road in central London into a world of the highest spiritual wisdom. From that noisy, contaminated thoroughfare you step into rooms full of artefacts that represent a journey to the peak of human consciousness.

On the face of it, this exhibition is simply a digital reproduction of a temple built exclusively for some Dalai Lama on an island in a lake behind the Potala Palace in Lhasa. In essence it is a depiction of previously secret, tantric and yogic practices for so-called ‘advanced’ individuals (e.g. high Lamas) on the path of self-realisation.

However, what amazes and delights is that the show is packed. People of all ages and classes and ethnicity are trooping through and being exposed to exquisite images and commentaries that both guide the seeker and contradict the materialist assumptions of our time. For example, one of the curator’s introductory comments reads, “Tantric deities were conceived, not as objects of worship but as representations of our potential to transcend ego and embody wisdom and compassion.” Another comment translates Tibetan script written below the painting of a man sitting in meditation blowing out a cloud of air. It reads, “On the out-breath experience the space outside the body, on the in-breath experience its return until no separation exists between outside and inside.” Beneath another painting of a figure seated in a landscape the note reads, “All phenomena emanate from and are reducible to states of consciousness.”

Wow! The divisions and distinctions of the world today are becoming increasingly manifest and clear cut. While the UK prime minister urges this nation to support him in another misconceived and unwinnable war, we are also freely exposed to and enjoying an exhibition that explicitly declares the impermanence of life and points at how to reach to the state beyond all strife, suffering and misery. As the light darkens over Europe, America and the Middle East, the writing on the wall, hitherto obscure, becomes clearer and more luminous.

Who would have thought, thirty years ago when Osho was hammering on the armoured gates of the world’s institutions, that there would now be public displays of a tantra that brings all experience to the spiritual path, that unites the material with the spiritual, the inner with the outer, that declares the union of mind, body and soul.

At this time when the planet is veering towards environmental implosion it is wonderful that the voices of consciousness become ever more apparent, that the heart is seen ever more clearly as the focus of intelligence and that beliefs, ideologies and religions are recognised as part of man’s mortal sickness. To become aware of the mind is becoming a mainstream activity. Meditation is coming to the fore. Jai Osho! As you said, you were 30 years ahead of your time. Thanks for forewarning and forearming us.

Rashid, Osho News

The exhibition opened on November 19,  2015 and is scheduled to continue until February 28, 2016



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