| exhibitions

Norton Simon Museum March 28 – August 25, 2014

The Himalayas—known as the "abode of snow"—span much of the northern Asian continent and have long connected the cultures of India, Nepal and Tibet. While the traditions and languages of this region are diverse, Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism was practiced by various groups throughout the area, providing a common visual and liturgical vocabulary for believers.

Vajrayana Buddhism, unlike other Buddhist schools, teaches that enlightenment can be achieved in a single lifetime through direction from a guru and intense and arduous practice. The ability to expedite one's enlightenment was incredibly alluring, which resulted in Vajrayana's spread from India to Nepal and Tibet. Although Buddhism ceased to be major religion in India by the 13th century, the Buddha's teachings, in their various forms, continued to thrive elsewhere in Asia. Sites of pilgrimage specific to Vajrayana were transferred from India to the terrains of Nepal and Tibet, which became centers for tantric practice. This exhibition examines the unique practices and rituals of Vajrayana and its associative art in the Himalayan region.

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