Cosmic Buddhas in the Himalayas


Being reborn in one of the heavens inhabited by a living Buddha offered a clear path to enlightenment for Himalayan Buddhist communities. Vairochana, the emanation of the historic Buddha Shakyamuni, sat at the center of the cosmos, while each of the Pure Lands in the four cardinal directions was presided over by a celestial Buddha. The vast and complex Mahayana and tantric pantheon of Buddhist gods and goddesses are emanations of these living Buddhas, while individual deities associated with them personify ideas such as compassion, abundance, learning, or protection. This cosmic organization gave a popular goddess like the savior Tara a clear place within the Buddhist pantheon. At the same time, an advanced tantric practitioner could find a powerful esoteric deity, such as Hevajra, conceptualized in an unambiguous context.

Start Date
Saturday, June 24, 2017
End Date
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cosmic Buddhas in the Himalayas

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