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Khenpo Pema Wangdak and Dr. Adriana Renero

Attachment. Pride. Envy. Anger. Throughout this season’s Brainwave series, we have explored the four “afflictive emotions” that surround the center of the Vairocana Mandala, the inspiration behind the Rubin Museum’s innovative Mandala Lab installation. With Tibetan Buddhist teacher Khenpo Pema we may begin to see that the four afflictive states of mind have one element in common: ignorance. In conversation with the philosopher of cognitive science, Dr. Adriana Renero, Lama Pema brings the insights of the Vairocana teachings and compares them to our current understanding of how we relate to the whole and what our role in community could and should be.

Ticket holders have the opportunity to join author and performer Kevin Townley for a gallery tour prior to the theater program at 6:00 PM or directly following the program at 8:30 PM. Tours are 35 minutes and will explore the permanent collection and the interactive Mandala Lab installation which inspired the Brainwave: Emotion talk series. The program will examine how both sacred and secular art can help us to unlock the wild wisdom of human emotion.

Please note that this event may be filmed or recorded.

About the speakers

Khenpo Pema Wangdak was sent to the West in 1982 by His Holiness the Sakya Trichen as the first of the younger generation of Tibetan teachers in America from the Sakya School. In 1989, Khenpo Pema founded the Vikramasila Foundation, supporting the Palden Sakya Centers in New York City, Woodstock, NY, Philmont, NY, Englewood, NJ, Springfield, VT, Portland, ME, and Dayton, OH. The Palden Sakya Centers offer courses in Tibetan Buddhist studies and meditation. Lama Pema is the creator of “Bur Yig”-Tibetan Braille, and the founder of Pema Ts’al (English for Lotus Grove) Schools in Mundgod, India (for Tibetan lay children); Pokhara, Nepal (monastic schools for boys); and Pema Ts’al School in New York City, with a curriculum modeled on that of Sakya College, India. Khenpo Pema was recognized with the title of “Khenpo” by His Holiness the Sakya Trichen in 2007. He was the first Tibetan to ever receive the distinguished Ellis Island Medal of Honor award by the National Ethical Coalition of Organizations in May 2009. He has memorably participated in a number of Rubin Museum experiences, notably with Sir Salman Rushie in the Karma Chain on the High Line in 2011, and the Dream-Over.

Dr. Adriana Renero is currently a Visiting Research Scholar in New York University, Philosophy Department, as well as an Affiliated Research Scholar in the Philosophy of Mind at the Saul Kripke Center in the City University of New York, Graduate Center. She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness from 2017 to 2021. She earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from CUNY, Graduate Center, Philosophy Program in 2017. Adriana’s research focuses on the philosophy of mind—in particular on philosophy of consciousness, introspection, the mind-body problem, the knowledge argument—and philosophy of sounds and music.

About Our Guide

Kevin Townley is a writer, filmmaker, actor, singer, and meditation instructor. His film and television work include appearances in My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Men in Black III, The Detour, and Law & Order. He has written extensively for the Waterwell theater company and for Rookie magazine. He has also led hundreds of art tours in museums across the country including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and the Rubin Museum of Art. His first book, Look, Look, Look, Look Again: Buddhist Wisdom Reflected in 26 Artists is published by Lionheart Press and available at the Rubin Museum shop. (Members’ price: $27.39 incl. tax)

Lead support for Brainwave is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional support is provided by Cheryl Henson.

. NYC Cultural Affairs

Tickets: $25

Member Tickets: $18.75 (25% discount)