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Death Is Not the End Opening Weekend

Cham Dance and Free Admission

Saturday, March 18, 2023
11:00 AM–5:00 PM

12:00 PM and 2:00 PM: Tibetan Buddhist cham dance demonstration

Enjoy free admission to the Rubin during the opening weekend of Death Is Not the End, a cross-cultural exhibition that explores notions of death and afterlife through the art of Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity. During a time of great global turmoil, loss, and uncertainty, the exhibition invites contemplation of the universal human condition of impermanence and the desire to continue to exist.

Stop by the lobby at 12:00 PM or 2:00 PM for a demonstration of Tibetan Buddhist cham dance, traditionally performed mostly by monks to observe religious holidays and auspicious events. Being in the audience of cham dance is believed to remove negative energy, bring forth blessings, balance shifting spiritual energies, and increase harmony and peace for all living beings.

Cham Master Lama Ugen Rongdrol Palden will perform the Chitipati, or “skeleton dance,” cham dance, dressed in traditional garments evocative of the Lords of the Charnel Ground, whose image is featured in the exhibition Death Is Not the End. Khenpo Tenzin Norgay Rinpoche will provide descriptions of the symbolism and meaning behind this sacred dance.

Lords of the Charnel Ground, Smashana Adipati; Tibet; 18th century; painted terracotta; Rubin Museum of Art; C2002.36.1 (HAR 65149);

About the Teachers

Khenpo Tenzin Norgay Rinpoche

Khenpo Tenzin Norgay Rinpoche was born in Bhutan in 1965. After completing secondary school in 1986, he joined Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, the prestigious Buddhist studies and research center, at Namdroling Monastery in Mysore. At the Institute he studied under Khenchen Pema Sherab, Khenpo Namdrol Tsering, Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso, and other visiting professors, including Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok and Khenpo Pema Tsewang from Tibet. He completed the Shedra program in 1995 and joined the Institute staff, teaching there for three years. He was formally enthroned as Khenpo by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in 1998 and was assigned by His Holiness to teach at the Buddhist college at Palyul monastery in Tibet. He is the main resident master at Palyul Dharma Center in Queens.

Lama Ugen Rongdrol Palden

Lama Ugen Rongdrol Palden was born in India, but was sent to Tibet at a very young age to learn the cham dance. He was chosen by H.H. Penor Rinpoche to learn the Palyul cham from the most senior cham masters in Palyul mother monastery in Tibet in the early 1980s, thus becoming the Palyul cham lineage holder. He is often called “Cham-pon” cham master by his students. In 2015 Lama Ugen led sold out adult classes at the Rubin Museum during the exhibition Becoming Another: The Power of Masks. He was also part of Om chanting and solo Bardho Thodrol recording during The World Is Sound exhibition in 2017. He is currently one of the two resident Lamas of Guru Lhakhang New York Palyul Dharma Center in Queens.

Death Is Not the End is supported by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, and The Prospect Hill Foundation.

The Rubin Museum’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of Governor Kathy Hochcul and the New York State Legislature.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image credits:
Lords of the Charnel Ground, Smashana Adipati; Tibet; 18th century; painted terracotta; Rubin Museum of Art; C2002.36.1 (HAR 65149); photograph by David De Armas, Rubin Museum of Art, 2012

Reserve your free ticket to the Museum. A limited number of tickets will be available onsite on a first-come, first-served basis.