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Seeing the Sacred in Samsara

Donald Lopez + Tenzin Namgyal Tethong

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

Get a fascinating glimpse of the tantric yogis of medieval India at this illustrated lecture. Renowned Professor of Buddhist Studies Donald S. Lopez Jr. converses with Tenzin Tethong, whose collection of paintings forms the basis of Lopez’s new book, Seeing the Sacred in Samsara.

This fascinating art book features full-color, full-scale paintings of each of the 84 Indian mahasiddhas, tantric Buddhist saints known for their supernatural powers, esoteric iconography, and often wild, seemingly transgressive behaviors. Unlike monks and nuns who renounce the world, these saints sought the sacred in the midst of samsara. Some were simple peasants who meditated while doing manual labor. Others were kings and queens who traded the comfort and riches of the palace for the danger and transgression of the charnel ground. Still others were sinners—pimps, drunkards, gamblers, and hunters—who transformed their sins into sanctity.

Lopez will offer historical, aesthetic, and religious insights, giving audience members a sense of the nuanced narratives and themes illustrated in the paintings, while Tenzin Tethong will speak to his remarkable family history and the origins of the paintings.

A book signing will follow the program.

About the speakers

Donald Lopez is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan. A regular presence on the Rubin stage, his recent books include Hyecho’s Journey, Dispelling the Darkness (with Thupten Jinpa) and Assembly of the Exalted (with Rebecca Bloom). His 1998 work, Prisoners of Shangri-La, was published in a 20th anniversary edition last year. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (with Robert Buswell) won the Dartmouth Medal for best reference work of 2014. Seeing the Sacred in Samsara: An Illustrated Guide to the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas will appear in June of 2019.

Tenzin Namgyal Tethong‘s collection of paintings forms the basis of the new book Seeing the Sacred in Samsara: An Illustrated Guide to the Eighty-Four Mahasiddhas.

Tickets: $25.00

Member Tickets: Free

Student Advance: $14.00

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