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Tracy Cochran

Mindfulness Meditation

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
1:00 PM–1:45 PM
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Related Artwork

The Chariot Ritual, practiced by Hindus and Buddhists in the Kathmandu Valley, is a special birthday celebration for an elder who reaches the age of 77 years, 7 months, 7 days, 7 hours, and 7 minutes. To commemorate this day, Buddhists commission the construction of reliquary mound known as a stupa. If unable to build a full-size stupa, the family of the elder may sponsor a small three-dimensional metal sculpture, a hammered metal relief sculpture, or a painting. Examples of the latter two types of symbolic stupas are represented here.

The Five Transcendent Buddhas are located at the top of the painting. Below them are 10 astrological deities representing the planets in the heavens and the calculation of time. At the center of the painting is a stupa containing the Victorious Crown Ornament Goddess (Ushnishavijaya), representing the continuation of an already long life for the birthday elder. Two additional deities included in the birthday rituals are depicted below the stupa: the Goddess of Abundance (Vasundhara) and the Bodhisattva Manjushri, also known as the Glorious One with a Melodious Voice. The lower parts of the painting depict the 77-year-old elder along with family members.

In the day’s festivities, the elder mounts a chariot and rides through the city, stopping to perform a religious service in front of a sacred stupa. Although similar to the Buddhist Chariot Ritual, the Hindu celebration places more emphasis on rituals performed in a temple setting.

Theme: Rituals

About the Mindfulness Meditation Podcast

The Rubin Museum of Art presents a weekly meditation session led by a prominent meditation teacher from the New York area, with each session focusing on a specific work of art. This podcast is recorded in front of a live audience, and includes an opening talk, a 20-minute sitting session, and a closing discussion. The guided meditation begins at 14:20.

If you would like to attend Mindfulness Meditation sessions in person or learn more, please visit our website at
This program is presented in partnership with Sharon Salzberg, the Interdependence Project, and Parabola Magazine.

About the Speaker

Tracy Cochran, is editorial director of Parabola, a quarterly magazine that for forty years has drawn on the world’s cultural and wisdom traditions to explore the questions that all humans share. She has been a student of meditation and spiritual practices for decades and teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful writing at New York Insight Meditation Center and throughout the greater New York area. In addition to Parabola, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Psychology Today, O Magazine, New York Magazine, the Boston Review, and many other publications and anthologies. For more information please visit

Image Credit
Ushnisavijaya and Celebration of Old Age (Jyatha Janko); Nepal; 19th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; F1997.17.24 (HAR 100024)

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