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The Second Buddha

Master of Time

February 2, 2018–January 7, 2019

In 2018, the future will be both present and projected from the past at the Rubin Museum of Art, with a new exhibition that tells the story of the legendary Indian master Padmasambhava. Celebrated by Tibetans as “The Second Buddha,” Padmasambhava, the Lotus Born, is believed to have been instrumental in converting the land and people of Tibet to Buddhism. His legends carry universal relevance about triumph over obstacles, the power of human emotions, transformation, impermanence, achieving liberation from life and death, and notions of time—all of which transcend specific cultures and eras.

The Second Buddha brings together 41 works of art from the 13th to 20th century with interactive technology. Central to the exhibition are themes of the interconnected nature of past and future as the basis for constructing identity and projecting teachings into the future. It is said that in the past Padmasambhava concealed his teachings, known as treasure teachings, throughout the Tibetan landscape to be discovered by foretold disciples at opportune times in the future. To parallel such discoveries, visitors will engage with select objects to reveal their hidden meaning and content. As one of the methods for revealing that which is hidden, visitors will use Augmented Reality (AR) tablets. The exhibition will also be activated by other interactive technology and performances, which bring the narratives to life and let visitors consider mechanisms of storytelling that touch on the themes of the exhibition, the past, the present, and ways of enabling the future.

An audio tour and series of public programs complements the exhibition, which is accompanied by a publication coproduced with the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. The exhibition will also travel to the Tang Museum in 2019.

Curated by Elena Pakhoutova

Support for The Second Buddha: Master of Time is made possible in part by Bob and Lois Baylis, The Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Barbara Bowman, Lisina M. Hoch, and contributors to the 2018 Exhibitions Fund.

The Second Buddha: Master of Time is organized by The Rubin Museum of Art and The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College.

Artwork caption
Scenes from the Life of Padmasambhava; Tibet; 19th century; Pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; C2007.16.1 (HAR 81832 )

Exhibition Resources