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Meditation session led by Kate Johnson.

For centuries Himalayan practitioners have used meditation to quiet the mind, open the heart, calm the nervous system, and increase focus. Now Western scientists, business leaders, and the secular world have embraced meditation as a vital tool for brain health.

Whether you’re a beginner, a dabbler, or a skilled meditator seeking the company of others, join expert teachers in a forty-five-minute weekly program designed to fit into your lunch break. Each session will be inspired by a different work of art from the Rubin Museum’s collection and will include an opening talk, a twenty-minute sitting session, and a closing discussion. Chairs will be provided.

Presented in partnership with Sharon Salzberg and the Interdependence Project. This program is supported in part by the Hemera Foundation.


Shantarakshita; Tibet; 19th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; C2007.22.1 (HAR 65798)
Shantarakshita; Tibet; 19th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; C2007.22.1 (HAR 65798)

Theme: Discovering

This painting depicts the great Indian monk Shantarakshita. He was invited to Tibet in the 8th century by King Trisong Dentsen to ordain the first Tibetan Buddhist monks and to establish Central Tibet’s first monastery, Samye. However, upon arrival Shantarakshita discovered that many of Tibet’s indigenous deities wanted to stop Buddhism from establishing itself, and he did not have the necessary powers to deal with these spirits. He suggested to the king that only Padmasambhava could subdue the demons. With time, these three figures, Trisong Detsen, Shantarakshita, and Padmasambhava, came to represent the ideal triptych of practitioners–the patron, the monk, and the tantric yogi respectively””that support the Vajrayana Buddhist system.

About the Speaker

Kate Johnson works at the intersections of spiritual practice, social action, and creative expression. She teaches mindful yoga in NYC public schools, teaches Buddhist meditation at the Interdependence Project, and facilitates an embodied approach to organizational and leadership development for social change agents and communities. Johnson holds a BFA in dance from the Alvin Ailey School/Fordham University and a MA in performance studies from NYU. She has trained at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, the Interdependence Project, Laughing Lotus Yoga, and the Presencing Institute. She is working on a book about waking up to power and oppression as a spiritual practice, to be published by Parallax Press.