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A meditation session led by Rebecca Li.

For centuries Himalayan practitioners have used meditation to quiet the mind, open the heart, calm the nervous system, and increase focus. Mindfulness meditation offers both a refuge from the world around us, and an opportunity to engage with it more consciously.

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. Each session is inspired by a different work of art from the Rubin Museum’s collection. Designed to fit into your lunch break, the program includes an opening talk, a twenty-minute sitting session, and a closing discussion. Chairs will be provided.

This program is supported in part by the Hemera Foundation with thanks to our presenting partners Sharon Salzberg, the Interdependence Project, and Parabola Magazine.

Lotus Mandala of Hevajra with the Eight Great Siddhas; Eastern India; ca. 12th century; copper alloy; Rubin Museum of Art; C2003.10.2 (HAR 65207)
Lotus Mandala of Hevajra with the Eight Great Siddhas; Eastern India; ca. 12th century; copper alloy; Rubin Museum of Art; C2003.10.2 (HAR 65207)

Theme: Intentionality

This intriguing object is a three-dimensional mandala in the shape of a lotus. A mandala is a meditation tool, in the form of an architectural blueprint of a deity’s palace, which enables human interaction with the divine. Supported on a stalklike base, this mandala features one early Indian grouping of the Eight Great Siddhas on the exterior of its eight petals, one siddha per petal. The lotus once enclosed a now-lost deity and his consort at the center. On the inside of each petal are eight female yoginis, who were part of the central couple’s retinue. When closed, this flower resembles a bud.

A lotus sets its course to bloom above water while remaining deeply rooted in the mud below. It simultaneously represents the purity of the enlightened rising in spite of mood and through the suffering of samsara as well as nonattachment because its flowers blossom on long stalks unsullied by the mud below. Both the lotus and the mandala guide us on our path to enlightenment with the intention to move beyond suffering through meditation.

About the Speaker

Rebecca Li is a Dharma heir in the lineage of Chan Master Sheng Yen and started practicing meditation in 1995. She began her teacher’s training with Master Sheng Yen in 1999 to become a Dharma and meditation instructor. She then trained with Simon Child to lead intensive retreats and received full Dharma transmission in 2016. Rebecca currently teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures, and leads retreats in North America and in the UK. Her talks and writings can be found at