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Theme: Power

During times of hardship, we must learn to become more than our pains, fears, and worries. Inspired by the Fifth Dalai Lama’s holistic approach to political turmoil, Tracy Cochran explores how even the smallest achievements in life can grant us power similar to that of a king.

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 19:20.

If you would like to attend Mindfulness Meditation sessions in person or learn more, please visit our website at RubinMuseum.org/meditation.

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

Related Artwork

The Fifth Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso (1617-1682) with Previous Incarnations; Central Tibet; 18th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; F1996.29.3 (HAR 506)
The Fifth Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso (1617-1682) with Previous Incarnations; Central Tibet; 18th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; F1996.29.3 (HAR 506)

This handsome red and gold thangka portrays the Fifth Dalai Lama surrounded by his previous incarnations. The Great Fifth was the Dalai Lama who rose to power during a major crisis in Tibetan history in the late 15th and early 16th centuries when the secular rulers of Tibet fought to take back political dominance from the evermore powerful monastic orders. After the intervention of a Mongolian king, the Fifth Dalai Lama was formally offered the throne of Tibet in 1642. He proceeded to organize a unique government integrating monastic and aristocratic officials in a single administration. He demilitarized the aristocracy, which caused them to live in Lhasa and accept positions within the central government. Above this capital on the Red Mountain, he built the Potala Palace and monastery as a symbol of the reign of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. The Great Fifth was considered a reincarnation of this deity.

In this thangka, the central figure of the Fifth Dalai Lama is robed in skillfully and boldly drawn folds of drapery, and he is seated on a triple-cushioned throne, indicating that the painting was probably created during his lifetime (otherwise it would have been a lotus throne). Avalokiteshvara sits in the center above.

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 tracycochran.org.

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