In connection with the ‘Space for Mind, Space for Art: treasures of Tibetan Buddhism and contemporary responses‘ which is happening this week at The Spring Project, in Lambeth, London, the sangha in Brighton decided to put on their own exhibition ‘Art of Enlightenment’.
The Brighton sangha’s exhibition formed a part of the City’s Fringe Festival (a sub section of the wider Brighton Festival that happens every May). The Brighton Fringe is the third largest open-access multi-artform festival in the world, set in a city with a unique heritage of liberalism and creativity. With the official Brighton tourism guide “Visit Brighton” estimating that the Brighton Fringe saw 180,000 attendees in 2011, the local sangha knew they were going to have to put on a special event.
The exhibition itself took the form of the Refuge Tree and it featured 20 exhibits with the main attraction being a 50cm statue of Diamond Holder (Tib. Dorje Chang) who is understood to be the truth-essence of all Buddhas. Other highlights amongst the exhibits on show included a statue of Marpa, the forefather of the Kagyu lineage in Tibet who brought the complete transmission of the Diamond Way teachings from India to Tibet, a statue of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa who was one of the Twentieth Centuries greatest Yogis and the teacher of Hannah and Lama Ole Nydahl, plus a thangka of Dzambhala who guards one’s path to enlightenment by granting the wealth and prosperity that are necessary to continue one’s practise. It is the empowerment of this particular buddha aspect that H.H. 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje will give when he is in London this July.
Whilst preparing the exhibition the sangha in Brighton formed many close bonds through their meaningful activity and shared many joyful occasions in such a creative environment. Then during the exhibition they were able to share this joy and happiness with the visitors who came to the Brighton Diamond Way Buddhist Centre to enjoy the exhibition that was made as an offering to the local community. All of the sangha took part in the exhibition and everyone found a way in which they could contribute to the event in a useful way, be it building plinths, designing brochures or providing guided tours of the exhibits. The exhibition was a great success with many local people visiting and gaining new insights into the world of Tibetan art and the activities of the Brighton Diamond Way Buddhist Centre in their community. The expectation was raised for what will be offered to the city for next year’s Brighton Festival. Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge.