Saturday, July 20, 2019

A Radical Realist View of Tibetan Buddhism at the Rubin

By Ian Johnson
Kingdom of Shambhala and the Final Battle, Mongolia, nineteenth century
One of the hallmarks of the past few decades has been the rise of religious-based nationalism in, for example, India, the United States, and the Middle East. And it has become routine in discussing these areas to make a link between politics and religion—be it Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam. Buddhism, though, continues to flummox us. For many, Buddhism is “a religion of peace” and its adaptation for political purposes, even to inspire violence, feels flat-out wrong. That makes the current exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art, “Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism,” an especially welcome landmark, the first in-depth exploration of the topic. [More]
Panjaranatha Mahakala, China, Ming dynasty, late fifteenth century