The Structure of the exhibition

The theme of the exhibition is the Refuge Tree, which signifies mind´s full potential, and is a central part of Tibetan Buddhism. It represents the goal (enlightenment), the path that brings us there, and the support and guidance necessary for this journey. The Refuge Tree has six parts:


Buddha (Tib. Sangye)

Buddha represents enlightenment – a permanent state of happiness – which is free from all limitations and where all the mind’s perfect qualities are accomplished for the good of all beings. The historical Buddha Shakyamuni reached this state around 2500 years ago, and his form is traditionally used to depict the goal.

Dharma (Tib. Chö)

The teachings that Buddha gave concerning how to reach enlightenment. The teachings are represented through texts or a golden female Buddha form Prajnaparamita.

Sangha (Tib. Gendün)

Friends and helpers on the way, who give the necessary support on the path to enlightenment. The white four-armed Buddha form, Loving Eyes (Tib. Chenrezig) is traditionally used to represent the sangha.

The Teacher (Tib. Lama)

The Teacher is the central element of the Refuge Tree. The Teacher represents the blessing of the transmission lineage and inspires the student by showing mind´s perfect potential. The teacher can be shown in a human form, or as the blue Buddha Vajradhara.

Yidams (Tib. Yidam)

Yidams are Buddha forms that represent mind’s perfect qualities, which one can accomplish by meditating on them. The central Yidam in Karma Kagyu-transmission lineage is the blue Buddha form Highest Bliss (Tib. Khorlo Demchog) in his united form.

The Protectors (Tib. Gonpo).

The protectors represent the protective power of mind and are in essence compassion. Protectors remove outer and inner obstacles on the way to enlightenment. Black Coat (Tib. Bernagchen) is the main protector of Karma Kagyu-lineage.


Symbolism

For more than 2000 years, statues have been a part of the Buddhist tradition. The statues represent different Buddha forms and Lamas, which inspire the meditation of the practitioner. Each detail of the statues and the scroll-paintings, for example the color or the posture of the hands, has a symbolic meaning.

Origin of the exhibited pieces

Some of the statues and scroll-paintings are the property of the Diamond Way Buddhism Foundation. Some are from private collections, for example from the collection of the German diplomat Johann-Jürgen Blomeyer. The oldest statue of the exhibition is a Buddha Shakyamuni, made of slate, which is around 2000 years old.


Literature:
Böhnke, Tanja & Seegers, Manfred: Space and Bliss – Buddhist Statues and Ritual Implements
Beer, Robert: The Encyclopedia of Tibetab Symbols and Motifs