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In this talk, I will provide an overview of the contemporary use of maṇḍalas as aids to and objects of meditation.

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In recent decades Buddhist maṇḍalas have become increasingly popular. The creation of the Kālacakra (‘Wheel of Time’) maṇḍala from coloured grains of sand by Tibetan monks can be seen in museums and galleries around the world. Maṇḍala colouring books are on display in many bookstores. Mainly used in tantric initiation rituals in the past as surfaces whereon to invoke divinities, maṇḍalas have more recently been described as “aids” or “tools to meditation” and designated as “meditation diagrams” and “meditational art”. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the contemporary use of maṇḍalas as aids to and objects of meditation, contrasting this usage with traditional functions of maṇḍalas in Buddhist tantric ritual.

Speaker Biography

Gudrun Bühnemann is a Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. She has published extensively on South Asian iconography and ritual. More information can be found on her website: http://buhnemann.ls.wisc.edu/

#SOASCentreOfYogaStudies #ContemporaryIssues #Buddhism #MaterialCulture #ArtCriticism

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Organiser SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies

Organiser of Gudrun Buhnemann

SOAS is leading the way in the new field of yoga studies, which is growing rapidly around the globe. We host the Hatha Yoga Project, a research initiative funded by the European Research Council, which will chart the history of physical yoga practices, and we are one of only four universities in the world to offer an MA in Yoga and Meditation. The Centre of Yoga Studies is a hub for scholars, students and all those interested in yoga and hosts lecture series, seminars and workshops in order to share our work, learn from that of others and develop new collaborations.

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