the Buddhist Diaspora in india { 19 images } Created 6 Apr 2012

The Buddhist diaspora in north India

In honor of the visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, to the University of San Diego, this special photo exhibition of the Buddhist diaspora gives articulation to the landscape of a people His Holiness has spent a lifetime serving. Collected from over two years of travels in north, north-east India, and Bhutan these select photographs offer a panoramic view of Buddhist pilgrims and architecture from Bihar and Sikkim. The images provide a visual entry into appreciating faith’s role in the shaping of space and community for Buddhists in the diaspora.
Known as the Buddhist “capital” of the world, Bodhgaya in Bihar is an important destination for pilgrims who come from distant locations to visit the hallowed site of Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment and to worship at the sacred Mahabodhi temple (recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002). Images shown here highlight the three-day celebratory activities surrounding “Buddha Mahotsava,” the anniversary of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment in the 6th century B.C.E.
The small and secluded geography of Sikkim makes logical its equation with mythical accounts of a Himalayan utopia known as shangri-la, paradise on earth. Today, it exemplifies India’s cultural diversity and religious tolerance by its graceful hybridization of Buddhism and Hinduism. Well over three hundred years ago, the famous Pemayangtse monastery (Sublime Lotus) in Pelling, featured here, was built for monks of Tibetan descent.
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