As part of Core of Culture’s new project, Mudra & The Diamond Spheres, Dr. Christian Luczanits will conclude a four-speaker series begun in October with Odissi dancer Sharon Lowen, Tantric Newar priest Prajwal Vajracharya, and former monk and Buddhist scholar Dr. Thinles Dorje. Each of these exponents reveals different insights into the vast and ancient practice of mudra, or empowered hand gestures.
This series is open for all to attend by registering at www.yangchenma.org/mudra. Registration also provides access to the earlier three presentations.
Dr. Luczanits will first discuss the importance of mudra in the middle period of esoteric Buddhism, including yoga tantra, and also consider its strangeness when communicated into another culture. Using beautiful and rare imagery from Dunhuang, Tabo, and elsewhere, Luczanits will then show how the assembly of deities of the Vajradhatu mandala has been inscribed into the Tabo Assembly Hall, within which the Vajradhatu ritual is performed. Finally, he will explore the term mudra in this particular context using both depictions and textual sources.
Christian Luczanits is the David L. Snellgrove Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His research focuses on Buddhist art in India and Tibet. Luczanits has published extensively on Gandharan, Western Himalayan, and early Tibetan art, and curated a number of exhibitions. Before joining SOAS, he taught at the University of Vienna, UC Berkeley, the Free University in Berlin, UC Santa Barbara, and Stanford University, and worked as senior curator at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York.
Mudra & The Diamond Spheres is produced by Core of Culture, with lead funding provided by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation and additional support from the Kipper Family Foundation.