Thursday, February 2, 2017

India Adventure III: Weekend in Delhi - teachings from Geshe Dorji Damdul, visit to the National Museum of India

After seeing His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the 17th Karmapa earlier in the week, I returned to my regular class schedule in McLeod Ganj:

Mondays through Fridays from 2 - 4PM with Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 4 - 6PM with Geshe Kelsang Wangmo

I rarely make it to every class in a given week, but I try to get there.

Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche

Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche teaches in Tibetan. Ben, who interprets for Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche then repeats what Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche had just said in English. Here, Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche is teaching in Tibetan:

Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche and Ben - April 27 or 28, 2016.
Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche teaching in Tibetan.
Here, Ben is expressing what Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche just said in English:

Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche and Ben - April 27 or 28, 2016.
Ben translating into English.
When a student has a question the student asks the question in English. Ben listens, clarifies the question with the student, and then shares the question with Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche in Tibetan. Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche will give the student an answer in Tibetan. Ben clarifies the answer with Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche, and then shares the answer with the student in English. It is amazing to watch the way they work together. It is as if Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche is speaking through Ben.

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo's classroom at IBD.
Geshe Kelsang Wangmo is a German nun but teaches in English. A graduate of the Institute for Buddhist Dialectics 16 year program, she is translating the second chapter of the text Pramanavartika from Tibetan into English at the request of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and then teaching us the text in English.

In her 2016 teaching at Tushita Meditation Centre Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo noted Geshe Kelsang Wangmo had received the geshe ma degree. Here is a short interview about that with Geshe Kelsang Wangmo:



To hear more about her time studying at the Institute for Buddhist Dialectics and about becoming a geshe, watch this fantastic longer video interview.

Tibetan Carpets

I had some unusual leisure time on Friday, April 29. I somehow wound up at my favorite shop in McLeod Ganj, the Tibetan Handicraft Cooperative Society shop. It is on Jogiwara Road, south of the Snow Lion Hotel/Restaurant and north of the McLeod Ganj government post office. The door to the shop is on the side of the building. To reach it, you have to walk up a set of exterior steps to the second story.

I discovered the shop on my first trip to McLeod Ganj. A friend who stays in McLeod Ganj took me there to pick out my first Buddha statue. I have been in there many times since.

Medicine Buddha thankga for sale in the shop.

Statues and bells for sale in the shop. This is where I found my statutes.

Tibetan shawls for sale.

Looking out a  side window of the shop. Water bowls for use on altars for sale.

Tibetan Handicraft Cooperative Society shop.

Looking out the front window of the shop.

Tibetan Handicraft Cooperative Society shop window, just near the entrance.

In order to enter the shop, you first pass through a workshop where Tibetans are sitting before looms or on the floor, making carpets. Then you will come to the door of the shop.

Entrance to the Tibetan Handicraft Cooperative Society shop.


Tibetan Handicraft Society Ltd. brochure.
The shop is affiliated with the Tibetan Handicraft Society Ltd., which makes custom ordered Tibetan woolen carpets available for purchase through the Tibetan Handicraft Cooperative Society shop. I found a great recent article about the organization, from which I pulled the below information.

Tibetan Handicraft Society Ltd. was established on April 11, 1963 with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's blessing to preserve the ancient craft of Tibetan carpet weaving. It trains Tibetans in the art of weaving traditional Tibetan woolen carpets. It now employs about 63 Tibetans. This not only preserves an ancient Tibetan craft and Tibetan culture, but it also provides employment to exiled Tibetans. Some of the employees came into exile as children while others were born in India.

In addition to providing training and employment, the Tibetan Handicraft Society Ltd. provides housing, assistance with children's education, pension plans for retirees, medicare, and assistance with funeral expenses. Since some Tibetans sell sweaters as a side business in the markets of India, the Tibetan Handicraft Society Ltd. gives a three month holiday and loans to shareholders.

Tibetan carpet weaving.

Tibetan carpet weaving.

Tibetan carpet close up.

Tibetan carpet close up.
Production Manager Tamding Tsering, who has been with the Tibetan Handicraft Society since 1972 said "An ancient and traditional craft, carpets have been an intrinsic part of Tibetan culture." They have been used for many purposes including sleeping, sitting, as horse saddles, wall hangings, and flooring. I have seen the carpets used for these purposes in India and Nepal. (But I have never seen them used as horse saddles.)

Tamding Tsering also shared "In 1959, the year of the Tibetan Uprising, when the Chinese took control, thousands of Tibetans followed the young Dalai Lama's flight to Dharamsala in India through the Himalayas." His family fled; he was a child when his family reached Sikkim in India. "I grew up here and joined the co-operative as an employee, learnt carpet weaving in 1976, and in 1983, I was promoted to the position of a carpet teacher. And since 1992, I have been acting as the production manager."
Tibetan carpets.

Tibetan carpet weaving.
Tibetan carpet weaving teacher Dawa Dolma said their carpets are unique as compared with other weaving traditions because "We still use the archaic vertical loom and double knots''. Her family fled from Tibet to Nepal. She learned Tibetan carpet weaving in Nepal. While carpet weaving still exists in Tibet, preservation of the craft is mostly happening in India and Nepal, where most of the Tibetan carpets have been made in recent years.

While I had walked through the workspace and seen the carpets in the past, I had never inquired about ordering a carpet. To my great fortune, while visiting the shop on Friday, April 29, 2016 I met Heidi, an American woman who was looking to buy a carpet for her home in Washington. I got to spend some time sitting on stools in the workshop with her, looking over design books and wool color samples.

My friend Tsering, who works in the Tibetan Handicraft Society shop and assists Tamding Tsering with the carpet production business, sat with us to go over the details. Foreign orders must be a pretty regular thing: 85% of the carpets are exported, mostly to the US, Canada, Belgium, France, and Japan. The shop has a loyal clientele. They are the only ones in McLeod Ganj who have been making the handmade Tibetan carpets since 1963.

First, Heidi selected a carpet design from the books that were brought to us by Tsering. The patterns we saw feature traditional Tibetan motifs: animal, floral, and symbolic representations.

We were shown the artwork drawn in preparation for a similar carpet ordered by another customer, to get an idea of what Heidi's carpet may look like once the artwork was laid out. The art department located upstairs above the shop and workshop prepares a graph for each carpet ordered that is then referenced by the weavers. The carpet design was laid out on graph paper, and the colors selected by the customer for use in the design were marked out on the design in what I remember as colored pencils.

Once Heidi picked the design she wanted, after making some alterations to what we saw in the books, and selected the colors she wanted used in the design, we were done. The carpet was shipped to her house from McLeod Ganj. I saw a photo of it; it is beautiful.

Tsering said "The best thing about Tibetan carpets is the quality: They last long. One carpet lasts for at least 40 years. For instance, the ones at my home were made by my parents about half a century ago; but they still look good. So I say Tibetan carpets last a lifetime. They are washable, but should be dried well."

The shop's contact information is on their Facebook page: Currently, this is printed there: 
Phone numbers in India: +91-1892-221415 / +91-1892-220598 / +919882227585 / +919816664397 Email: dhanyam2001@yahoo.com / nyamley@gmail.com

In addition to the shops, Tibetans sell handmade booties, hats, and scarves on the roadside in McLeod Ganj. The yarn they use is so bright and pretty. It is fun to walk by and see the street vendors knitting while watching their stalls.


Street vendors on Jogiwara Road near the McLeod Ganj main square.

Street vendors on Jogiwara Road near the McLeod Ganj main square.
I don't send many postcards, but when I do I stop and buy them from this shop on Jogiwara Road. I have been buying most of my postcards in India from this shop since my first visit to McLeod Ganj in 2014.

The shop where I have been buying most of my postcards since my first visit to India.
Postcards for sale.
More postcards for sale.
I left McLeod Ganj later that day for a quick weekend trip to Delhi, traveling south via overnight bus. It's less than a 12 hour ride from McLeod Ganj to Delhi.

Geshe Dorji Damdul in Delhi

I was on my way to Tibet House to attend the final two days of a three day course taught by Tibet House Director Geshe Dorji Damdul on In Praise of Dharmadhatu. The course began on Friday night, April 29, 2016 and finished on Sunday night, May 1, 2016.

In Praise of Dharmadhatu is a commentary on the Buddha's teachings written by Acharya Nagarjuna in the 1st century CE. The text explains dharmadhatu in the context of buddha nature. It exists in all beings. All of the miseries we experience are the result of our lack of awareness.

Acharya Nagarjuna. Image from Wikipedia.
Geshe Dorji Damdul has explained:

What is seen as murky and what is seen as pure is the same object – the dharmadhatu. Whether you see this dharmadhatu as murky and as imperfection of samsara or, as pure and as peacefulness of nirvana is determined by the state of the mind with which you are looking at it — whether with deluded mind or with the pure pristine awareness of emptiness.

In this sense, we see that objectively nirvana is already there even while we are in the worst state of impurity. The difference lies in the purity of the subject which views this dharmadhatu.

Therefore discovering the dharmadhatu in its true form without the perceiver being sullied by mental stains of afflictions is actually the discovery of nirvana. And the subtler version of the discovery where the dharmadhatu is seen through the perception which is freed of even the subtlest of the stains is seeing the full enlightenment which is Buddhahood.

This takes us to the next step. How to cleanse the lens of our perception through which we see the dharmadhatu if we are to see this dhatu in its purest form. The author unfolds another secret. Just as the fire-proof garment which is soiled, when put into fire, the fire will burn the stains but not the garment. Likewise subjecting the afflicted mind to the fire of the wisdom, the afflictions are burned and the mind not. This frees the mind from the mental stains known as afflictions, amounting to achieving an untainted lens of mind through which Enlightenment will be seen. The author says:

A garment that was purged by fire
May be soiled by various stains.
When it is put into a blaze,
The stains are burned, the garment not.

Likewise, mind that is so luminous
Is soiled by stains of craving and so forth.
The afflictions burn in the wisdom’s fire,
But its luminosity does not.

This will naturally take us to the next question. What is this wisdom which burns the mental defilements? How can we cultivate it? This will take us to study, reflect and meditate on the meaning of ultimate reality as expounded in Heart Sutra.

Delhi Shopping

My bus from McLeod Ganj reached Delhi very early in the morning on Saturday, April 30. Since I still had some time before class started at Tibet House I took the Delhi metro (subway) to the INA metro station and waited outside for the Dilli Haat craft market  to open for the day. While waiting I met this street dog who appeared to have been playfully eating a blue rubber flip flop. In case you thought only American dogs eat shoes ...
Even street dogs eat shoes.
Dilli Haat is a permanent pay-for-entry craft market run by the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation. Some shops are permanent but others run on a rotation basis. Potential vendors must apply for a spot in the market. Space is allocated based on which state the potential vendors are from. The 62 spaces are rented out for 100 rupees each per day, for a maximum of 15 days per vendor.

So if you see something you like from a particular vendor, then buy it when you see it. That vendor may not be there next time you visit. And do bargain with the vendors. I have found the market to be one of the best places to buy Indian crafts in India, even though the entry price to the market is pretty steep for foreigners. (I think I paid 100 rs to get in on the day I shopped in 2016.) It is also a fun, low pressure place to shop.

Giant handmade elephants. How to get these on the airplane?
Too bad. I left them there.
Craft market stall. Handbags of different sizes, shapes, and styles for sale.
Craft market stall. Drawings for sale.
National Museum of India

After visiting the Dilli Haat market I rushed over to the National Museum of India so I could spend as much time there as possible before class began at Tibet House. (The museum had been closed for renovation the last time I tried to visit; this was my first visit to the museum. Also note it is closed on Mondays.)

Established in 1942, it is one of the largest museums in India. The collection of around 200,000 objects are of Indian and foreign origin, and cover over 5,000 years - from pre-historic to modern times. It contains scupltures in stone, bronze and terracotta, decorative arts, jewelery, manuscripts, miniatures and Tanjore paintings, textiles, numismatics, epigraphy, central Asian antiques, and pre-columbian American and western art.

I did not have much time, so figured my best bet was to take the free walking tour of the museum that was about to start. Our guide was lovely. She took us to the highlights and explained the meaning of each piece. I left the tour a little early so I could return to some of the rooms we had walked through, as well as to see some other things.

My favorite part of the museum was getting to see statues that once stood at some of the pilgrimage places I have visited in India - Varanasi, Sarnath, and Nalanda in Bihar. Varanasi is a sacred pilgrimage place for Hindus; the other two are Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The statues retrieved from those sites and placed in the museum represent those spiritual traditions. I also saw statues of Jain deities, another religion that originated in India.

I also enjoyed - as I always do - the paintings on display. I also tried to see the Buddhist art such as thangkas owned by the museum.

One of the biggest draws to the National Museum of India for Buddhists is the room that holds relics of Shakyamuni Buddha. I made sure to visit the relics, and was there when the guards let me know the museum was about to close. I think that was another way of saying it was time to go to Tibet House for the start of class.

I did my best to document some of my favorite pieces of art from the National Museum of India. It is a huge museum - there is much left to see and enjoy.

The Nativity. Mughal, Muhammadshah period, 1725 AD.
Paper.
A folio of Buddhist manuscript Prajnaparamita.
Pala style, Bengal, circa 1025 AD. Palm leaf.

Close up: A folio of Buddhist manuscript Prajnaparamita.
Pala style, Bengal, circa 1025 AD. Palm leaf.

Close up: A folio of Buddhist manuscript Prajnaparamita.
Pala style, Bengal, circa 1025 AD. Palm leaf.

White elephants showering holy water on Lord Mahavira.
A folio from the Mandu Kalpasutra. Jain style, Mandu, Central India.
Dated 1439 AD. Paper.
Babur after attending the reception in his honor at Samarkand
leaving for Bustan-Sarai.
An illustration from Baburnama the memoirs of Babur.
Mugal, Akbar period, dated 1858 AD. Paper.

Angels offering fruits to the Prophet of birds.
Kurnool, Deccan, circa 1730 - 50 AD. Paper.

Pilgrimage - Pata. The famous Vishwanatha-Temple of Varanasi and its surrounding
temples are painted on this Shaivite pilgrimage cloth pata.
Mewar, Rajasthan. Circa 1700 AD. Cloth.

Portrait of a Lady painted on stone.
Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Late 19th century.

Krisha playing holi with gopies. Holi - the festival of colors
is celebrated in March.
Kangra, Pahari. Circa 1800 AD. Paper.

Standing Buddha.
Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. Gupta, circa 430 - 450.
Sandstone. 


Buddha head.
Gupta, Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. 5th century CE.
Buff Chunar sandstone.

Bust of Vajra Tara.
Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh.
Stone, 10th century CE.

Mask (animal head)
Monpa, Arunachal Pradesh. 20th century.
Wood.
Side view: Mask (animal head)
Monpa, Arunachal Pradesh. 20th century.
Wood.

Hallway in the National Museum of India.

Lokeshvara (lord of the world, a form of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara)
Pala, 11th century AD. Nalanda, Bihar. Stone.

Side view: Lokeshvara (lord of the world, a form of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara)
Pala, 11th century AD. Nalanda, Bihar. Stone.

Buddha in Earth touching posture.
Pala, 11th century AD. Bengal. Stone.


Buddha (founder of Buddhism) in preaching pose.
Pala, 11th century AD, Eastern India. Stone.
Bodhisattva Maitreya (Buddhist savior and future human Buddha)
Kushana, 2nd century AD.
Ghandara  (North, Western part of undivided India)
Stone.
Seated Buddha.
Chola, 12th century AD. South India. Stone.

I failed to note the details.

Buddha (founder of Buddhism) in earth touching pose.
9th century AD. Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. Stone.

Valshnavi (one of the seven divine mothers)
Palava, 8th century AD. South India. Stone.

Chamunda (one of the seven divine mothers)
Late Pallava, 9th century AD. South India. Stone.

Dakshinamurti (Shiva as the Supreme Teacher)
Chola, 12th century AD. South India. Stone.

Ganesha (elephant-headed god, son of Shiva)
Early Chola, 9th century AD. South India. Stone.
Vaishnavi (one of the seven divine mothers)
Chola, 12th century AD. South India. Stone.
Ravananugrahamurti (Shiva showing favor to Ravana)
10th century AD. North India. Stone.
Hanuman (monkey god)
Pratihara, 9th century AD.
Chittorgarth, Rajasthan. Stone.

Chaarunda (one of the seven divine mothers)
Pallava, 9th century AD. South India. Stone.
Yoga-Narsimha (Man-Lion incarnation of Vishnu)
Vijayanagara, 15th - 16th century AD. Karnataka. Stone.
Yogini Vrishanana. Pratihara, 10th - 11th century AD.
Lokhari, District Basti, Utttar Pradesh. Stone.

Room at the National Museum of India.

Room at the National Museum of India.

Our (free) official museum tour guide explaining one of the statues.

Surya (Sun god). Eastern Ganga, 13th century AD.
 Konarak, Orissa. Stone.

Buddha in the Bhumisparsa mudra.
Tibetan style. 19th century. Cloth thankga.
When I reached the jewelry exhibit, I found this nice sign explaining more about the exhibit:

The Beauty of Adornment: From Head to Toe

Women adorned themselves with jewels from the top of the head to the toes. Jewels were accessories of allure; they functioned as symbols of marital status, were an insurance against bad times and served as protective talismans.

Decorating the hair with flowers was an important aspect of personal adornment. Garlands of marigold, jasmine and screw pine inspired jewels and were replicated in precious metals and gemstones. On the top of her head, the woman wore jewels that covered the parting of her hair while flower forms and crescent moons studded with gems hung down over her forehead. Jewels were fashioned even to decorate the plait, deriving inspiration from the snake, a symbol of fertility and regeneration. Hair jewels were believed to activate the energies resident in the sabasrara chakra located at the top of the head.

Rich or poor, irrespective of caste or class, earrings were mandatory and worn to energize vital acupressure points in the ear. Ear jewels took the form of flowers, buds, peacocks, the crescent moon and even striking abstract forms. From simple chains to elaborate collars and stiff torques necklaces were clasped high around the throat and cascaded down to the waist in a rich variety of designs modelled on flowers, fruits, and even powerful mythical creatures.

Gold circlets with dancing peacocks and elephant head terminals were fashioned to curve around a woman's wrists while broad bands studded with gems and floral sprays were draped around the upper arm. Waist belts crafted from precious metal and studded with diamonds, rubies and emeralds were clasped around the waist. Ankles and toes were also not left bare and adorned with tinkling bells and delicate toe rings. Alamkara - adornment expressed in the beauty of ornament extended from the top of the head to the tip of the toes.

Jewels.

Description of a display, including the above jewels.

Arm jewel (keyuram). South India.
20th century. Gold.
Necklace (kanthla)
Udaipur, Rajasthan. 19th century.
Gold, white sapphires, rubies, emeralds, blue glass, pearls.

Necklace (har). Bengal, early 20th century.
Gold, rubies, emeralds, nine gems, enamel.

Jewels. These are all hair and head ornaments.

Dancers. Southern India. 19th century. Carved ivory.

Mahavairochana (Bodhisattva Vajrapani). Pala, 12th century CE.
Nalanda, Bihar. Bronze.
The gilded deity of Mahavairocana, one of the five Dhyani Buddha,
is seated in lalitasana on a circular lotus petal. His four faces point
to the cardinal directions and symbolize omniscient wisdom.
A vajra (thunderbolt) is tucked in the jata-mukuta
with four-leafed tiara, symbolic of his position.
This text appeared on a sign hanging in the museum near the below Buddha statues:

Hoard of images of Buddha from Phophnar in the National Museum of India

Seven magnificent bronze images of standing Buddha dated to 5th century CE were recovered by Haritriyambak Gujar, while he was ploughing his field in Phophnar Kala in Madhya Pradesh on 3rd of June, 1964. Phophnar and Ramtek were within the realm of the Vakataka rulers (3rd - 6th century CE) and the possibility of these coming from the same atelier of the metal-smiths also cannot be ruled out.


The Phophnar images are sensitively modeled and generally display an oval head, common in Gupta sculpture. Their distinctive characteristics include an ubhayanisika sanghati (diaphanous robe covering the shoulders), rounded chin, averted lips, bow-shaped eyebrows, downcast eyes and hair with snail-shell curls knotted at the top of the head to form the ushnisha (cranial protuberance). All the images are in abhaya-mudra (fear not gesture) with the right hand and the left fist raised up to the hip to hold the sanghati (monastic robes).

Pedestals of four images bear inscriptions and on the basis of their stylistic and paleographic considerations; the script is comparable to time contemporaneous to the Vakatakas in 5th century CE. The Vakatakas were contemporaries of the Guptas and also had matrimonial relations with them, which is the express reason for the Gupta mannerisms noticeable in these predominantly brass images.

Buddha. Gupta, Vakataka, 5th - 6th century CE.
Phophnar Madhya Pradesh. Bronze.
This is the finest bronze from the famous Phophnar hoard of
Gupta-Vakataka images. It shows the Buddha standing on a
rectangular pedestal. His right hand is in abhaya-mudra (protection pose)
while his left hand holds the helm of his outer garnment (sanghati)

Buddha. Gupta, Vakataka, 5th - 6th century CE.
Phophnar Madhya Pradesh. Bronze.
This is the finest bronze from the famous Phophnar hoard of
Gupta-Vakataka images. It shows the Buddha standing on a
rectangular pedestal. His right hand is in abhaya-mudra (protection pose)
while his left hand holds the helm of his outer garnment (sanghati).Note: Museum gave same description for this and the previous image of Buddha.
Buddha. Gupta, Vakataka, 5th - 6th century CE.
Phophnar Madhya Pradesh. Bronze.
The standing Buddha is shown in ekansika sanghati
(a garment draped over one shoulder). His right hand is in
a gesture of protection (abhaya mudra) and the left holds the
helm of his sanghati. The slightly bent head and subtle smile
add to his benign expression. The webbed palms are in accordance
with the Buddhist canon where Buddha is marked
with 32 mahaphrusha lakshanas (marks of a great being).
The type of adhishthana on which this and other images
in the Pophanar hoard are mounted comprise of two
platforms joined by recessed moulding. The other common feature
in all these is the tenon at the back attended for attaching
a chhatra or parasol.

Manjushri. Chedi, 9th century CE. Sirpur, Chhatisgarh. Bronze.
In the Buddhist pantheon, Manjushri is considered to be the god
of transcendental wisdom  who confers knowledge, intelligence
and retentive memory on his devotees. This bronze image
is seated in llalitasana on a double lotus pedestal;
the right hand is in varada-mudra (gifting gesture) while the
left hand holds the stem of a lotus. The half-bloomed lotus
here supports a manuscript (pothi), the symbol of the god.

Buddha. Gupta-Vakataka, 5th - 6th century CE.
Phophanar, Madhya Pradesh. Bronze.
This unusual Buddha from the Phophanar hoard shows a
garment covering both the shoulders.
The features of this image are well defined; the aquiline nose,
perforated earlobes, a boyish expression on the face,
smiling lips and the half closed downcast eyes
add to his benevolent expression in common
with other images from this hoard,
he displays the same gestures of hand:
the abhaya-mudra with the right, while the left
hand holds the edge of his garment.
An inscription at the back reads:
"Deyadharmayam  Sakyabhikshukacharya
Bhadanta Buddhadasasya /
Yadatra punyam tad bhavatu sarvasatvanam"
("Gift of Bhadanta Buddhadasa, preacher of the Sakyas.")
Buddha. Gupta-Vakstaka, 5th - 6th century CE.
Phophanar, Madhya Pradesh. Bronze.
This is the biggest and the most expressive image from
the Phophanar hoard. The broad shoulders, the trivali
or three folds on the neck, and the webbed fingers
are marks of a great being. Buddha's
silver-inlaid, downcast eyes symbolize the chitto-ekagrataie. concentration of the mind. the parasol displays two
maladharas who hold a floral wreath above the Buddha's head.
The inscription on the pedestal reads: "Deyadharmoyam-Nagachari Vira"
i.e. "Gift of Nagachari Vira." 

Buddha. Gupta-Vakataka, 5th - 6th century CE.
Phophanar, Madhya Pradesh. Bronze.
This is the finest bronze from the famous Phophnar hoard
of Gupta-Vakataka images. It shows the Buddha
standing on the calyx of a lotus flower (missing here),
which is mounted on a rectangular pedestal
and carved with floral patterns. His right hand
is in abhaya-mudra (protection pose) while
his left hand holds the helm of his outer garment (sanghati).
Siddhaikavira. Pala, 8th century AD.
Nalanda, Bihar. Stone.
Ceremonial Butter Lamp. Ladakh. 20th century.
Metal, stone, casted.
Bodhisattva Maitreya. Kushana, 2nd century AD.
Gandhara. Stone.
Manjushri. Pala, 8th century AD. Nalanda, Bihar.
Stone.
Crowned Buddha. Pala, 10th century AD.
Nalanda, Bihar. Stone.
Bodhi tree with Buddhist Saints and Monks.
Nepal, cloth thankga, 19th century AD.
Ritual container. Tibet. 20th century.
Metal, semi-precious stones; casted, gilded.
Encased relics of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Encased relics of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Buddha in Bhumisparasa mudra.
Tibetan style. 18th - 19th century AD.
Cloth thankga.

Manjughosh with other Buddhist deities. Nepal, 16th century AD.
Stone.
Scenes from Buddha's life. Gupta, 5th century AD.
Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. Stone.
Buddha head. Terracotta.
Sign belongs to above and below terracotta images of Buddha.
I don't remember which image goes with which description.

Buddha head. Terracotta.

Art here belongs with below description panel.

Description panel.
Art here belongs with above description panel.

Maitreya. 17th century AD. Nepal. Bronze.
Tara. Pala, 8th century AD. Bihar. Stone.
Art here goes with below two description panels.

Description panel 1.

Description panel 2.

One of  the four statues above in the group photo.

One of  the four statues above in the group photo. Tara.

One of  the four statues above in the group photo.

Lokesvara. Pala, 11th century AD. Eastern India. Stone.
Chunda. Ghadavala, 11th century AD. Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh.
Stone.
Room at the National Museum of India housing Shakyamuni Buddha's relics.

Bodhisattva Head. Kushana, 3rd century AD. Ghandara.
Stucco.
Buddha Head. Gupta, 5th century AD. Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh.
Stone.
Elephant - Lion Capital. Pala, 9th century AD.
Nalanda, Bihar. Bronze.
Side view: Elephant - Lion Capital. Pala, 9th century AD.
Nalanda, Bihar. Bronze.
Wheel. Ladakh. 20th century. Metal, casted.

I failed to capture the information for this artwork.

Medallian. Sunga, 2nd century AD. Bharhut, Madhya Pradesh. Stone.

Buddha. Gupta, 5th century AD. Uttar Pradesh. Terracotta.

Yamuna. Gupta, 5th century AD. Ahichchhatra, Uttar Pradesh.
Terracotta.

Ganga. Gupta, 5th century AD. Ahichchhatra, Uttar Pradesh.
Terracotta.
Terracotta: Sun Wheel, Drummer, Shiva head, Parvati head, Vishnu, Karttikeya head.
Gupta, 5th - 6th century AD. All but Kartiikeya (province unknown)
are from Ahichchhatra, Uttar Pradesh. 

Chaubisi of Kunthhunatha. 1465 CE, west India.
This is an image of Kunthhunathha, the 17th Tirthankara, sitting
cross-legged in dhyana-mudra (meditation pose) on a cushioned lion throne.
On either side of the simhasana are the attendant figures,
Yakha and Yakshi, holding garlands. The arch has beaded mouldings
on the border and other floral decoration. 
Parsvanatha. Maitraka, 9th century CE. Akota, Gujarat.
This object depicts Tirthankara Parsvanatha, symbolized by the seven-hooded
snake canopy over his head. In the center the Jaina Master
 is seen in dhyana-mudra and is flanked by two other tirthankaras.
Yaksha and yakshi are shown near the pedestal.
The base depicts the navagrahas and the donor couple. 

Votive Stupa. Pala, 9th century CE. Nalanda, Bir.
Bronze. This is perhaps the most elaborately presented metal votive
 stupa known from India so far. The square base has four
 steps (sopana) in four cardinal directions, leading to
 pradakshina or a circumambulation path, around enshrined panels
in high relief depicting eight episodes from the Buddha's life.
The eight rings of parasol could also represent ashtanga-margaor the eight-fold path advocated by the Buddha
or even the eight vimokha or states of emancipation.
Another angle of the above: Votive Stupa. Pala, 9th century CE. Nalanda, Bir.
Bronze. This is perhaps the most elaborately presented metal votive
 stupa known from India so far. The square base has four
 steps (sopana) in four cardinal directions, leading to
 pradakshina or a circumambulation path, around enshrined panels
in high relief depicting eight episodes from the Buddha's life.
The eight rings of parasol could also represent ashtanga-margaor the eight-fold path advocated by the Buddha
or even the eight vimokha or states of emancipation.

Jambhala. Pala, 10th century CE. Nalanda, Bihar. Bronze.
As one of the four images datable  to the reign of the Pala ruler,
Devapala (808 - 843 CE), this figure is of immense importance.
this Jambhala image shows him as a corpulent being,
seated on a lotus platform with the right leg resting on another lotus.
He holds a fruit in his right hand and a manuscript signifying
knowledge, in his left. The figure sits on a platform supported by two lions,
flanked at the base by two devotees with folded hands (anjali-mudra).
The halo around his head is encircled with flames and a jewel is placed at the apex.

Indra. 15th century CE, Nepal. Bronze.
In Buddhist mythology, Indra is an important figure in the
episode of Buddha's birth. He is credited with medicinal
powers and even as the remover of barrenness in women.
He  is celebrated as an independent deity in Nepal.
Left: Maitreya. 12th centry CE, Nepal. Bronze.
Right: Shadakshari Lokeshvara. 16th century CE, Tibet. Bronze.

Left: Buddha. 1783 CE. Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. Bronze.
Buddha sits cross-legged (padmasana) on a lotus seat, mounted on the lion
throne (simhasana) - the latter bearing lotus petal design on three sides. His right
hand is in an earth touching gesture (bhumi-sparsha-mudra) and the left is
placed on the lap. He bears an urna mark on the forehead and has extended lobes
of ears and lines on the neck. The hair is arranged in small schematic spirals
with a top-knot (Ushnisha). The robe is draped over the left shoulder, leaving the
right bare. The frilled edge of the ... (rest missing from museum sign).

Middle: Buddha. 16th century CE. Nepal. Bronze.
Buddha can be seen seated in bhumi-sparsha-mudra on an ornamented throne.
His hair is arranged in spiral curls and there is a protuberance on the head.
He has elongated ears and there is an Urna mark on the forehead. He wears an
upper garment which covers the left half of the body and a lower garment,
the folds of which are to be seen in front of the image. The throne is engraved with
human and animal figures. Two small elephants ... (rest missing from museum sign).

Right: Vak-Manjushri. 12th century CE. Nepal. Copper alloy.
Vak is a form of Manjushri as described in the Sadhanamala. Vak is variously known
as Vajraraga, Amitabha Manjushri, and Dharmasankhasamadhi. His images are
very rare and Nepal is perhaps the only country where this form of Manjushri
is worshipped. He is shown to be seated in dhyanasana with his hands
joined on the lap in Samadhi mudra.
Buddha. 1783 CE. Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. Bronze.
Buddha sits cross-legged (padmasana) on a lotus seat,
mounted on the lion throne (simhasana) - the latter bearing
lotus petal design on three sides. His right hand is in an
earth touching gestuure (bhumi-sparsha-mudra) and the left
is placed on the lap. He bears an urna mark on the forehead
and has extended lobes of ears and lines on the neck.
The hair is arranged in small schematic spirals with a top-knot
(Ushnisha). The robe is draped over the left shoulder, leaving
the right bare. The frilled edge of the lower garment can be seen
in the front.
Left to right: Jambhala. 15th - 16th century CE, Tibet. Bronze.
Mahakala. 16th - 17th century CE, Tibet. Bronze.

I failed to get the details for these two statues.
Geshe Dorji Damdul: In Praise of Dharmadhatu

Geshe Dorji Damdul taught the three day course, In Praise of Dharmadhatu in the teaching hall at Tibet House. Students were requested to register for the three day course in advance. It was so popular that every seat was occupied by a student.

The three day course was recorded. You can listen to the teachings here.

After class students would linger in the teaching hall, talking. It was a big group representing Geshe Dorji Damdul's students who stay in Delhi, as well as some students like me who were only in India for a short time. We were lucky to have Venerable Kabir Saxena with us in class, too which was nice from the nearby FPMT center, Tushita Delhi.
 
Tibet House. Students lingering after class ended and Geshe Dorji Damdul
had just exited the room. Venerable Kabir Saxena in monks robes.
Tibet House - altar with photo of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Geshe Dorji Damdul's seat is right in front, with recording devices and text on top.
Since class was held all day on Sunday, May 1 Tibet House provided all of the students with a delicious buffet lunch. Tents were set up in the yard behind the Tibet House building, and fans were even installed to keep us a little bit cooler. (Delhi was already getting quite hot and it was only the end of April.) The Tibet House staff - Geshe Dorji Damdul included - are so kind and thoughtful.

Lunch offered by Tibet House under tents in the Tibet House backyard.
Each class I have attended with Geshe Dorji Damdul has begun with the recitation of prayers and the lighting of candles to make light offerings to all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I enjoy the tradition, and the way the practice grounds my mind and sets me up for class.

Together, we recite while one candle is lit by each student (Geshe Dorji Damdul also lights a candle): "With folded hands I beseech the Buddhas of all directions to shine the lamp of dharma for all bewildered in misery's gloom."
Tibet House - lighting the candles.
Students have such strong connections with Geshe Dorji Damdul. He takes time with each student who has questions.

Student talking with Geshe Dorji Damdul.
The afternoon session went longer than anticipated, so I had to leave a little early so that I wouldn't miss my overnight bus going back to McLeod Ganj. I had a difficult time leaving the room - I moved myself to the far back corner, and still I stayed in the room. This was the last time I would see Geshe Dorji Damdul on this trip to India.

Finally, I left while class was still in session. But not after getting to hear Geshe Dorji Damdul tell us a beautiful story about how to take care in your house - particularly in  your kitchen - so that you do not harm sentient beings. I was so happy that that would be my final teaching from Geshe Dorji Damdul on this trip.

Geshe Dorji Damdul teaching at Tibet House. I'm almost out the door.
I made it back to Majnu Ka Tilla, the Tibetan refugee settlement in Delhi with about a half an hour to spare. I got on my bus, and found I was sitting next to a Taiwanese nun who had just arrived in Delhi from Woodstock, New York. She had recently finished her 3 year, 3 month, 3 day retreat at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD), the North American seat of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. She shared her bag of chips with me, which she had brought from Costco. Amazing.

Bus back to McLeod Ganj. Stopping off at a rest stop for a toilet break.
(No toilet on the bus.)

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