Tibet of the Mind 2011

Bön – The Oldest Spiritual Tradition of Tibet

In spring 2011, the monks of Bön, the oldest spiritual tradition of Tibetan culture, visited the Czech Republic as part of the on-going “Tibet of the Mind” project. A group of thirteen monks from the main exile center of Bönists, the Mänri monastery in Northern India, presented to the public ancient dance rituals, history and Bön teachings, an interpretation of symbols and iconography, as well as the traditional knowledge of Tibetan medicine and astrology.
Bön is an indigenous Tibetan religion with roots reaching back to ancient Persia and the era pre-dating Buddhism in Tibet. Until recently, only a few original lines of the teachings were preserved and were passed down exclusively in a handful of Tibetan monasteries. Monks from Mänri presented to the public cham ritual dances with masks and ceremonial costumes which express a unique set of observations of the spiritual teachings and messages through the ancient ritual, combining elements of music, dance and theater. In Tibetan communities, the cham ceremony, presented usually only once a year, is held in selected monasteries.
The dance rituals were followed by a series of lectures, discussions and workshops with both monks and with Czech experts. The project ran from May 14 till May 30 in Prague and then till June 9 in other parts of the Czech Republic – in Brno, Plzeň, Zlín and Hořice.
An associated exhibition of panoramic photographs of the Western Tibetan countryside, complemented by an exhibition of prayer flags made from recycled glass and bön thangka paintings was held in the Center of Contemporary Art DOX from May 18 to June 30.
The “Tibet of the Mind” project was initiated by the civic association Potala and Noname Tearoom in 2009 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s exile. The events in 2011 were held in the cooperation with the Forum 2000 Foundation.
More information can be found at www.tibetmysli.cz.