Lecture on Tibetian Culture at the Estonian National Museum on December 4, 2018
Guest PhD student Pema Choedon will give the last lecture of this autumn semester in series “World and Peoples” to be held at the Estonian National Museum. The lecture is titled “Tibetian culture” and will be take place on December 4, at 18.00, in World Film Hall of the Museum (Muuseumi tee 2, Tartu, A-Entrance).
The word "Tibet" brings different images to mind. Some will think of "Shangrila", an imaginary paradise, a secret valley in the mountains of Tibet ruled by a wise monk. At the opposite end of the scale, Tibet as a tourist destination is promoted as a colourful but entirely artificial culture of carefully choreographed folk dances, horse races and historical sound and light shows. Above all, however, "Tibet" is associated with H.H. the Dalai Lama, the foremost representative not only of Tibet and Tibetan culture, but also of Buddhism as a world religion.
Tibetan culture, then, is a Buddhist culture, in the sense that for the vast majority of Tibetans not only their worldview, the concept of what a 'person' is, their ethics and philosophy are based on Buddhism, but Buddhism also pervades their daily life in countless practical ways. This presentation will also describe the unique role of monasteries and other Buddhist institutions in Tibet as well as in the Tibetan exile community.
However, the material aspects of the way of life of Tibetans, especially in its pre-modern form – their food, way of dressing, art and architecture, all of which distinguishes them very clearly from neighbouring nations – will also be highlighted. The historical sources of Tibetan culture will be briefly outlined, with particular emphasis on India and China. Finally, the presentation will describe some ways in which Tibetan culture has met the challenge of modernity and now strives to find its place in a global context. Particular attention will be paid to contemporary Tibetan film, literature, and art.
The lecture is co-organized by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu.