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Auspicious paintings to welcome the Dalai Lama

When a highly respected lama visits another monastery in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, he is greeted by a painting of the Eight Auspicious Symbols.

buddhist-symbols-drepung-loseling-mundgodThe painting is created in front of the temple, and usually drawn on the pavement with colored powder, colored flower, rice, chalk or paints.

The picture on the right was made in 2008 at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Mundgod (South India) to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the occasion of the opening of a new temple within the complex.

Dalai Lama in The Netherlands
For the recent visits of the Dalai Lama to The Netherlands (in 2009 and 2014), Carmen Mensink was asked to create such paintings to welcome him to the low lands. A very big honour.
She designed and coordinated these big projects and painted them (assisted by some of her thangka students).

Different designs
For both occasions Carmen created two different designs: for the Dalai Lama’s visit to Amsterdam she made a 16.4 ft (5 meter) wide lotus circle and for his visit five years later to Rotterdam Carmen painted a 30 ft (9 meter) long artwork.

To see more pictures of the artworks, the making of and read all about the symbolism behind it, click on the image or Read More Button:

Painting for the Dalai Lama 2009

On occasion of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Carmen was asked to paint the Eight Auspicious Symbols, right in front of his teaching hall.
She designed a 5 meter (16.4 ft) wide mandala-like circle and painted it on the pavement with loose pigments and water, so eventually it was going to fade due to…  Read More & see the making of this artwork

Painting for the Dalai Lama 2014

For the Dalai Lama’s subsequent visit to The Netherlands, Carmen was asked to welcome this great master with a painting of the eight symbols once more.

This time she chose to paint a 9 meter (30 ft) on a background with special paints, something she does not regret as during the event the weather was very rainy and…  Read More & see the making of this artwork



His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama
His Holiness the Dalai Lama (born July 6, 1935) is the spiritual leader of Tibet. His official name is Tenzin Gyatso. He is a lama of the Gelug order (also known as the Yellow Hat school of Tibetan Buddhism) that was founded by Lama TsongKhapa in the 14th Century.

The Dalai Lama is considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus (reincarnated Tibetan Buddhist lamas and masters) who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokitesvara (Tib.: Chenrezig), the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion.

The current Dalai Lama is the 14th in this lineage.

In 1950 China invaded and occupied Tibet brutally, leading the Dalai Lama to fled to India nine years later. Since then, he has been campaigning from exile for Tibet to be given greater autonomy.

Meeting the Dalai Lama
Carmen recalls her encounters with the Dalai Lama Read more 
Avalokitesvara (Chenrezig), the Buddha of Compassion
There are different versions of Avalokitesvara (called Chenrezig in Tibetan):
4 armed Avalokitesvara
– 8 armed Avalokitesvara
1000 armed Avalokitesvara

His mantra is Om Mani Padme Hum, and this mantra is often painted on Mantra Stones 

Carmen Mensink regularly offers workshops in drawing and painting the Buddha of Compassion or The 8 Auspicious Symbols

Quote from the Dalai Lama
There’s a beautiful quote by the Dalai Lama where he speaks about the meaning behind of thangka paintings.

The Four Schools of Tibetan Buddhism
There are 4 main Schools of Tibetan Buddhism:

1. Nyingma (the Ancient School)
2. Sakya School (the Scholastic School)
3. Kagyu School (the School Oral Tradition)
4. Gelug School (Yellow Hat / Tradition of Virtue School)

Read more on The Four Schools of Tibetan Buddhism and how they were founded