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The healing arts at the Carlos Museum

During his visit to Emory, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama viewed the Michael C. Carlos Museum exhibit, The Buddha's Art of Healing: Tibetan Medical Paintings from Buryatia. As part of the exhibit, Western audiences were able to see for the first time The Blue Beryl, an elaborately and colorfully illustrated medical treatise from Tibet.

Originally created during the seventeenth century, the forty paintings in The Blue Beryl were copied early in this century, in the time of the XIII Dalai Lama. The copies were sent to Buryatia, near Lake Baikal in Siberia, to train physicians in the Tibetan medical tradition. The original paintings, which hung on the walls of Chakpori Medical College in Tibet, were destroyed during China's Cultural Revolution in 1959, a decade after China invaded Tibet. The exhibition will travel in North America through 1999.

"We are delighted that the Carlos Museum served as the first venue of this historic exhibition tour," says Anthony Hirschel, museum director. "It was a particular pleasure for us that His Holiness had the opportunity to see the exhibition here."

In conjunction with the exhibition,Tibetan monks created a sand mandala in the galleries of the Carlos Museum. They painstakingly laid millions of grains of colored sand in an intricate pattern to create a circular cosmogram for purification and healing. Traditionally, most mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion in a metaphor for the impermanence of life. In a closing ceremony at the museum in early July, the sands were swept into an urn. To fulfill the function of healing, half was distributed among the audience, and the other half was deposited in a body of water. According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the waters then carried the healing blessing to the ocean and from there spread throughout the world for planetary healing.--A.O.A.

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