Beginning with the historical Buddha, who founded the tradition of Buddhism over 2,500 years ago, the teacher has occupied a central role within Buddhism. Works of art are key to disseminating the Buddhist tradition and actively used by students and teachers for worship. That’s why The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art wants you to view their exhibit, Teachers of Enlightenment: Traditions in Tibetan Buddhism, this Thursday, February 27th!
Teachers (or gurus) serve as instructors for their students and are venerated by practitioners. Within Vajrayana Buddhism, an esoteric form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet, the teacher is essential to guide a student’s path to enlightenment. Specialized teachings, rituals, and practices are taught that can only be passed directly from a spiritually advanced teacher to an individual practitioner.
Sculptures and paintings (thangkas) depicting individual teachers serve as a focus for prayer and contemplation in Buddhist monasteries. Ritual objects are used by teachers and their initiates, and portable amulet boxes allow practitioners to take images of religious figures and protective charms with them. Gurus provide their students with tools that help them create a better tomorrow and alleviate the lifetimes of suffering.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art arose from the instincts and ambitions of two private individuals who shared the dream of providing a public art museum for Kansas City. William Rockhill Nelson, the founder of The Kansas City Star, was convinced that for a city to be truly civilized, art and culture were necessities. When he died in 1915, the bulk of his estate was used to establish the William Rockhill Nelson Trust for the purchase of works of art. Schoolteacher Mary McAfee Atkins had similar aspirations. She provided the city with approximately one-third of her estate to purchase the land for a public art museum.
The Nelson estate was combined with Mary Atkins’ legacy to build an art museum for the people of Kansas City. The William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and the Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts opened to the public Dec. 11, 1933. Today, the Nelson-Atkins maintains collections of more than 35,000 works of art and welcomes 500,000 visitors a year.
Teachers of Enlightenment will be open to the public until May 10, 2020. Admission is free. For additional information, please visit www.nelson-atkins.org or call 816-751-1278.
If you feel like escaping Avenue 80 Apartments in Overland Park, Kansas for the day, this event is a perfect opportunity to do just that! Trust us when we say that there’s no harm in getting out and exploring the greater community.
Thursday, February 27, 2020—10:00 AM
Event Venue Location:
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64111