The Paula Gordon Show
Mystical Arts of Tibet

Geshe Lobsang Tenzin

. . . is Director of The Loseling Institute, an affiliate of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and the North American Seat of Drepung Loseling Monastery.

Excerpts3:10 secs

Lloyd Nick

. . . is Director of the Oglethorpe University Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, and is recognized as a painter as well as museum curator.

Powerful magic resides in ãThe Mystical Arts of Tibet.ä So says Lloyd Nick, a museum director-painter-curator who dreamed up the exhibit which will soon tour the world. The power in this art is the power of human creativity, the power of love toward humanity, Nick believes. The exhibit includes personal sacred objects of His Holiness the Dali Llama, Tibetâs spiritual and temporal leader, objects which had never been seen by outsiders before the exhibit opened in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics.

This is the first glimpse most Westerns have had of Tibetan culture and arts. Thousands flocked to it in 1996 and more are expected when the exhibit returns to Atlantaâs Oglethorpe University Museum, April 5 - June 7, 1998. The Dali Llama will also be in Atlanta during part of that time and will visit the exhibit. Then the exhibit will go out into the world for the next several years.

Tibetan monk Gesha Lobsang Tenzin is Director of the Loseling Institute, the North American Seat of the Drepung Loseling Monastery which was in Tibet until the Chinese invasion in 1959. He is very clear about the primary objective of the exhibit -- it is to promote compassion and kindness. Kindness belongs to no one, yet is needed by us all. In fact, the Dali Llama says that kindness is his religion.

While Westerners are awakening to Tibetan art and culture, Tibetâs situation at the hands of the Chinese government appears to be getting ever worse. This reality adds urgency to the Tibetansâ hope that their art and culture will stir Westerners to challenge Chinaâs brutal policies toward Tibet, to end Chinaâs human rights abuses and cultural genocide in Tibet.

Refugee Tibetans worldwide are realistic about the stark realities in their homeland. Yet they find reason for hope as Westerners are drawn to their art and culture. Their hope bittersweetens their stories of young Tibetans risking their lives and liberty, seeking the freedom simply to be Tibetans. æThey brave weeks afoot across the Himalayas simply to be able to speak their own language, practice their own religion and live within their own thousand year old culture. The exhibit is helping raise much needed funds for these young Tibetan refugees fleeing China -- money for their food, shelter, education and health care.

What does the magic invoke in people experiencing these remarkable objects? Lloyd Nick believes what people find is themselves. Welcome to a new way of seeing. And do remind your political leaders -- until Tibet is free, we all are captive.

Conversation 1

Lloyd Nick tells Paula Gordon and Bill Russell the unlikely sequence of events that led him, as curator of the Oglethorpe University Museum, to show the world the personal sacred objects of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. The world first saw these objects during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The exhibit returns to OglethorpeÍs Museum in Atlanta, from April 5 through June 7, 1998. Nick offers his view of why this exhibition is at the pinnacle of human creativity. He compares its potential impact to that felt in the late 19th century when Japanese art was first seen by people in the West. He describes the enormous power these images carry, observing love is the result of creativity, destruction the result of hatred. He tells of ancient Tibetan prophecies being fulfilled.

Conversation 2

In addition to being museum director, Lloyd Nick is also a painter. He links these two passions for us, in the context of the Mystical Arts of Tibet exhibit, noting the artistÍs obligation to make wise guesses about where humankind is headed, resisting being seduced by current false ideas. æHe explains why he thinks ñspiritualityî is the next great movement in art, linking that which is creative to that which is spiritual. Art, to Mr. Nick, is magic. He describes the magic in Tibetan art, championing tradition as part of what is required to make further progress.

Mr. Nick describes what it took to mount this exhibit from scratch with serious time constraints. He distinguishes between an intuitive and an intellectual understanding of this art which is new to most Westerners.

Conversation 3

Art, according to Mr. Nick, should communicate to us throughout our entire being, and talks about how The Mystical Arts of Tibet do just that, helping to enlighten people who experience it. He believes people see something of themselves in the exhibit and offers his ideas about why people are changed by experiencing the exhibit.

Conversation 4

Gesha Lobsang Tenzin's life is a mirror of the Tibetan people. He describes the Tibetan peopleÍs exodus from their homeland in 1959, when China invaded Tibet and many followed their spiritual and temporal leader, the Dalai Lama, into exile in India. æHe describes the mission associated with exhibiting these sacred objects: the urgent need in todayÍs violent world to promote the love, compassion and kindness which these objects represent; an eagerness to promote awareness of Tibetan civilization and culture which is threatened with extinction by current Chinese policy toward Tibet; and the need to raise funds to support Tibetan refugees who have lived in India and Nepal since 1959, as well as those who are still fleeing Tibet, risking their lives to escape Chinese oppression.

Gesha Lobsang describes the opening ceremony of the exhibit, where monks invoked the forces of goodness, asking permission of the invisible forces and purifying negative obstacles which might obstruct the sand mandalaÍs healing purposes. He describes the many dimensions in which our actions unfold. He gives personal examples of how important it is for people of all religions as well as non-believers to join together, offering kindness as the key to human happiness.

Conversation 5

Gesha Lobsang brings us up to date on the lack of progress the Tibetan people have made in the face of the Chinese governmentÍs cultural genocide and violation of human rights in Tibet. Gesha does, however, take heart in WesternersÍ enthusiastic reception of Tibetan arts. He urges concerned people to contact the President of the US, our Senators and Representatives, to pressure the Chinese government to change its policies toward Tibet. Gesha reminds us of the message of peace, compassion and kindness which the art embodies.

Lloyd Nick tells of the thousands of people who viewed The Mystical Arts of Tibet during the 1996 Olympics. æHe describes what drew people back, again and again.æHe tells why the sand mandala done at that time will probably never be done again. Nick likens the mandalaÍs profound power to the butter sculptures which will be done when the exhibit returns to OglethorpeÍs Museum April 5-June 7, 1998. He shares his excitement that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit the exhibit during that time, before the exhibit begins itÍs world tour.


Gesha Lobsang Tenzin is in the midst of planning for His Holiness the Dalai LamaÍs forthcoming visit to Atlanta. Lloyd Nick is busy re-mounting The Mystical Arts of Tibet exhibit at Oglethorpe UniversityÍs Museum (April 5-June 7, 1998). Both graciously made time to update us on the continuing plight of the Tibetan people, the importance of the Tibetan message to the world and the continuing draw of the exhibit itself. We are grateful to them both. æWe also thank Chad Vaughn and Randy Roberson at Oglethorpe University, Diana at AtlantaÍs Tibetan Traditions, and Lil Friedlander for helping us make arrangements.

Related Links:
Oglethorpe University Museum

The Loseling Institute is an affiliate of Emory University. It is the North American Seat of Drepung Loseling Monastery and its e-mail address is
Tibet's website has many links. Start at
Our federal elected leaders are generally accessable through their websites. Express concern about the Chinese governmentÍs cultural genocide and violation of human rights in Tibet to:
Your President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore
Your Senator
Your Member of the House of Representatives

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