1995, 18 x 24 in. acrylic on wood
Dalai Lama is a portrait of the Tibetan religious leader and representative of the bodhisattvic ideal
of wisdom and compassion. He is shown in a prayerful blessing posture, which is his common
greeting. He describes himself as a humble monk, but his followers know him also as the worldly
incarnation of the Buddha of active compassion, Avalokitesvara, who is shown translucently behind
the monk. The prayer to this Buddha is also the national mantra of Tibet, Om Mani Padme Hum,
and it is repeated in the background as a manifestation of the sky-like nature of mind. The Dalai Lama’s
magnificent residence in Tibet, the Potala, is also seen. For the past four decades the Chinese military
has occupied Tibet, destroyed monasteries, and committed atrocities against the Tibetan people.
Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile from his homeland, remains one of the world’s
foremost proponents of non-violence and peaceful resolution.