A Buddha is a very distinctive figure. Mind you, there are more than just the one Buddha. The exhibition highlights the diversity of Buddhism and presents objects that play a significant role in Buddhist practice.
Buddhism has roughly 380 million followers today. Meditation and mindfulness are practised across the globe, including the digital world. In addition, one regularly comes across Buddha figures in living rooms, gardens, shopping centres, as well as wellness spas.
The exhibition takes the popularity of this school of thought as the occasion to introduce visitors to the Buddha and his teachings. As the title of the show and the roughly 180 exhibits indicate, there is not just the one Buddha and not only one path to enlightenment. Buddhism looks back on more than 2,000 years of history in the course of which it succeeded in adapting to new regional conditions and circumstances time and again.
On display are select sculptures and images from the museum’s own collections which play an important role in Buddhist practice, among them numerous objects from Gerd-Wolfgang Essen’s famous Tibet collection.
The intertwinement of religion and politics is another exciting topic in the exhibition. Contemporary artists reflect critically on the connection between religion and politics in their works and question the legitimacy of traditional hierarchies and power relations.
For a long time, there were no images of the Buddha. Today, everybody recognizes him. The Digitorial “Enlightened” reveals how the Buddha came to look the way he does. The Digitorial serves as a warm-up to the exhibition.