Dream Images, Poetic Visions

Dominique Townsend, Dream Images, Poetic Visions, The Second Buddha, Tang Teaching Museum, April 1, 2019, photo by Dan Lubbers

Join us at 6:00 PM Monday, April 1, as Dominique Townsend, poet and Professor of Religious Studies at Bard College, gives a reading and discussion of Terdak Lingpa’s poetic dream yoga instructions.

In this talk, Townsend will consider the relationship between poetic language and liminal dream states through the work of Terdak Lingpa, the subject of a painting displayed in the “Second Buddha” exhibition. Through translated excerpts of his brief instructions for cultivating dream states as a way to recondition perception and become liberated from the miserable cycle of rebirth, Townsend will reflect on the relationship between brevity, ambiguity, and insight.The instructions appear quite ordinary on the surface, but claim to provide the means for liberation in just one Tibetan page, front and back. The brevity of the instructions works together with apophatic language (using negation to approach the divine) and a reconciling of uncertainty to spark full awakening through the very act of dreaming.

The event is free and open to the public.

About Dominique Townsend

Dominique Townsend is Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at Bard College. Her research focuses on Buddhist aesthetics and cultural production. Her book A Buddhist Sensibility: Aesthetics and Cosmopolitanism in Early Modern Tibet is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. Townsend’s newest research project involves Tibetan poetics and the challenges of translation. She is also a poet—her first book of poems “The Weather & Our Tempers” was published by Brooklyn Arts Press.

Programming for The Second Buddha was coordinated by Associate Professor of Asian Studies Benjamin Bogin through the Skidmore Faculty Scholar Residency, which is co-sponsored by the Center for Leadership, Teaching, and Learning and the Office of the Dean of Special Programs; and the Tang Teaching Museum.

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