Meditation Online Exhibition

Explore and reflect upon the many practices, approaches to, and reasons for meditation through these meditation-related objects from the Asian Arts & Culture Center’s permanent art collection and more.

Students study objects on display during the Meditation Exhibition in the Asian Arts Gallery, Fall 2014.
Students study objects on display during the Meditation Exhibition in the Asian Arts Gallery, Sept. – Dec. 2014.

Meditation has been practiced in countless ways across history and cultures, so, it is impossible to define precisely. However, most practices involve training the mind for a specific purpose or as an end in itself. The reasons for and methods of meditating vary widely.  Some reasons include relaxing, clearing the mind, improving physical health, and cultivating energy, compassion, patience, or love. Some approaches involve sitting, walking, chanting, or simply observing one’s daily routines. Some processes involve silence; while others incorporate sound. Some utilize tools such as beads, visual maps, and texts; while others require nothing other than the meditators themselves.

You can explore the various practices of, approaches to, and reasons for meditation through the images in this exhibition.  Below are some suggestions for exploring meditation with the help of the images and on your own:

  • Look at the artwork.
  • Read the labels.
  • Look at the artwork and read the labels.
  • As you look through the images choose a “kindred object” in the exhibition that you like. Then spend a few silent moments with the object.
  • Take a moment to sit. Quietly, find something to focus your attention on. Observe your breath. Practice non-attachment by letting go of any thoughts that may arise.
  • Next, take a few moments and notice everything you can through your senses: What do you see from where you are sitting? What sounds are there—near and far? Any smell or taste sensations? How does the air feel on your skin? What do you feel your body experiencing as you sit?