I was happy to live in a nunnery during my field studies in Tibetan Buddhist Nunneries. That way, I was integrated into life at the nunnery, where the older nuns taught me about their everyday life. Just like the novice nuns, I had duties to fulfill at the nunnery. Therefore, I had the opportunity to observe and interview the nuns. See Identity in Exile; Tibetan Buddhist Nuns and the Sakyadhita Network (published in German by Reimer Verlag Berlin 2001).
In a conversation, we talked about the protective deity of Tibet Tara, who’s admired as a female Bodhisattva 1In Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is someone who’s rejecting his*her own enlightenment because of empathy for all beings. He*She is staying in Samsara to guide other beings into enlightenment. and Buddha 2A Buddha is someone who’s reached enlightenment or – to be more precise – has reached the ‘Awakening’ from the cycle of existence (Samsara).. One of the teachers explained that Tara is like a ship. It’s needed for protection in the circle of reincarnation on the path to nirvana, to enlightenment. Once the destination is reached, the ship isn’t needed anymore. It’s available for someone else’s journey.
1998, Oil Paint on Canvas, 30×24,5 cm