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Enlightenment in Euston: see inside the Dalai Lama's secret temple

Sonya Barber

The idea of anything tantric might conjure up unfortunate images of Sting and Trudie's notorious seven-hour sessions, but don't let that put you off checking out the Wellcome Collection's new free exhibition, 'Tibet's Secret Temple: Body, Mind and Meditation in Tantric Buddhism', opening this Thursday. It's the first time that photographs taken inside the Dalai Lama's mysterious seventeenth-century Temple to the Serpent Spirits are going on display, so it's a big deal. Created as a private site for spiritual practice and originally only accessible by boat, the so-called 'Buddhist Sistine Chapel' has rarely been documented. But photographer Thomas Laird was given permission to capture the murals that have been used as guides by successive Dalai Lamas on their journey to enlightenment. A life-sized digital recreation of these inner chambers forms the centrepiece of the show, alongside 120 objects from around the world which explore the history of Tibetan Buddhism and how it relates to modern understandings of mindfulness, meditation, yoga and wellbeing. Prepare to have your chakras blown wide open.

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