Photo Gallery: Consecrating Tibetan Buddhist Statues

Statue of Guru Rinpoche
Statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) during the consecration.

This gallery offers a rare look at Tibetan monks consecrating Buddhist statues. We shot the images at the Tibetan Community Center in Richmond, California in the weeks leading up to the February 2014 visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Gen Dhonyo from the local Gyuto Foundation led a small group of monks and lay people in preparing and consecrating the statues, which had been donated and purchased in preparation for His Holiness’ visit. His Holiness conferred the final blessing during his visit.

Click on any image below to get a larger view, or to start a slideshow with captions.

 The process of consecrating Buddhist statues is fascinating. You may not have ever realized that the statues of the Buddha Shakyamuni, Tara or Manjushri on the shrines you might have seen are stuffed full of precious objects, such as rolled scrolls of mantras, precious stones, incense and/or cedar chips, and precious pills. After being filled, the statues are sealed with a metal base that is glued in.

The process is very elaborate and meaningful, and we would like to write in detail on the meaning of the various stages. For today, we’re happy just to give you a glimpse into consecrating the statues which you may not have seen.

More about consecrating statues:

FPMT Mandala Post: Giving Life to a Statue of the Buddha by Artist Andy Weber

Updated on February 17, 2020. First published on May 26, 2014.

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Most people who want to go to Tibet don't know how to get there or who to trust for help. We’re Lobsang Wangdu and Yolanda O’Bannon, and we help make Tibet travel more simple, safe and ethical so you can feel peace of mind about your trip.

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Comments

  1. Harriet Rowland says

    Hi Yolanda and Lobsang!
    Just a quick note to say that those photos were truly fascinating…I only have one statue of that “type” which is of White Tara and was a gift from some monks and nuns I knew at one point in my life! She means the world to me and whilst I did know that there were mantras inside her, I had no idea of what else might be in there too….hopefully helping me to be more compassionate……!!
    Will you be back with the newsletter soon? I do look on facebook, of course, but so love opening my mail in the morning and finding you there, as I never know which day it will be…way too scatty!!
    Looking forward to finding out all about the new course!
    Meanwhile, thanks again for the great pics!
    Dharma with you both!
    Hat in Andalusia x

    • yowangdu says

      Thanks again Hat for all your kindness and support! We try to get a newsletter out every six weeks to two months but have been working hard on the Practical Guide for Tibetan Buddhism so may have been failing at the normal schedule!
      Best to you!

  2. jasni says

    Dear ven,

    I have a question about inside body of statue, before filling the mantra rolls and others precious goods, can body in of statue paint with red colour ? what the meaning paint red colour at inside body ?

    kindly help. Thank you.

    jasni

  3. Victoria Roig says

    These are wonderful to see, an opportunity to view the work from early stages…the results are amazing.

    Is there a special blessing that I could perform to honor the presence of a Medicine Buddha statue I recently bought for my altar?
    It’s placed in the center on a 12″ rise which is covered in a traditional brocade fabric.
    Thank you, Victoria

    • yowangdu says

      Hi Yeshe Drolma,
      Normally Tibetans would get this in India, but we don’t know where to get it outside of India (or even where in India to get it these days).

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