The following interactive images and slideshows are intended to help with explorations of a variety of visual topics in Buddhism, including cosmology, philosophy, meditation, narrative, and more. I regularly add new slideshows and interactives to this site, so check back occasionally for more.
One of the most common Buddhist views of the geographic world imagines it as a flat disc filled with oceans, mountains, and continents. Understanding this universe is crucial to higher rituals and meditations.
The wheel of existence, bhavacakra, or samsaracakra is one of the most well-known and dynamic visual expressions of a Buddhist worldview.
Tantric Buddhism involves the visualization of complex mandalas in careful sequential processes. The slideshows here compare several different traditions of cosmological generation in parallel.
The life of the Buddha is a frequently depicted story that communicates key features of Buddhism.
The complex imagery in this painting represents one of the fundamental rituals and meditations of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.
See this object at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
The different registers of this painting relate to the popular Sutra on the Contemplation of Amitayus, a key text of Pure Land Buddhism in East Asia.
See this object at the Denver Art Museum.
The parable of the two rivers and the white path is a powerful expression of the role of Amitabha and his blissful land, Sukhavati, in Buddhist practice.
See this object at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Offering the mandala is a foundational ritual of tantric Buddhism. The items invoked in the liturgy are also frequently depicted in painting and sculpture as more permanent offerings.