Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun, closed
F, M at 14th St.
In an intimate second-floor space, this culturally and socially conscious center acts as a link to a vital yet precarious civilization, which has been engaged in an ongoing struggle for autonomy since the Chinese invasion of 1949. The House was founded at the request of the Dalai Lama in 1987 by a group including Richard Gere, Philip Glass and scholar Robert Thurman. It aims to help preserve a nation known for its rich history of Buddhist religion, art and philosophy. Intricate rugs and boldly painted, good-fortune patterns trimming the doorways warm the mood of the space, which holds several gallery rooms as well as a library of books and videos. The center's permanent collection encompasses more than 800 pieces, among them colorful 18th century Buddhist paintings on fabric, a 2nd-3rd century copper sculpture of the goddess Tyche, and striking black-and-white photography (some taken by Gere) of the Tibetan highlands. Guests may view nomadic jewelry, household utensils and religious objects, such as a "water ritual set for hungry ghosts," as well as an elaborately decorated shrine. Contemporary exhibits, lectures and classes promote the institution's dynamic energy.Gift Shop
Postcards and exhibit-oriented art and books are the primary inventory, but items such as incense, chanting monks CDs and Bhutanese hot sauce are also for sale.
The literary collection—including some in-house publications—spans subjects including mandalas, medicine, history and tantra. Books and videos are available for browsing and viewing by visitors, and may be checked out by members.
Groups may arrange for special tour appointments. Call 212-807-0563 for more information.
Classes & Lectures
Classes on Tibetan studies and language, meditation and Vajra yoga are among the courses available. Tibetan studies, with a focus on Buddhist principles, tend to run in four-session courses, beginning at $90. Meditation classes run most Tuesdays 7 p.m.—9 p.m., and are given on a donation basis. Language classes take place at the Palden Sakya Center, on 4 West 101st Street.