“Picturing Bodies: Sacred Images and Transformative Practice in Byzantium and Tibet,” By Thomas Cattoi

The purpose of this article is to explore briefly the way in which iconic representations of divine embodiment serve analogous and yet distinct purposes in different traditions. In the Byzantine East, images of the glorified body of Christ and the saints prefigure the deification of the practitioners that will be accomplished at the end of time. For the Tibetan master Bokar Rinpoche, the mental visualization of the Tantric deity Chenrezig enables one to retrieve the nirvanic dimension of one’s body, which is usually obfuscated by ignorance and emotion. The comparison illumines the tradition’s different conceptions of temporality, individuality, and soteriology.

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