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Tibetan torma maker
Torma offering in front of deity, Tibetan torma maker, 2009; Khenpo Chopel; Arlington, Massachusetts; Oatmeal, butter, wax, paint;
Torma offering in front of deity, Tibetan torma maker, 2009
Khenpo Chopel
Arlington, Massachusetts
Oatmeal, butter, wax, paint
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Khenpo Chopel
Arlington, MA
Tormas are a Tibetan traditional art form essential for everyday practice in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and households. Dating back over a thousand years, the torma tradition comes from the most profound aspect of Buddhism, the tantric path. There are two types of torma - one is made as an offering to a deity and the other is made as a representation of a deity. Each type has specific shapes (most often conical) and colors (often white and red). Tormas made for representation are kept on the altar for a long time, while tormas made as an offering are cleared away after a short time.

Khenpo Chopel was born in Tibet and became a monk at the age of 14. He attended Drikung Thil Monastery where he was immersed in the intensive study of Tibetan Buddhism. This included Buddhist philosophy, chanting and ritual music, torma-making, and sand mandala creation.

Holding the title of "Khenpo" (a spiritual degree given after three years of intensive study in Tibetan Buddhism),Chopel continues a vital living tradition in his community as a torma maker and a teacher. He acted as the Ritual and Chant master at Drikung Thil for a number of years. Since 2009, Chopel has been living at the Drikung Meditation Center in Arlington, Massachusetts, where he serves as a master torma-maker and tantric practitioner. Chopel received a Mass Cultural Council 2012 finalist award in the Traditional Arts.
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