Thursday 5 December 2013

Set in stone.

Stone Mantras

The idiom "set in stone" is generally a metaphor for something 'firmly established', be it a set of rules or a schedule difficult to change. Yet for an artist it may have a more literal meaning as to have their creations carved in stone. This is evident with the highly skilled stonemasons of the bygone middle-age Europe, who erected lofty Cathedrals of stone that seem to defy the law of gravity. 
While on the other side of two continents high up on the Tibetan plateau; sacred mantras were carved in stone as a different form of devotional practice. 
Yet despite social change and religious degeneration, the robust nature of stone has stood the test of time, proving itself as a medium to be one of the best in longevity.  

Earlier this year of 2013, Tashi was contacted by a Frenchman Yann Devorsine, also a fellow Tibetan Buddhist and a stonemason. 
Yann had spent some years living the Kingdom of Bhutan, where he had been given the opportunity to practice his skill carving mantras and prayers in the local landscape. A suitable place for such rock carvings, as the tradition of carving mantras on stone has been a historical practice reaching across the broad length of the Himalayas as far as Mustang and North into Tibet and Mongolia.

Yann asked Tashi for the use of one of his calligraphy designs on a particular boulder in Bhutan, which opened up a partnership in carving devotional mantras and prayers on stone in Europe. 

Tashi's Mani mantra mandala on a boulder is Bhutan.

More recently Yann carved Tashi's calligraphy for a friend in Algarve, Portugal. The natural landscape  of the landowner provided handsome boulders in which several different mantras and seed syllables could be deeply incised or to stand proud, both catching the light to dramatic effects in contrast; revealing the beauty of these sacred characters firmly set in stone for many generations to come. 

The wild hills of Algarve
"om mani padme hum hri"
The hum syllable
Beyond hum the syllable dhi

The seed syllable dhi of Manjushri 
The syllable om
Yann Devorsine

Monday 2 December 2013

Learn to write beautiful Tibetan

Tibetan Calligraphy workshop in Brussels 

15th - 16th February 2014

Drawing upon the traditional construction guidelines of the classical Uchen script, Tashi Mannox leads an intensive course in how to correctly form the letters of the Tibetan alphabet, vowels signs and subjoined letters.

This is a workshop suitable for beginners who wish to learn a firm foundation in writing Tibetan, as well as for those more advanced who wish to further their skills in Tibetan calligraphy. 

Tashi will also give a public talk on the role of Calligraphy and art within Dharma on Friday 14th Feb 2014, as advertised on the venue website. 

For further information and bookings for the weekend workshop, please follow the link here:

Samye Dzong Belgium website.

The weekend workshop will be taught in English with translators in french if needed. If attending the workshop it is advised to bring along your own writing implements and materials, here is a check list for you:

- A3 or A4 size pad of paper, preferably watercolour paper.
- pencils, pencil sharpener and eraser.
- a straight rule.
- different size italic pens*

*Suggested pens can be a range of different size italic felt tip calligraphy pens, or more professional Pilot Parallel Pens in a range of different nib sizes, available on the internet with ink cartridges.

If you find the above website difficult to navigate in French, you can directly email Argirothe event organiser who can provide payment details to book your place. 

Sunday 8 September 2013

Tashi's own.....

A Gallery solely dedicated to fine Tibetan scriptural art is perhaps the first of its kind in the western world? But is defiantly a first for internationally celebrated contemporary Tibetan calligraphy artist Tashi Mannox. 

This September launched the “Tashi Gallery” pleasantly situated in the heart of the famous town of books Hay-on-Wye. This is a very popular destination for it's surrounding beauty in Brecon Beacon National Park and hosts the yearly internationally acclaimed Hay Book Festival. 
The picturesque Welsh border town nestles below the Black Mountains on the banks of the majestic River Wye, is a lively cosmopolitan town that boasts a wealth of arts and literature. Only such a town can comfortably accommodate a Gallery of Dharma art of Eastern origin.

Tashi Gallery exclusively offers original art masterpieces as well as excellent quality limited edition prints of Tashi Mannox's complete works. Also for Eastern Calligraphy enthusiasts, there is an opportunity to select the finest quality Japanese seal inks, Tashi Mannox has collaborated with the oldest Japanese traditional seal ink makers to create four different color shades of vermilion pigments representing 'The Four Season'.  This is also the first time such quality inks are made available in the West.

Tashi's hand fashioned 'chops'
Japanese 'summer' colour natural vermillion seal ink

"As the art of beautiful hand writing finds a new place within the modern world, it is heartwarming to see that such writing traditions are not only being practiced but also upheld with excellence and dignity. Such organizations as the Contemporary Calligraphy Museum in Moscow, the Contemporary Calligraphy Museum in Sharjah and now the Tashi Gallery all contribute to deliver ancient wisdoms for the modern mind”

Tashi Gallery # 2 The Pavement, Hay-on-Wye, on the Welsh border of Herefordshire, HR3 5BU, UK.

Gallery open from 11 am - 5 pm Saturdays only during January and February 2014. or by appointment please contact Tashi on 01497831167 - 07855 387067

Public transport: Trains to Hereford Station, near the station approach take the 39 bus toward Brecon, alight in Hay-on-Wye, click here for bus time table
The Tashi Gallery is found at the heart of Hay-on-Wye just up from the clock-tower.

A Journal of gilding gold on Lapis

Mani mantra on lapis-like background ⓒ Tashi Mannox 2013

Who doesn't like richness of gold on deep lapis blue colour? a combination made in heaven, historically used for the most divine of Christian icons, Pharaoh's precious ornamentations and sacred Mantras on lapis lazuli tablets

This is a short photographic story of the creation of the sacred Mani mantra oṃ maṇipadme hūṃ according to the proportionate construction of the Uchen script style. 

This art piece has also been put together with a song by Imee Ooi who sings the Mani mantra beautifully.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

The Karmapa Khyeno mantra

The meaning of the "Karmapa Khyeno" mantra by H.H 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Droje.

The 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje during the
Black Hat ceremony at Dagpo Kagyu Ling, France.
Photography by Peter Mannox (Tashi's father).

The meaning of “Karma” is action or activity, and “Karmapa” means the one who does the activity. The activity here refers to the activity to benefit beings, and that is the main concern of the Buddhas in the ten directions and of the three times. 

"Karmapa Khyeno" Tibetan Uchen script,
ⓒ Tashi Mannox 2013

As to the origin of this title, it comes from a pure vision that the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, had when he was sixteen years old. As he first took the monastic vow, he had a vision that all of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the 100,000 Dakinis made a black hat out of their hair, and then offered it to him to wear. He was then consecrated or enthroned as the doer, the one who does the activities of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It was at that time that Dusum Khyenpa received the title “Karmapa”. Additionally, the name “Karmapa” does not necessarily refer to one particular individual. It can also be a general name for all Dorje Lopons – the Vajra Masters, or Vajra Acharyas - who do the activities of the Buddha. Therefore, it can be regarded as the general name for all great and genuine lamas. It is acceptable to call every lama “Karmapa”. Buddha once said, “When the Dharma is nearing extinction, I myself will come as Vajra Masters or Vajra Acharyas, and then do the activity of the Buddha.” What is the activity of the Buddha? It is to bring out the Buddha nature in people – the side of them that is positive, white, or light. To bring that out is to do the activity of the Buddhas. So therefore, when we talk about the “Karmapa” or say “Karmapa Khyeno”, it is also generally to bring out the positive action of the Buddhas in all sentient beings. Finally, in “Karmapa Khyeno”, “Khyeno” means “please think of me”. With this, we remember the lama again and again, constantly keeping in mind the positive qualities of the lama and praying to him or her. Milarepa once said, “When I am in a crowd, I call for my lama from my heart.” In the same way, you can evoke the lama, holding him or her in your heart. It is not necessary to say it aloud. But if you want to say it aloud, there is also nothing wrong with that.

from “17th Gyalwang Karmapa's Teachings “Living The Dharma” English Translator: Ringu Tulku Rinpoche at Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, India. 1/12 ~ 1/14, 2009

Karmapa Khyeno !

Read more on Karmapa here.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Art exhibition launch

A detail of a new embossed 'ink-less' calligraphy
Especially created for the new exhibition.

A beautiful sunshine spring day marked the opening of Tashi Mannox's "Illuminated Optimism" exhibition at the Monnow Valley Arts Centre on the border of Wales and the Brecon Beacon National Park.

Chief Trustee Rupert Otten (pictured center) introduces Richard Kindersly and Tashi Mannox at their joint show opening.

Short welcome speeches were delivered by Richard and Tashi to a select audience including Tashi's mother Sally Somersby and his Art photographer and giclée printer Malcolm Payne of 'Colourfast Editions'

Malcolm, Tashi and Sally.

Tashi explains his works that are exhibited in the light and fresh studio space 

The exhibition runs along side Richard Kindersly's word sculpture show until the 30th June 2013, a well worth trip out into the stunning Herefordshire countryside near to the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacon National Park.

The Monnow Valley Art centre is open to the public:
Wednesday - Friday 11am - 5pm
Weekends 2 - 5pm

Entrance to gallery exhibitions is free, but a donation is requested if not visiting the gardens.
Entrance to gardens, sculpture and National Collection of Contemporary Memorial Arts is by donation of £5 per adult (concessions £3) children under 14 for free.

The Monnow Valley Arts Centre   see map

01873 860 529

Friday 12 April 2013

Calligraphy of paper and stone

For those who enjoy the art of beautiful letterform, be it inked on paper or incised in stone, of both East and Western traditions. You may enjoy to adventure out to contemplate art in a clear fresh gallery space or dwell in nature to enjoy the freedom of wondering between sculptures of wise words.....

From the 4th May to the 30th June 2013

Internationally celebrated Richard Kindersly and Tashi Mannox hold a joint exhibition at The Monnow Valley Arts Centre, majestically located beside the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacon National Park.

From its purpose built art studio, galleries and beautifully arranged gardens, dotted with scriptural carved standing stones and other sculptural wonders, is a view that inspires greatness and lifts the heart.

Throughout the gardens Richard Kindersly exhibits his calligraphy sculptures called 'Material World'. In this exhibition Richard explores the difference between gestural and geomatrically constructed letter forms. These are skillfully demonstrated as carved letters in sandblasted glass, moulded concrete, wood, steel and paper (sometimes with the same text) to show us how lettering can be used in unusual ways and unusual materials.

While in the studio gallery Tashi Mannox exhibits a collection of works called 'Illuminated Optimism' from his Contemporary and traditional calligraphy series, depicting positive and thought provoking Tibetan Buddhist themes in a medium of ink on paper. Such as his first public showing of 'Hog eats Cock eats Snake' which represents the basic foundation of Samsara and the three aspects of ego: delusion, attachment and aversion, that feed on each other in a perpetual cycle. To remedy this on the path to liberation, Tashi illustrates the classical 'Four Foundations', four topics that are traditionally meditated upon, that lay a firm foundation of right motivation and diligence on the path to enlightenment.

The original Art pieces in the exhibition have been the basis for a series of high quality, limited edition Giclee prints that are also available for sale, making these works accessible to all.

A new embossed mantra art piece also premiers at the exhibition. This piece is the first of a new series of 'ink-less' calligraphy pieces which again demonstrates the diversity of Tashi's talent in bringing the integral tradition of Tibetan calligraphy into the 21st century.

The Immaculate Ushnisha mantra
om padmo ushnisha bi ma le hum phat


This is a purification mantra that is traditionally displayed on a beam or above a doorway.
It is said that the mantra has the power to bless and cleanse every-time one passes below, and is sometimes named as the ‘mind your head’ mantra.  

The Monnow Valley Art centre is open to the public:
Wednesday - Friday 11am - 5pm
Weekends 2 - 5pm

Entrance to gallery exhibitions is free, but a donation is requested if not visiting the gardens.
Entrance to gardens, sculpture and National Collection of Contemporary Memorial Arts is by donation of £5 per adult (concessions £3) children under 14 for free.

The Monnow Valley Arts Centre   see map

01873 860 529

Previous incarnations and new Art

A rare and remarkable old photo of the 16th Karmapa flanked on his right by the 11th Situpa and to his left the 6th Ponlop Rinpoche. 

The photo is believed to be taken in the Late 1940's early 50's near to the seat Tsurpu Monastery of the Karmapa's who is the head of the Kagyu linage.

These three great Kagyu Lamas have since incarnated to continue their linage as realized teachers to benefit all sentient beings. 

It is notable that all three present incarnations are great calligraphy artists. The previous Ponlop Rinpoche was also an accomplished Thanka painter, who has continued his talents in a new medium  till the present day.

'Ego' in English and Tibetan,
by Ponlop Rinpoche.

In old Tibet, at the time of the above photo, calligraphy was practiced as a discipline to a high degree, however was not created as a free expressive art-form as it is in the Japanese Zen tradition. It is only through these new incarnate Lamas, who are engaged with communicating Dharma in the world away from Tibet, that Tibetan calligraphy has developed and established a new expression.

'Kagyu' Tibetan calligraphy by
Tai Situ Rinpoche.

Another great Lama and Kagyu linage holder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and was the first to make this new artistic leap, while establishing Buddha Dharma during the 70's and 80's in America. 
Trungpa Rinpoche created expressive calligraphy art that was a bold and free break-away from the precis Tibetan handwriting styles, followed closely by 12th Tai Situ Rinpoche. Though it is not clear if it was Trungpa who set the new trend or if there was a general awakening of creative expression.

'Dharma' Tibetan calligraphy
by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

If it was not for the brilliance and initiative of the early Tibetan Lamas communicating Dharma, there would not be such a strong and lively practice of Tibetan calligraphy that has established its own place within the contemporary art world.

The late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Thursday 14 March 2013

Chögyam Trungpa's Profound Treasury of Dharma.

'Ananda' Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Last year Shambhala invited Tashi Mannox to contribute some of his calligraphic illustrations to a new three volume publication based on a collective of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's thirteen years of Vajradhatu seminars and lectures, called the Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma.

The compilation and editing of this material for general publication has taken more then thirty years, resulting in one volume for each Yana, or major stage of the Buddhist path.

"The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma represents Chögyam Trungpa's greatest contribution to Western Buddhism. This three-volume collection presents in lively, relevant language the comprehensive teachings of the Tibetan Buddhist path of the hinayana, mahayana, and vajrayana."

- Available in hardback from Shambahla Media.

Monday 11 March 2013

That Spurs the Monk

Tashi Mannox speaks of his Childhood inspiration and magic that is insightful to the core of his artistry in Tibetan Calligraphy. 

Tashi as a monk, Samye Ling 1993.

A short film of 7 minutes
Directed, produced and filmed by Brian O'Neill
Edited by Fernando de Juan 

Wednesday 6 February 2013

ཆུ་མོ་སྦྲུལ་ལོ། Tibetan New Year Greetings.

Auspicious Good Wishes for the New Year of the Female Water Serpent


Tuesday 22 January 2013

meeting old friends

A pleasant and successful launch of Tashi Mannox's exhibition of prints at Cave in London's vibrant Bermondsey Street. A steady stream of visitors entered out of the cold winters night to be welcomed into the warm and colourful show, the air filled with the scent of freshly cut flowers. A glass of wine in hand, this was as much anything, a happy opportunity to catch up with old pals and make new friends.

This exhibition officially runs until the 6th February 2013. Tashi's limited edition prints will be available at Cave there after.

- photos by Matthew Lindén.