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Sat, Oct 27, 2018
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The famous Japanese poet Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉


The Life of The Buddha
‘The Buddha’s Garden’
De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam
Curated by Siebe Tettero, designer and guest-curator.

The famous Japanese poet Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 (1644-1694), responsible for the cultivation of the Haiku poetic form, once wrote;

I do not seek the man of old
I seek what they sought.

On 15 September 2018 His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama – the 83 year old winner of the Nobel Peace prize and the Spiritual leader of Tibet – ceremonially opened the exhibition The Life of the Buddha with a symposium on the topic of Compassion and Technology.

The dialogue was comprised of two parts, Robotics, Telepresence & Artificial Intelligence and Sickness, Ageing & Death.

Dialogue 1: Robotics, Telepresence & Artificial Intelligence

  • Karen Dolva (Norway) – CEO No Isolation
  • Maarten Steinbuch (Netherlands) – Faculty Chair of Robotics, SingularityU the Netherlands, Professor Systems & Control TU Eindhoven
  • Tilly Lockey (Great Britain) – Pioneer of state of the art bionic limbs

Dialogue 2: Sickness, Ageing & Death

  • Liz Parrish (USA) – CEO of BioViva Sciences
  • Kris Verburgh (Belgium) – Faculty Chair of Health & Medicine, SingularityU the Netherlands
  • Jeantine Lunshof (the Netherlands) – Bio-ethicist MIT Media Lab, Harvard Medical School
  • Selma Boulmalf (the Netherlands) – Student Religious Studies, University of Amsterdam

Both sessions are moderated by Christa Meindersma (the Netherlands) – Founder & Chair Himalaya Initiative for Culture and Society.

The work Tree (2010) by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, part of the exhibition, served as the backdrop for His Holiness to exchange his views with the different panel-members.


After the symposium my co-curator Birgit Boelens and I had the honor to take His Holiness through the entire exhibition and discuss the link of the contemporary works in combination with the historical pieces. Extra attention was given by the Dalai Lama to the work he himself lent to us, a 19th century Tibetan Thangka depicting the wheel of life.


Read the associated posts Introduction and The Life of Buddha and contemporary Art