Terris Temple is the first westerner to have studied and practiced the art of Tibetan Thangka painting, from 1966 to 1975 in Nepal. Thangkas are paintings or applique work on cloth or silk, usually of sacred deities, protectors and teachers of the Buddhist lineages. These are traditionally hung on altars and shrines in monasteries and homes. Very large ones are displayed on mountainsides.
In Maui in 1976, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism, and a famous bird-lover, inspired Terris to begin bird and flower painting. Terris has taught traditional Tibetan Painting art at the Naropa Institute in Colorado and across Hawaii since 1974. The materials he uses are solely mineral colors and botanical dyes mixed with skin glue as a binder and painted on sheer silk or cotton. After His Holiness 17th Karmapa was found through the sacred prediction letter in 1992 and was enthroned at Tsurphu monastery in Tibet, Terris and his wife Leslie reacquainted themselves with the great spiritual Master. As His Holiness grew in age and authority, he requested the artists to execute on various projects. Perhaps the most important projects were the revival of the tradition of the giant thangkas, which had been discontinued after the communist invasion of Tibet and the destruction of Tsurphu monastery. Terris and Leslie were tasked with creating two enormous thangkas, one of which is about half the size of a football field!
On Aug. 30, Terris will share anecdotes from his recent travels and will also present the completed documentary blessed by HHK-17.