Buddhist monk to lead meditation at New York’s Museum of Modern Art

This week, Therevada Buddhist monk Bhante Suddhaso will lead a group of New Yorkers in meditation at the city’s Museum of Modern Art.

Sophia Kamps
10 July 2018
Meditation at the MoMA. Photo by Giovanna Maselli.

This Wednesday, Theravada Buddhist monk Bhante Suddhaso will lead a group of New Yorkers in meditation at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. This is part of an ongoing series that combines art appreciation and meditation at one of New York’s most popular museums.

The MoMA sought a remedy for the problem of overcrowding in museums when it created the Quiet Mornings event in October of 2016. The program, which is held on the first Wednesday of the month, gives ticket-holders an hour and a half of crowd-free, silent, and technology-free museum wandering, followed by thirty minutes of meditation instruction in the museum’s second-floor atrium overlooking the sculpture garden.

Tickets for the event are limited and silence is encouraged in the galleries, creating a spacious atmosphere for contemplating the MoMA’s permanent collection as well as select special exhibits. After touring the museum from 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM, patrons gather for meditation instruction until 9 o’clock. In November 2017, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles also launched a Quiet Mornings program.

Maggie Lyko, director of special events and affiliate programs at MoMA, told Well and Good that the museum “has had a long history of events aimed at helping busy New Yorkers slow down” and sees the event as a way to “give MoMA guests a peaceful moment with the works of art they love and hopefully leave our galleries centered and inspired.”

The upcoming Quiet Morning meditation instruction at the MoMA will be held on July 11th and led by Bhante Suddhaso, a Theravada Buddhist monk and the co-founder of Buddhist Insights — a New York-based organization dedicated to connecting city dwellers with Buddhist monastics.

“As art brings together people from all walks of lives and from all spiritual backgrounds, we believe that offering Buddhist meditation in the context of a major art museum will touch the hearts of a wide range of people in a spirit of mutual harmony and appreciation,” said Giovanna Maselli, co-founder of Buddhist Insights.

“Art can be a wonderful tool to open up the mind to immediate experience and non-conceptualization, which leads us into silent examination of our own being” said Maselli. “Art can help prepare the mind for the profound transformative potential of Buddhist meditation.”

If you’re in New York on the first Wednesday of the month, you can head to the MoMA bright and early for a quiet dose of cultural and spiritual awakening.

Sophia Kamps

Sophia Kamps

Sophia Kamps is a summer intern for LionsRoar.com and a student of art history and political science at McGill University. During the school year she is a staff writer at the McGill Journal of Political Studies and the McGill International Review.