Thai Artists Work to Rescue 170-year-old Buddhist Murals
31/01/2018 11:18 (GMT+7)
A dedicated team of Thai artists has been recruited to take part in a three-year initiative to rescue a remarkable piece of Buddhist history at the renowned Suthat Temple in Bangkok. The expansive mural paintings in Wat Suthat’s main hall, which date to the 1840s, depict stories of the Buddha’s previous incarnations as well as scenes of daily life in Rattanakosin period (1782–1932) Siam, have fallen into disrepair.
Excavation in Bangladesh Reveals 1,000-year-old Buddhist City
20/01/2018 11:20 (GMT+7)
A team of archaeologists from China and Bangladesh have announced the results of a joint four-year excavation of the Vikrampur Ruins, an archeological dig near the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. Historians believe the ruins to be the remains of the ancient city of Vikrampur, formerly a major Buddhist center with strong ties to the renowned Bengali Buddhist master Atisha.

Buddhistdoor View: Revisiting Resolutions for Buddhist Media in 2018
10/01/2018 18:25 (GMT+7)
Our little blue planet has commenced a new orbit around our grand and ancient star. We have 365 new days to make 2018 a meaningful year that brings joy, comfort, and insight to as many people around us as possible. It’s perhaps best to approach New Year resolutions in this spirit: rather than worrying necessarily about specific targets, we should look at how we can make peace with habit patterns and neuroses that hinder us from “being well and being good.” Our resolutions should help us embody good examples, whether at the individual or collective level.
Expressions of Emptiness: The Paintings and Sculptures of Yoshio Ikezaki
06/12/2017 12:41 (GMT+7)
The combination of black sumi ink and white paper has been an artistic staple of Zen Buddhism for centuries. Whether working in the realm of painting or calligraphy, artists throughout East Asia have brushed ink onto paper, varying the amount of water mixed into the ink to create tonal gradations of black and grey, and producing monochrome text and images that balance light and dark, and harmonize the material and the void. The effect is not simply aesthetic, but also deeply spiritual, since the philosophy of Zen—or meditational—Buddhism emphasizes emptiness and impermanence, concepts expressed in Japanese as ku (空), meaning “sky” or “void,” or shogyou mujo (諸行無常); “everything is transient and nothing remains the same.” These concepts lie at the heart of the paintings and sculptures of Yoshio Ikezaki, an artist who has lived and worked in both Japan and the United States for several decades. Trained as a traditional Japanese paper maker and able to grind his own ink, Ikezaki has such a profound understanding of his artistic materials, and their relationship with the natural world and its energetic forces, that they have become visual expressions of the most complex paradoxes of Japanese spirituality.

Japan Seeks World Heritage Status for Country’s Oldest Buddhist Pilgrimage Route
02/11/2017 18:58 (GMT+7)
Japan’s Shikoku region is petitioning to have a centuries-old Buddhist pilgrimage trail that includes 88 temples listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The governments of Shikoku’s four prefectures and 58 municipalities have petitioned Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency in their application, describing the sacred trek as “our nation’s typical form of pilgrimage.” (The Japan News)
Two Buddhist Temples in Hong Kong Designated as National Monuments
20/10/2017 17:02 (GMT+7)
The Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) of Hong Kong has designated two Buddhist temples—Tung Lin Kok Yuen (TLKY) Temple on Hong Kong Island and Yeung Hau Temple on Lantau Island—as monuments under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, along with a Christian landmark—Kowloon Union Church.

Seamless Stitches: From Emptiness, Springs Form – Helene Rein's Crafted Works
14/06/2017 11:09 (GMT+7)
A long-time Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner, Helene Rein moves seamlessly between contemplation and immersion in the natural environment of tactile crafts. As a child growing up in Norway, Helene created homemade gifts, such as embroidery, cross-stitched pillows, lavender sachets, and wall-hangings. Her mother embroidered all the flowers and designs on her bunad, a traditional Norwegian costume. She attended the Waldorf High School in Stavanger which helped deepen her experience of making things by hand. Helene’s Buddhist meditation teacher Lama Padma Drimed Norbu, also likes making things. Helene says he exemplifies making practical items that are pleasing and functional as a practice, and they both enjoy arranging beautiful objects in unusual ways, from small offerings to large retreat spaces.
New Buddhist Shrine in Hebei Emphasizes Harmony Between Humanity and Nature
21/05/2017 19:12 (GMT+7)
A newly built Buddhist shrine in the city of Tangshan in China’s Hebei Province uses modern architecture and a combination of concrete and natural materials to merge the building with its surroundings. Built inside a hill and hardly visible from the outside, the shrine evokes a sense of calm and serenity.

The Kalachakra Effect — Why is the Kalachakra Initiation So Popular?
29/03/2017 12:24 (GMT+7)
Once every couple of years, news and social media light up around the world with images of the red-robed Dalai Lama seated upon a high ceremonial throne amid a sea of devoted followers and captivated audience members. This newsworthy and popular Buddhist event is the Kalachakra initiation, which has become something of a hallmark of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as the religious gathering has enjoyed an undiminished popularity over the last six decades. Arenas filled to bursting with well-wishers and devotees have earned the self-proclaimed “simple Buddhist monk” quite the rock star status. At the start of this year’s event, a multitude of Vajrayana Buddhists and fans of the Dalai Lama from around the world converged on the holy site of Bodh Gaya in India to attend the “34th Kalachakra Initiation and Teachings” that began on 2 January.
X-ray Scans Reveal Secrets of 1,300-year-old Buddhist Statue
08/03/2017 18:07 (GMT+7)
After seven years of CT scans and in-depth investigation and analysis, one of the most famous works of Buddhist art in Japan, a three-faced, six-armed statue of Ashura, which has been dated to the 8th century, has revealed some of the secrets to its history and original appearance that have for years been the subject of debate among art historians.

Buddhistdoor View: The Case for Rebuilding the Bamiyan Buddhas to Their Original Glory
28/01/2017 15:17 (GMT+7)
After a long and difficult journey across the precipices and through the blizzards of the Tian Shan mountain ranges, Xuanzang (fl. c. 602–64) finally reached the town of Bamiyan in modern-day Afghanistan. His celebrated pilgrimage to India was one of astonishing tenacity, aided by the protection of bodhisattvas from the forces of nature, and on this leg of his journey Xuanzang arrived in a valley separating the Hindu Kush from its western extension, the Koh-i-baba. The residents of Bamiyan, according to the Chinese monk, wore furs and rough woolen clothes, and made a living growing spring wheat, flowers, and fruit, and herding cows, horses, and sheep. The people had coarse, uncultivated manners, but Xuanzang admired their simple and sincere religious faith, which they expressed by carving two colossal Buddha images into the rocky northeastern hill overlooking their settlements (a third reclining Buddha recorded in Xuanzang’s journal has yet to be found).

Portland Art Museum to Repatriate Rare Buddhist Painting to Korea
05/09/2016 20:45 (GMT+7)
Portland Art Museum, in the US state of Oregon, has announced a special exhibition for a rare 18th century Korean Buddhist painting title Obuldo, or Five Buddhas. The iconic painting, which was recently identified as having been stolen from one of Korea’s most famous Buddhist monasteries some 40 years ago, will be repatriated to Korea following the showing.
MFA Boston Exhibits Conservation of Rare 18th Century Buddhist Scroll Painting
31/08/2016 12:08 (GMT+7)
The Museum of Fine Art Boston (MFA) in Massachusetts is offering visitors a unique opportunity to observe the ongoing conservation of an iconic 18th century Japanese scroll painting—Nehan zu (The Death of the Historical Buddha) by Hanabusa Itchō. The live exhibition, titled “Conservation in Action: Preserving Nirvana,” features a team a team of two to six conservators from the MFA’s Asian Conservation Studio and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art, who will work on the masterpiece in full view of visitors, with scheduled periods for interaction with the public.

Moscow’s State Museum of Oriental Art Exhibiting Biggest Buddhist Art Collection in Russia
05/08/2016 15:55 (GMT+7)
The State Museum of Oriental Art (SMOA) in the heart of Moscow is exhibiting Russia’s biggest collection of Buddhist and Asian art, boasting a diverse collection from the Republic of Buryatia in the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Tibet. Visitors can view a unique range of artifacts and art that includes paintings, sculptures, and antiquities from the Middle Ages, such as weapons, jewellery, household items, and textiles.
Google Cultural Institute to Host Indian Museum’s Collection of Buddhist Art
25/05/2016 17:51 (GMT+7)
For the first time ever, the Indian Museum, Kolkata is making its extensive holdings of Buddhist art available online. The project, which includes the museum’s famed Gandharan sculptures, the largest collection in India, is being developed in collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute. So far, three exhibitions are on virtual display: The Life of the Buddha in Indian Art, Indian Buddhist Art, and a 360-degree panoramic Museum View.

Hundreds Attend Omizutori Ceremony at Japan’s Historic Todai Temple
16/03/2016 15:47 (GMT+7)
Hundreds gathered at the historic Buddhist temple Todai-ji in the Japanese city of Nara early on Sunday morning to observe the annual Omizutori, or water-drawing, ceremony. Dating to 752, Omizutori, which is performed with the intention of cleansing the participants and attendees of negative karma, takes place during the two-week-long Shunie Buddhist festival held in Nara to banish drought, epidemics, and war and to bring good luck.
On Pilgrimage: A Journey through Tibet (part 2)
15/03/2016 20:15 (GMT+7)
As our pilgrimage through central Tibet proceeded towards Samye prior to our long journey across the Western Tibetan plateau to Mount Kailash, I noticed a palpable excitement building—a sublime, devotional version of boyish glee. As if the two epic days visiting Drak Yerpa and Gangri Tokar (documented in the first part of this series)* were not vast enough, we were now approaching the sacred site of the primary transmission of realization to the early Tibetan masters who established the authentic Buddha Dharma in Tibet. This was the site of the nexus, the initial gateway for the profound teachings that Vajrayana practitioners the world over are receiving and practicing today. 

Restored Abayagiriya Stupa Unveiled by Sri Lanka’s President
04/08/2015 17:08 (GMT+7)
A restoration project that took 18 years has finally come to an end. On 31 July, Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena hosted a puja, or prayer ritual, to unveil the restored Abayagiriya Chaithya (stupa) and to declare the site open to the public. Directed by Sri Lanka’s Central Cultural Fund (CCF), the project cost a total of Rs519.5 million (US$3.9 million).
Archaeologists Work to Conserve “The World’s Largest Book” in Mandalay
03/08/2015 21:56 (GMT+7)
Archaeologists from Australia’s University of Sydney and the Nan Tien Institute in New South Wales are on a conservation mission to clean and document the hundreds of marble stelae—sometimes referred to as the world’s largest book—at Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay, Myanmar.

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