|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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).
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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).
|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.
|01/08/2015 11:12 (GMT+7)|
Traveling to the town of Larung Gar in the traditional Tibetan region of Kham was for me a mini-pilgrimage in itself. Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, founded in 1980 by Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, is probably the largest religious institute in the world and is situated in quite a remote area— the closest major airport is in Chengdu, 24 hours away by road, which is probably why I met very few other foreign travelers during my visit there this spring. During my journey overland from Chengdu I passed through many scenic Tibetan villages and had a growing feeling of stepping back in time.
|24/07/2015 21:02 (GMT+7)|
A standing bronze statue of the Tathagata Buddha, one of two ancient Buddhist statues stolen from Japan three years ago by South Korean thieves and designated an important cultural property by the Japanese government, has been returned to the island city of Tsushima in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture, the city office said.
|13/07/2015 09:39 (GMT+7)|
The exciting and thought-provoking new book “Shifting Stones, Shaping the Past: Sculpture from the Buddhist Stupas of Andhra Pradesh,” by University of Illinois assistant professor Catherine Becker, divides conveniently into two sections, the first part examining the major early Buddhist remains in Andhra Pradesh and the second focusing on the social context of newly built Buddhist monuments in the state. The modern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh faces the Bay of Bengal, sandwiched between Tamil Nadu to the south and West Bengal to the north. The country’s long coastline never figured into the Buddha’s life story and therefore Andhra Pradesh was never included among the major pilgrimage destinations, such as Bodh Gaya in Bihar or Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh. Nevertheless, Buddhism took firm root in ancient Andhra Pradesh, starting from as early as the 2nd century BCE.
|18/02/2015 17:26 (GMT+7)|
There is a painting in the Freer Gallery of Art’s current exhibition, Zen, Tea, and Chinese Art in Medieval Japan, that beautifully symbolizes the remarkable cultural exchange and synthesis that occurred in East Asia between the 12th and 16th centuries. The painting Bodhidharma Crossing the Yangzi on a Reed is a copy by a 15th-century Japanese artist of an earlier Chinese painting of the 5th/6th-century Indian patriarch of meditational Buddhism, Bodhidharma. Meditational Buddhism, or dhyana, was transmitted by Bodhidharma from India to China, where it was known as Chan and practiced by thousands of followers and particularly in the southeast, an area where tea was grown and drunk by Chan monks to help them stay awake during meditation. When Japanese Buddhists learned of this practice many traveled to China to study it, drank plenty of Chinese tea, and then transmitted both traditions back to Japan. Just as Bodhidharma supposedly floated along the river on a reed, Chan Buddhism and powdered tea drinking were carried across land and sea from one culture to another, landing in Japan in the late 12th century and changing its culture forever.
|30/05/2014 21:08 (GMT+7)|
Recently, when an initiative to erect a 10-foot Buddha statue at the Ajalcuga Forest Temple in Rangamati district of Bangladesh was raised, there was strong opposition from the local state forces and administration. The district administration imposed 144 prohibitive rules indefinitely and claimed these areas in protected forests were out of bounds for building any kind of settlement. At the same time, there was an attempt at depriving the Buddhists and some indigenous organizations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of their right to build religious structures on their land.
|25/05/2014 22:25 (GMT+7)|
“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” Chanting the praises of the Lotus Sutra with her eyes closed and hands clasped together, Naima Mora allows her spiritual world to unfold in front of the camera. One might recognize her as the sweet dancing girl from Detroit, or the winner of America’s Next Top Model in 2005. In the short video, the 30-year-old model talks about her childhood, career, ups and downs in life, and her Buddhist faith. It reveals her struggles and how she rose above them. It is a peek into the life of this established model and happy-go-lucky soul. As of today, Mora’s video has received more than 31,000 views on YouTube.