Arriving on the appointed day for their hearing before the
board, the group's leaders were surprised to find an angry, standing-room-only
crowd packing the room. One after another during the long evening, impassioned residents
rose to vent their fears about the Buddhists' plans. A Buddhist presence would
destroy the community's Christian and American values, some speakers said.
Others worried that proselytizing Buddhists would brainwash their sons and
daughters and lure them into esoteric religious practices.
Buddhism to these Americans was barely distinguishable
from the Hare Krishnas and other cults, an exotic threat to their world. The
dismayed Thais immediately withdrew their application. No one had asked them
about their intentions or aspirations. Nor did it seem likely that anyone
Unfortunately, the opponents of the Buddhist temple in Chester County were no worse informed about the
nature of Buddhism than most other Americans.
To be sure, the view of Buddhism as a mystical religion
far removed from the realities of the workaday world has been a major part of
the faith's appeal in the West. Yet whether this picture of Buddhism-as-esoteric-religion
is seen in a negative or positive light, it is still a flawed and
one-dimensional portrait. It is a portrait, however, with a long history. Some
of the earliest Western explicators of Buddhism, such as W. Y. Evans-Wentz in
Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrine (1935) and Alexandra David-Neel in Magic and
Mystery in Tibet
(1929), painted Tibetan Buddhism in shades of the exotic and esoteric. During
the 1950s, D. T. Suzuki's depiction of Zen Buddhism as antirational and
iconoclastic had great appeal to Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac (author of The
Dharma Bums ), and other members of the Beat Generation. The appeal
spilled over into the counterculture movement, which made books such as Alan Watt's
Way of Zen (1957) and Herman Hesse's Siddhartha (1922; translation 1951) part of
the young's standard equipment. Today, Buddhism is probably personified for
most people by the Dalai Lama and celebrity followers such as actor Richard
Gere. (That is only the beginning: the Dalai Lama is featured in two upcoming Hollywood movies.)
The view of Buddhism held by many Westerners is one-sided,
but not totally without foundation. From its very beginning some 2,500 years
ago, there has been within Buddhism a tension between the this-worldly and the other-worldly.
This tension was at the heart of many early doctrinal controversies about such
matters as the nature of Nirvana, the purpose of monastic life, and the
character of the relationship between monks and the laity. Its origins go back
to the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, or the
Buddhism emerged in what is now southern Nepal during
the sixth century b.c.e. The traditional dates of the Buddha's life are 563-483
b.c.e., although some modern scholars place his lifetime more than 100 years
later. It was a time of unusual upheaval and change throughout the world, as
the widespread adoption of iron tools and weapons revolutionized farming and warfare.
During the Buddha's lifetime, the vast plains of northern India nourished by the Ganges River
and its tributaries were being remade. The region's thick forests were
disappearing as an expanding population claimed more and more land for paddy
rice and other cultivated crops. New towns and cities sprang up, and with them
came a radically new political order as powerful rulers absorbed the region's
many small, autonomous states into larger kingdoms and empires. The Buddha
himself lived to see the land of his clan, the Sakyas, overrun by another
kingdom, which itself later fell to an even larger empire.
Elsewhere in the ancient world, similar changes were
bringing forth other thinkers and prophets, from Confucius and Lao-tse in China to Thales, Heraclitus, and other
pre-Socratics in Greece.
the Buddha and other mendicant truth seekers--including Makkhali Gosala and
Mahavira, the respective founders of the Ajavikas and the Jains--attracted
small groups of disciples who followed an informal code of religious discipline
and shared many of the same religious concepts. They set themselves against the
dominant Brahmanism, which elevated a priestly caste to prominence. The charismatic
challengers, although not revered as divine, were honored both for their
teachings and for magical feats achieved through the disciplines of yoga,
meditation, and asceticism.
Solid facts about the Buddha's life are scarce. The
earliest sacred biographies, such as the Buddhacarita (The acts of the Buddha),
written in the second century b.c.e., are mostly myth and legend. Buddhism's
many different traditions have different versions of the Buddha story, and
there even are variations within each tradition.
In the version accepted by Theravada Buddhists, who are
predominant in Southeast Asia, the Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama,
the son of the ruler of the Sakya clan in the foothills of the Himalayas. Shortly after his birth, eight learned
fortunetellers predicted that Siddhartha would become either a universal,
world-conquering monarch or a fully enlightened Buddha. Distressed at the
prospect that his son might not succeed him, Siddhartha's father surrounded him
with material pleasures and possessions. At the age of 16 the prince married,
and his father built him three splendid palaces, one for each season, where he
was attended by servants and concubines and no less than 40,000 dancing girls.
During the next 17 years, according to legendary accounts, Siddhartha was
"wholly given over to pleasure."
The story takes a dramatic turn when the prince encounters
a decrepit old man, a grievously ill man, a corpse, and finally an ascetic.
These experiences threw Siddhartha into despair. His palace, "as splendid
as the palace of the chief of the gods, began to seem like a charnal ground
filled with dead bodies and the three modes of existence [past, present,
future] like houses of fire." He vowed to live the life of a wandering
ascetic in a quest for an eternal truth beyond the transient truths of ordinary
sense perception and beyond the inexorable realities of aging, sickness, and death.
For six years he wandered northern India with five disciples (one of whom
was one of the original eight fortunetellers). To no avail, he studied the
teachings of the great philosophers and masters of yoga and practiced extreme
forms of renunciation and asceticism, at times living on a single grain of rice
per day, at others going completely without food. These years, says one
Buddhist text, "were like time spent in endeavoring to tie the air into
knots." Finally, after he collapsed during a long fast and was given up
for dead by his followers, the Buddha abandoned this path.
After he regained his health, the Buddha seated himself
beneath a tree and resolved not to rise until he had found enlightenment. To
achieve it he was forced to confront Mara, the lord of the senses, who is
strongly associated with death. Again, accounts of this epoch battle between
good and evil vary, but in the end Siddhartha defeats the hosts his foe sends
against him, calling on the power of Mother Earth to defend himself. He spends
the rest of the night in deep meditation, finally attaining insight into the nature
of suffering, its cause and its cessation--a state of understanding and
equanimity called Nirvana. The tradition dates this event to 528 b.c.e., and
the Buddha's first words uttered after his enlightenment have been passed down
in poetry and legend:
Long have I wandered;
Long bound by the chain of life.
Through many births
I have sought in vain
The builder of this house [mind and body].
Suffering is birth again and again.
O housemaker [craving], I now see you!
You shall not build this house again.
Broken are all your rafters,
Your roof beam destroyed.
My mind has attained the unconditioned,
And reached the end of all craving.
The Buddha's victory represents the core teaching of early
Buddhism: suffering and death can be overcome only when ignorance and desire
have been put aside. This message was encapsulated in the Buddha's first post-enlightenment
teaching, Setting the Wheel of the Truth in Motion. This discourse, delivered
to his five disciples at what is now the Deer Park in the holy city of Benares,
enumerated the Four Noble Truths: that life's pleasures and satisfactions are
ultimately unsatisfactory or unfulfilling, that this sense of dissatisfaction
is rooted in selfish attachment and greed based on an erroneous perception of
ego; that a deeper sense of purpose and meaning (Nirvana) is achieved when the
false sense of ego is transcended, and that the way to this saving knowledge is
by means of the Noble Eightfold Path. The Path's eight elements are right
understanding, right intention, right speech, right conduct, right vocation,
right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
Before the five followers would accept his teaching, however,
the Buddha had to persuade them that in casting off his life as an ascetic he
had not merely embraced its opposite, a life of pleasure. The path to enlightenment,
he told them, required following a Middle
Way, avoiding the extremes of self-mortification
and self-indulgence. The Middle
Way is a life of simplicity, not discomfort. When
the skeptical disciples finally accepted the Buddha's teaching they became the
first members of the sangha, or religious order. They, too, eventually became,
like the Buddha himself, arhat (perfected ones), though their enlightenment was
not the equal of the full and perfect enlightenment of the Buddha.
Soon the sangha had 60 members, all of whom traveled to
spread the Buddha' teaching within an area of perhaps 200 square miles in
and all of whom became arhat. Their leader himself spent 45 years as mendicant
teacher. According to Buddhist accounts, he attracted followers from many
social classes and walks of life, including merchants, aristocrats, and even ascetics
such as the great yogi Kasyapa, whom the Buddha converted through feats of
levitation and clairvoyance. After some debate, the Buddha reluctantly allowed
women to undertake the monastic life. Mahaprajapati, who was the Buddha's aunt
as well as his stepmother, became the first Buddhist nun.
The Western scholars and travelers who took up the study
of Buddhism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were enthralled by this
story of the Buddha's renunciation and enlightenment. In their writings they implicitly
contrasted Buddhism with the faith-based theism of Christianity, portraying it
as a rational religious philosophy pursued through a quiet life of renunciation
and meditation. A few of these early observers emphasized the more mystical and
esoteric aspects of Buddhism, but they shared with other Westerners a focus on
what the famed German sociologist Max Weber called religious
"virtuosos"--the Buddhist monks who performed heroic feats of fasting
and meditation in pursuit of absolute truth.
It is largely because of these earlier writers, especially
Weber, that the West has acquired a skewed portrait of Buddhism as a
world-denying religion. Idealizing the sangha as a company of renouncers, they
tended to dismiss the everyday devotional Buddhism of the faith's many ordinary
adherents--including such things as their veneration of the sangha and of Buddha
images and relics--as a corrupt form of Buddhism that arose as illiterate
peasants throughout Asia embraced the faith
after the Buddha's death. In these writers' hands, Buddhism was made to appear
a faith virtually without historical, sociological, and political dimensions.
But the "worldliness" of Buddhism may be said to
have begun with the Buddha himself. He was, after all, a man of considerable
charisma who worked ceaselessly after his enlightenment to show others the way
to the truth. Among his most important early supporters were local kings and
nobles in northern India,
men who had been moved by his words and deeds, such as King Bimbisara, the
ruler of the kingdom
The Buddha himself is said to have warned his followers on
more than one occasion against worshiping him. In the Samyutta-Nikaya, he sends
away an overly attentive disciple named Vatkali, saying "What good to you
is this body of filth? He who sees the dharma [teachings] sees me." Yet in
his own lifetime the Buddha received generous offerings from devoted lay
followers, and veneration of his bodily relics may have begun immediately after
his death (apparently from dysentery) and cremation in 483 b.c.e. According to Buddhist
sources, the Buddha's cremated remains were divided among eight Indian rulers,
who enshrined them in reliquary mounds (stupas) in their kingdoms. Legend also
recounts that King Asoka, who ruled Magadha
from about 273 to 232 b.c.e. and eventually extended his dominion--and the influence
of Buddhism--over much of the Indian subcontinent, re-enshrined these relics at
84,000 locations throughout India.
As Buddhism later spread throughout Asia, ever
more elaborate and beautiful stupas were built.
The cult of stupas was one of the earliest forms of
Buddhist devotional religion. The stupa not only symbolized the Buddha but in a
magical sense made him present. Freestanding images of the Buddha that began to
appear as early as the first century b.c.e. served a similar purpose. In his
own lifetime, the Blessed One and the sangha received offerings from their lay followers,
who came not only to hear religious teachings but hoping to gain some boon or
benefit--if not in this life then in some future one. After his death, pilgrims
traveled to the stupas in order to be in his presence, bringing offerings of
incense, flowers, and material goods. Monks, who were originally respected
chiefly as teachers of the Buddha's dharma, came to be revered as
representatives of his sacred wisdom and repositories of his power. They, too,
were showered with offerings by hopeful laypeople.
Ordinary religious practice developed along different
lines in different countries, but it generally combines a concern with
otherworldly affairs with a very ordinary interest in such things as good
health and good crops. The faithful may worship at home before their own
shrines and at weekly temple rituals. Throughout the Buddhist world, ceremonies
and festivals mark major events such as the lunar New Year, Buddha's Day, and
changes in the agricultural cycle. Some holidays are unique to certain locales
or specially attuned to local tastes. Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Buddhists honor
their ancestors during All Souls feasts. In Tibet,
the new year festival includes a ritual exorcism of evil; in Chiang Mai, in
an image of the Buddha is paraded through the streets in hopes of ensuring the
onset of the monsoon rains. A day at a temple fair with the raucous noise of
hawkers and entertainers would convince most outsiders that Buddhism is not all
about withdrawal and meditation.
These rituals, ceremonies, and festivals elevate life from
the mundane and give meaning to the seemingly random nature of human experience
by connecting it to a Buddhist narrative framework. Buddhism also helps to define
social ethics for laypeople, upholding the virtues of generosity and loving
kindness toward humans and animals and placing a high value on honesty and
uprightness. All Buddhists are expected to embrace the Five Precepts--which
forbid killing, stealing, lying, adultery, and the consumption of alcohol. From
the renunciant elements of Buddhist practice comes an emphasis on the values of
simplicity, equanimity, and nonviolence.
These values are not confined to the monastery. Lose your
temper in a 20th-century Chiang Mai market, and ordinary Thais will soothe you
with the words jai-yen (literally, have a cool head).
While Buddhists have evolved various conceptions of salvation,
early Buddhism did not look for release in an eternal hereafter. The Buddhist conception
of existence is cyclical, with escape from the pain of worldly existence
possible only for those who attain Nirvana after many lifetimes of effort. In
Buddhism there is rebirth but no reincarnation. The Buddha taught that the idea
of a self or soul is an illusion (a teaching that has caused endless debate
among his followers). What is reborn is a consciousness conditioned by the sum
of all past actions, or karma.
Buddhism's concern with earthly affairs began, in a sense,
at the top. As it spread through Asia during
the centuries after the Buddha's death, it owed much of its success to the
support of powerful kings, many of whom were attracted to Buddhism because it
provided a cosmological scheme legitimating a powerful, centralized rule, a
scheme rooted in a cyclical view of history. In the golden age, a universal
monarch presided over a realm free from poverty, violence, and wrongdoing. But
in a world marked by strife, hostility, and greed, kings must maintain order in
the secular realm, by force if necessary, while the sangha presides over
spiritual life and guides monarchs to further the welfare of their subjects.
Probably not by accident, many of the important legends
concerning kingship date from about the time of Buddhism's most famous royal
patron, King Asoka. In about 264 b.c.e. Asoka conquered Kalinga, the most
powerful kingdom in India
still independent of his rule, but was so appalled by the horrors his armies
had inflicted on the Kalingans that he embraced the Buddha's teaching of
nonviolence and compassion. Asoka became convinced that the only true conquest
was not by force of arms but by the force of the teachings of religion. If his
heirs should also become conquerors, he wrote, "they should take pleasure
in patience and gentleness, and regard as (the only true) conquest the conquest
won by piety."
Asoka himself may not have been a practicing Buddhist, but
there is no doubt that he was an active supporter of the faith. He generously subsidized
the monastic order and did much to aid the spread of was, by all accounts, a
wise and humane ruler, and tolerant of other faiths (as were many later
Buddhist rulers). On rocks and stone pillars he erected throughout the lands
under his control--a number of them still standing—he engraved edicts extolling
virtuous behavior, commending specific Buddhist texts, and encouraging his subjects to make the pilgrimage
to Bodh-Gaya, the Buddha's birthplace.
A religion that lives by royal patronage can also die
without it. Little more than 50 years after King Asoka's death in 232 b.c.e.,
when his empire passed into the hands of Hindu successors, Buddhism began to
wane in the land of its birth. It would revive under royal patronage, but after
the 10th century c.e. its last lights in India would flicker out under the combined
assaults of a resurgent Hinduism and invasions by the followers of Muhammad.
Throughout Asia, the
relationship between state and sangha would be vitally important to Buddhism's
condition. In north China,
Buddhism flourished until the Northern Wei emperor decreed in 446 c.e. that all
Buddhist temples and stupas were to be destroyed. The religion was later
revived but fell again after 846 when a T'ang imperial edict led to the
destruction of some 4,600 monasteries and 40,000 temples and forced more than
260,000 monks and nuns to return to lay life. Buddhism by then was too
thoroughly integrated into Chinese life to disappear, but it would never regain
the vibrancy it had once enjoyed. Today, in other parts of Asia,
the state's role remains important, for better and for worse. In Thailand, Buddhism flourishes as the state
religion, while in Cambodia,
the faith is still recovering from Pol Pot's murderous assault on monks and
Asoka's patronage, however, was especially
the history of Buddhism, for he not only sustained the faith at an
point in its development but spread it far beyond his own borders.
Buddhist accounts, two of his children brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka,
and another carried it to Central Asia. It was chiefly from Sri Lanka,
the 12th century c.e., that Buddhism spread to Cambodia,
Laos, Myanmar (Burma),
Thailand, and Vietnam. But
Buddhism also traveled by many other routes. Central Asia became a major
of Buddhism by the first century c.e., and from there the faith spread
the Silk Road and into China
It also traveled from India
across the Bay of Bengal to the region around Thailand. It was a two-way
Pilgrims also journeyed to India
and other far-flung regions in search of knowledge from the source.
They did not always find the same Buddhism--and for good
reasons: the Buddha's teachings were not even written down until several
centuries after his death, and sanghas existed in widely scattered locales,
many nurturing their own distinctive interpretations and producing their own
texts. Tradition has it that there were 18 different schools of Buddhism in
these early days. But the main division, arising as early as the first century b.c.e.,
separated Hinayana Buddhists and reformist Mahayana Buddhists, who took for
themselves the mantle of "Greater Vehicle," sticking their rivals with
the "Lesser Vehicle" label.
There are within these great schools many lesser
divisions. Theravada Buddhism, with roots in the Hinayana tradition embraced
and transmitted by Asoka, is predominant in Southeast Asia.
Mahayana Buddhism includes many schools--including Zen in China, Korea,
Vietnam, and Japan, and Vajrayana in Tibet, and Jodo Shin Shu (or the Pure Land)
The Theravada-Mahayana division has its origins partly in
disagreements over the all-important rules of conduct governing monks, and
partly in disputes over the meaning of certain Buddhist teachings about the
nature of the self and the Buddha. Theravada Buddhists are said to be
"original" Buddhists in that they adhere to the notion of the
historical Buddha and the faith's early emphasis on monks striving for
enlightenment. Mahayana Buddhism offers a more metaphysical reading of the
Buddha, placing more emphasis on his previous lives as bodhisattva, or aspirant
Many interpreters insist that Mahayana Buddhism makes the
prospect of achieving Buddahood more of a possibility for laypeople as well as
monks, and that it encourages all Buddhists, as bodhisattvas, to work for the liberation
of other people, just as the Buddha did. But this distinction is debatable.
What can be safely said is that Mahayana Buddhism blurs the distinction between
monk and laity far more than classical Theravada did.
Everywhere it took root, Buddhism assumed a different
coloration, engaging the world as it adapted to local cultures and religious
practices. In many places, relatively simple and unorganized animistic faiths
prevailed, offering relatively little resistance to Buddhism. In Thailand
Buddhism encountered the phi, in Myanmar the cult of nats. In Tibet,
a form of Tantric Buddhism (itself related to mystical Hindu Tantrism) that
arrived in the 8th century c.e. blended with the local Bon shamanism, creating
a unique form of Buddhism. By the end of the 16th century, Tibet had become a Buddhist
theocracy ruled by the Dalai (great ocean) Lama (teacher), revered as an
incarnation of Avolokitesvara, the kingdom's protective deity. The current
Dalai Lama is the 14th in this line.
Buddhism was most profoundly altered in China, Korea,
where Mahayana Buddhists faced well-established and sophisticated doctrines. In
all of these countries, the monastic structure of Indian Buddhism gradually yielded
to a more laity-based religious practice. In China, for example, Buddhism
clashed with the secular, pragmatic doctrines of the Confucian elite, who could
hardly have seen the "otherworldly" Buddhist pursuit of enlightenment
and Nirvana as anything but alien and threatening. The withdrawal of monks from
family and society, their dependence on others for their support, and their
claims of independence from worldly government all cut distinctly against the
Confucian grain. Chinese Taoism, too, with its emphasis on the living and on
achieving harmony with the forces of nature, did not readily give way before
Buddhism. So Buddhism in its many forms accommodated itself to China,
attaching itself to existing doctrines where it could and adapting in other
cases. In the meditative traditions that developed in India, for example, enlightenment
is a goal realized only after many lifetimes of arduous practice under great
teachers, while in the most authentically Chinese forms of Zen, enlightenment
is a sudden, spontaneous experience.
The coming of Western colonialism and Christianity
beginning in the 16th century cast a pall over the Buddhist world.
In Sri Lanka,
for example, by the time the Portuguese were expelled (by the Dutch) in 1658,
some 150 years after their arrival, only five ordained Buddhist monks remained.
In places where the Westerners were less zealous in their efforts to convert those
they conquered or where other circumstances were more auspicious, Buddhism
fared better, but only Thailand
completely escaped colonization.
By the 19th century, resistance to colonial rule in many
Asian nations was beginning to coalesce around a new Buddhist nationalism. In
1918, the leaders of the Young Men's Buddhist Association in Rangoon
used the British colonials' refusal to remove their shoes when entering
Buddhist pagodas to launch a campaign for Burma's independence. The country's
first leader after independence in 1948, prime minister U Nu, saw himself in
the tradition of the classical Buddhist kings, and like other Buddhist nationalists
often evoked Asoka's name. Before he was displaced in a 1962 coup, he tried to
create a Buddhist socialism under which the basic material needs of all
citizens would be met by the state, freeing them to pursue higher spiritual
ends. Today many Buddhist monks risk prison or death to publicly support Nobel
Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the democracy movement that
struggles against the military dictatorship established after U Nu.
To Americans, modern Buddhism's engagement with the world
was most memorably demonstrated in South Vietnam, where Buddhist
protesters helped bring down the corrupt Ngo Dinh Diem regime in 1963. That
year, the Venerable Thich Quang-Duc, one of many politically active Buddhist
monks, set himself on fire in Saigon to
protest the Diem regime's anti-Buddhist policies, an event engraved in the
world's consciousness by photojournalist Malcolm Browne's famous photograph.
The mobilization of Vietnam's
Buddhist monks during the war years helped lay the foundation for a new kind of
Buddhist involvement in the world.
During the past four decades, an international, ecumenical
Buddhism has emerged, led by a trio of remarkable men. The chief inspiration
for the worldwide "engaged Buddhist" movement, as it is known, has
been Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen master and founder of the Tiep Hien
Order of Interbeing, an international organization of laypeople, monks, and
nuns headquartered at Plum Village, a meditation retreat in southern France.
Sulak Sivaraksa, a Thai layman, has led efforts to fight rural poverty, prostitution,
AIDS, and drug abuse in his native country--often battling the Thai government
as well--and is the founder of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists.
The groups in this alliance are transforming a monastery-based religion into a
force against environmental degradation and the economic pressures that are
destroying the social and cultural fabric of many developing countries. While
friendly to Christianity and other faiths of the West, the leaders of this
movement are critical of traditional Western views of nature and Western
The world's most widely recognized representative of
engaged Buddhism is plainly the Dalai Lama. Living in exile in the northern
Indian city of Dharamsala, where he fled two
years after communist China
in 1957, he has gained worldwide stature. He lectures around the world on human
rights, economic justice, and environmental protection, and challenges the
international community to bring pressure to bear on China
to end its policies of ethnic cleansing and ecological and cultural genocide in
Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Dalai Lama
dispelled any sense one might have of Buddhism as solely an otherworldly
religion. His speech included concrete proposals for Tibet and the world, including the demilitarization
of his native country and a ban on the manufacture, testing, and stockpiling of
nuclear weapons around the world--a ban that is coming closer to realization
every day. His was not the speech of a monk locked away from the world in a
meditative trance. Indeed, he closed his address with a short prayer that
exemplifies the Buddhist spirit of engagement with the world:
For as long as space endures,
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
Engaged Buddhism thus joins a long and honorable roll of
Buddhisms that have been born during the more than 2,500 years since the
nativity of the founder. It is this very heterodoxy and diversity--so extreme
that not all Buddhists bow to the same Buddha--that have proved to be the
faith's great strength over the centuries.
[PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): The Three Jewels of Buddhism:
the Buddha, the Dharma ... ]
The Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Dharma
(symbolized by the lotus flower), and the sangha (the monk rising from the
[PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): In a 19th-century painting
the Buddha and ... ]
In a 19th-century painting from Burma, the Buddha and his followers
receive alms from a layman.
PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): A monastery painting shows the
chain of dependent origination. It is gripped by Mara, the personification of
death. The animals in the center represent the cardinal faults (passion,
hatred, and delusion); the big segments show the six spheres of existence.
[PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): The vast ninth-century stupa
and temple complex at Borobudur, ... ]
The vast ninth-century stupa and temple complex at
Borobudur, on the Indonesian island
of Java, is one of the
most magnificent sites in the Buddhist world.
PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Exiled Tibetan Buddhists gather
at a temple in Dharamsala, India.
Vol. 21 No. 2 Spring 1997,Pp. 81-93
Copyright by Wilson