46 posts tagged with buddhism by homunculus.
Displaying 1 through 46 of 46.
Hidden Paintings Revealed at Ancient Temple of Angkor Wat. "New, digitally enhanced images reveal detailed murals at Angkor Wat showing elephants, deities, boats, orchestral ensembles and people riding horses — all invisible to the naked eye." [Via]
Golden Buddha, Hidden Copper. "Twelve years after the Taliban blew up the world-famous Bamiyan Buddhas, a Chinese mining firm -- developing one of the world's largest copper deposits -- threatens to destroy another of Afghanistan's archeological treasures." Campaign to Save Mes Aynak.
West treats East. "To help traumatized Tibetan monks, doctors in Boston turn to cross-cultural medicine." [Via]
Buddhism's allure is fading for many young Tibetans. At the same time, growing numbers of middle-class ethnic Han Chinese are turning to Tibetan Buddhism. [Via]
When Jesus met Buddha. "Something remarkable happened when evangelists for two great religions crossed paths more than 1,000 years ago: they got along." [Via]
Surrendering to the Spirit Vine. Artist Alex Grey (previously) describes his experience with "the champagne of ayahuascas."
China's secret plot to tame Tibet. "Internal Communist party documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month." Meanwhile, the military has sealed off several monasteries in Lhasa, keeping over 1,000 monks locked up. Another 1,000 monks have mysteriously disappeared, and may have been sent to prisons in a neighbouring province to keep them silent through the Olympics.
Monks Succeed in Cyclone Relief as Junta Falters. In Burma (Myanmar) the Buddhist monks are doing more than anyone to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis. At the same time, Burmese officials are trying to stem the influence of the monks by forcing survivors who have sought refuge in monasteries to return to their shattered homes. [Via Barbara's Buddhism Blog.]
"Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation" (PDF). A recent article in Trends in Cognitive Sciences on the neuroscience of meditation, focusing on how meditation alters and sharpens the brain's attention systems. The research is being done at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior (previously), who have also recently published research on the "Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation" (PDF), which describes how meditation can cultivate compassion by physically affecting brain regions that play a role in empathy. They shared this research with the Dalai Lama at the recent Seeds of Compassion forum.
Ancient Buddhist Paintings From Bamiyan Were Made Of Oil, Hundreds Of Years Before Technique Was 'Invented' In Europe. [Via MonkeyFilter.] [more inside]
India's Ancient Art. "Fifth-century painters created stunning murals in dim man-made caves. A gifted photographer brings them to light." [more inside]
The Zen Mind - An Introduction. A Day in the Life of a Zen Monk. Zazen - A Guide to Sitting. Interview with a Zen Buddhist Priest (previously). [more inside]
Risking all: the Burmese jokers who laugh in the face of danger. In Burma (Myanmar), comedians are targets in the junta's war on words. [Via BB.] [more inside]
Searching for God in the Brain. "Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith." [Via MindHacks, which points out a few niggling omissions in the article.]
Paintings of Buddha dating back at least to the 12th century have been discovered in a cave in Nepal. Tipped by a local shepherd, a team of international researchers climbed to some old caves where they found a mural with 55 panels depicting the life of Buddha, reminiscent of the artwork of the Ajanta Caves in India (possibly NSFW). There are probably many other forgotten caves in the Mustang area (previously discussed here,) but they may be threatened by a planned trans-Himalayan highway.
The stupa (aka the chorten or the pagoda) is Buddhism's universal piece of symbolic architecture. Borobodur in Java is probably the most famous, while Burma's Shwedagon Pagoda is the largest, and the Kyaik-htiyo Pagoda on the Golden Rock may be the most precarious. They're common across the Himalayas, and sometimes hidden in caves.
Burmese Daze: In which the author submits to the pleasures of a transgender spirit possession festival in Burma. [Via Disinformation.]
Meditation found to increase brain size (maybe) according to research led by Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar. Meanwhile, Atheist Manifesto author Sam Harris recently went on a meditation retreat and seemed to find it pleasant enough.
Two Sciences of Mind. A good article on the emerging dialogue between neuroscience and Buddhism (previously discussed here). Allan Wallace of the Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama's plan to speak at an upcoming neuroscience conference has led to controversy and petition wars.
Meditation and neuroplasticity. A new study (PDF) describes the changes in the brains of Buddhist monks, using fMRI to scan their brains while they practice compassion meditation. The project was a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin and the Shechen Monastery in Nepal.
The Gross International Happiness Project. An idea inspired by Gross National Happiness, the Kingdom of Bhutan's alternative to GDP.
Globalized fundamentalism versus tradition. This report for the Society for International Development describes the efforts of foreign funded Christian evangelists to gain converts in Sri Lanka, which the author views as an assault on traditional Sri Lankan culture. There is a backlash, which some say is leading to the suppression of religious freedom and state sponsorship of Buddhism. [Via Plastic.]
A restoration project has been underway since 1998 to restore the 15th-century Tibetan Buddhist monastery wall paintings of Lo Monthang, a city in the kingdom of Mustang in northwest Nepal. The results have been very impressive. Mustang is also home to some amazing cave temples.
A 44-year-old Buddhist priest completed a seven-year, 24,800-mile running ritual on Thursday in Japan. The grueling ritual is performed by the gyoja, or "Marathon Monks," of the Tendai School of Buddhism at Mount Hiei. The ritual began in the year 831 with the monk So-o, and involves periods of running, walking, and chanting and praying to the Japanese deity Fudo Myo-o.
Neuroscience and meditation. "Researchers are making the case that Eastern-style meditation is good not just for your emotional well-being but also for your physical state." This is a fascinating article (NYTM, reg. req.) on the convergence of Buddhist meditation and neuroscience (here's a previous post on the subject.) Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama is in Boston, presiding over a conference between biobehavioral scientists and Buddhists.
"Mindfulness In Plain English" is a meditation manual by Henepola Gunaratana which has been reprinted online. It's a great introduction and step-by-step guide to Vipassana ('insight') meditation, a technique practiced in Theravada Buddhism. There are several centers which teach classes and retreats in the U.S. and Europe. There's also a 90-day online course, but the next open course doesn't start until September.
The Lukhang Temple, or "Temple of the Serpent Spirits", sits on an island behind the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. On the top floor is a formerly secret chamber (now open to the public) which the Dalai Lamas used to retreat to for periods of deep meditation. The walls of the chamber are covered by a series of stunning wall paintings (Flash) which depict the esoteric practices of Tibet's Tantric tradition, a visual representation of the Tibetan Buddhist path to enlightenment. Although there has been some damage to the temple and paintings, they escaped relatively unscathed from the Cultural Revolution. The current Dalai Lama, who was forced to leave Tibet before he was initiated into the practices depicted in the temple, describes it as one of the hidden jewels of Tibetan civilization. It is also the subject of Ian Baker's book, "The Dalai Lama's Secret Temple".
The International Dunhuang Project, developed jointly by the British Library and the National Library of China, makes thousands manuscripts and paintings from ancient caves and temples along the Silk Road viewable to the public. The artifacts were found in the Dunhuang cave in China in 1900 and dispersed to museums around the world, but now they have been brought together on the web. And if you want some appropriate music to go with it, check out Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Project.
Tenzin Palmo, a British-born Buddhist nun, became famous in the Tibetan community when she spent 12 years meditating in a cave in the Himalayas. Now she seeks to address the gender inequality faced by women in Buddhism. She runs the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery, and hopes to reestablish the lost tradition of the togdenma, yogini nuns of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage who follow the ascetic path of Milarepa.
The emotion Buddhists call samvega is hard to translate because it covers three clusters of feelings at once: "the oppressive sense of shock, dismay, and alienation that come with realizing the futility and meaninglessness of life as it's normally lived; a chastening sense of our own complacency and foolishness in having let ourselves live so blindly; and an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle." Not being a Buddhist, I can't say I have any more faith in pasada than in prozac. But I and many people I've known have experienced a complex emotion like this one, so it's interesting to know that this concept has been around for so long.