• Lost in Capitulation Paid Member

    A life-affirming Buddhism that teaches us to find happiness by opening to the richness of our everyday lives. That's what we want—or so we're told by the people who try to sell us a mainstreamlined Buddhism. But is it what we need? And is it Buddhism? More »
  • Myanmar's Cosmic Theater Paid Member

    Buddhist Art of MyanmarFebruary 10–May 10, 2015Asia Society, New York A Pyu period copper statue of a seated Buddha from the 8th or 9th century. Four years ago, Burma, now known as Myanmar, ended its decades-long isolation from much of the world. Now the Asia Society has mounted the first-ever museum show of Burmese Buddhist art in the US. The works included are fantastically varied in appearance, and for good reason. Until British rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the region comprising present-day Myanmar was a collection of separate kingdoms whose names, borders, and populations changed over the centuries. Providing a common thread among these disparate cultures was Buddhism, still practiced by 90 percent of the population of Myanmar. More »
  • Was the Buddha an Atheist? Paid Member

    "The Buddha was an atheist." Writer Allan Badiner made this bald pronouncement in the midst of a conversation that spanned the wee hours of a cloudless Burning Man night. Sitting in a vast tent where, during the day, scores of partygoers had washed off their dust and grime in a plexiglass chamber, we discussed prevailing notions of a Buddhist godhead and, conversely, our mutual embrace of the religion in its secular form.   I was most intrigued, though, by Badiner’s description of the Buddha as an atheist. I asked for sources.   Allan’s first response: More »
  • Recent discovery of “earliest Buddhist shrine” a sham? Paid Member

    In the December 2013 issue of the archaeological journal Antiquity there appears an article by several authors, headed by Prof. Robin Coningham of Durham University. Its appearance has been successfully managed to secure international publicity. The article was embargoed until a specified hour, timed to immediately succeed an announcement to the press in the USA. More »
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    Findings shed light on when the Buddha (might have) died Paid Member

    (RNS) Scientists have uncovered the first physical evidence showing when the great religious leader known as the Buddha passed away, a date crucial to scholars and adherents of Buddhism. Excavations in 2011 and 2012 at a site known as the Buddha’s birthplace imply he died—or, more accurately, experienced his “great passing away”—in the 6th century B.C., roughly 100 years earlier than the scholarly consensus. The debate over the timing is not just academic: Buddhist countries such as Thailand use a dating system pegged to the year of the Buddha’s death, and some of his prophecies imply no one will achieve enlightenment a certain number of years after his passing. More »
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    Nepal battles misconceptions over Buddha’s birthplace Paid Member

    (RNS) Quick: Where was the Buddha born? To hear many Indians talk, you’d think it was India, where he attained enlightenment and gave his first sermon. But the people of Nepal know better—and they are eager to correct misconceptions about the Awakened One, one of the world’s most revered figures. Next month, Nepal will circulate a new 100-rupee note with the imprint, “Lumbini: The Birthplace of Lord Buddha.” The currency is part of the government’s most recent effort to correct the record. It comes amid protests following a promotional video on the private Indian channel Zee TV, which claimed the Buddha was born in India. More »