History

  • Blame and Powerlessness in Japan Paid Member

    Tricycle contributing editor Clark Strand writes on Mappo, the Age of Decline, and its impact on the Japanese psyche for Religion Dispatches: Japanese literature is filled with writings about earthquakes, tsunamis and other such cataclysmic events which were, for many, interpreted as portents of harder times to come. For others they were decrees from heaven meted out to a people whose Confucian morality had become corrupt or simply lax; or the Mahayana Buddhist version of the traditional “end times” scenario. Mappo, the “Age of Decline,” was thought to have occurred because the dharma—the teaching of Buddha—had been allowed to languish and grow stale. More »
  • Nice art, troubled history: Dorje Shugden Paid Member

    Issues around the worship of the Tibetan deity Dorje Shugden have been the source of much conflict ever since the deity and its associated practices were adopted by the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. But it was not the Gelugs who inducted the deity into the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. In fact, it was only in the early 20th century that Gelugs adopted practices linked to Dorje Shugden. Previously, such practices were primarily associated with the Sakya sect. More »
  • Wikileaks: Lumbini Edition Paid Member

    At the request of Dr. Christoph Cueppers—German Tibetologist, director of the Lumbini International Research Institute, and friend—I went yesterday to the UN Archives and Records Management to sift through old documentation on the UN's role in the early days of Lumbini's development."It would be very very helpful indeed if you could get some documentation of the early days of the Lumbini," he wrote, "and the international commitment. Photos, exchange of notes, whatever is there is of interest. Also the assignment of the Master Plan to Kenzo Tange."Most of what I looked through wasn't very juicy—formal letters requesting financial support, thank you notes. etc.—but I loved it. For me, touching history is an electric, life-affirming activity. This is our collective heritage! Isn't it wild that this is our collective heritage?Here are a couple photographs of the correspondence I dug through. More »
  • The Council of Lhasa (792-794 CE) Paid Member

    The Council of Lhasa did not take place in Lhasa, but rather at the Samye monastery, which is located 3-1/2 hours away from Lhasa by bus these days. Samye is said to be the oldest monastery in Tibet, built in the middle of the 8th century at the request of King Trisong Detsen (one of the three Dharma Kings of Tibet) with the help of Padmasambhava, who brought to the local spirits to heel, and the scholar-monk Shantarakshita. The grounds at Samye are laid out in a mandala pattern and the main building is said to be based on Odantapuri, one of the great Buddhist universities of India, now destroyed (Odantapuri's high walls caused it to be mistaken for a fortress by the general Khalji, who conquered Bihar and Bengal at the end of the 12th century. Though if it had low walls, he might have knocked them down too.) More »
  • Buddhist History for Buddhist Practitioners: An Interview with Robert Sharf Paid Member

    At the Tricycle Community we're beginning part 4 of our "Buddhist History for Buddhist Practitioners" series. This time we're discussing an interview with Berkeley's Robert Sharf about his critique of what scholars call Buddhist modernism.Here's a small sampling of the interview: More »
  • Buddhists in the House Paid Member

    Did you know that Hawaii's membership in the House of Representatives in 2011 will be 100% Buddhist? There are two House members from the Aloha State: Democrat Mazie Hirono and newly elected Colleen Hanabusa, also a Democrat and currently president of Hawaii's Senate. Hanabusa defeated Republican Charles Djou to win the seat representing the 1st district, which covers urban Honolulu, while Hirono represents the 2nd district, which covers suburban Honolulu and the rest of the islands. Both are of Japanese heritage and Wikipedia names both women as Shin Buddhists. More »