History

  • Makeup made their children stupid Paid Member

    Did heavy makeup bring down the shogunate? It's possible. Remains of children of samurai show sky-high levels of lead in their bones, most likely from their mothers, who adorned their faces with white, lead-based powder. Idiocy was apparently epidemic among the Edo-era shogunate, with lead levels far above those associated with intellectual impairment. This may have had political consequences, according to an an MSNBC report, which cites the research of Tamiji Nakashima, an anatomist at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu: More »
  • Nalanda to rise from the ashes Paid Member

    It's looking more and more likely nowadays that the legendary Indian university of Nalanda, which at its peak  taught 10,000 students and employed 2,000 faculty, will rise again, according to AFP. The site is more than the heap of bricks that so many other Buddhist historical ruins have become over the centuries. You can still see the general plan, some monks' cells, and you can even get a pretty good idea of what it must have looked like. Maybe that's one of the reasons it's such an attractive candidate for rebuilding. Nalanda was founded in the 3rd century, in what today is the northeastern Indian state of Bihar, and later became one of the world's most well-known learning centers of its time. More »
  • Beautiful Photos from the Ajanta Caves Paid Member

    The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, India, are rock-cut cave monuments that were crafted in between the second century BCE and the eighth century CE containing paintings and sculptures that are true masterpieces of Buddhist art. After being abandoned sometime around the 8th or 9th century CE, the caves were long forgotten until they were rediscovered in 1819 when a man accidentally stumbled upon an entrance while trying to navigate his way through the tangled brush. Today, a piece was published on the Washington Bangla Radio website containing beautiful photographs from a recent visit to the caves. More »
  • China's oldest Buddhist temple Paid Member

    According to the Asian News Network, China's oldest temple aims to position itself as a major Buddhist hub. Built in 68 CE, the White Horse (Baima) Temple, in Luoyang, in China's Henan province, has a colorful history. The ANN reports: According to legend, the Eastern Han Emperor Yongping (reign: AD 57-75) dreamed of a golden figure with a halo, which his advisers assumed was the Buddha, in India. Emissaries were sent abroad to learn more about Buddhism and they returned years later with two Indian monks on white horses, bearing sutras and statues.... More »
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    Buddhism's crumbling past Paid Member

    Not to be an alarmist, but preserving Buddhism's past is an increasingly challenging endeavor. And while the truth of impermanence is fundamental to the Buddhist teachiings, no one said it's easy. Bamiyan was a heartbreaker, and recent news that the Chinese may blow up the ancient ruins of a newly discovered monastery in order to mine for copper raised another alarm. Now, an SOS to Unesco from Buddhist Art News: More »