History

  • Treasury of Lives: Dorje Shugden Paid Member

    Biography and autobiography in Tibet are important sources for both education and inspiration. Tibetans have kept such meticulous records of their teachers that thousands of names are known and discussed in a wide range of biographical material. All these names, all these lives—it can be a little overwhelming. The authors involved in the Treasury of Lives are currently mining the primary sources to provide English-language biographies of every known religious teacher from Tibet and the Himalaya, all of which are organized for easy searching and browsing. Every Tuesday on the Tricycle blog, we will highlight and reflect on important, interesting, eccentric, surprising and beautiful stories found within this rich literary tradition. Treasury of Lives: Dorje Shugden More »
  • Consider the Source: Why Bodhidharma was a rebel, not a myth Paid Member

    Revered as the father of Zen Buddhism, some scholars have still denied or raised doubts as to whether Bodhidharma actually existed. He did. In fact, new evidence from Chinese scholarship suggests that he was a critically important historical figure, one far more fascinating than previously imagined. But if this is true, why doesn’t he appear in any official imperial records that were created while he lived? The earliest and most reliable account we have concerning Bodhidharma’s life, written by the great monk-historian Dao Xuan around the year 650 AD, clearly suggests that Bodhidharma did not like emperors and made a point to avoid them. The famous story of Bodhidharma meeting and rejecting the “Bodhisattva Emperor Wu” of the Liang Dynasty is only the most famous bit of information that supports this thesis. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Radical Strains of Buddhism Paid Member

    Virulent anti-Muslim violence has once again enveloped a Burmese town—this time Lashio in the northeastern Shan State. What was once perceived as an isolated outbreak of murderous rioting in the western Rakhine state against Rohingya Muslims last year has now become a common occurrence in locales across the country, where not only Rohingya but all Muslims have become viable targets. Reacting to a quarrel between a Buddhist woman and an older Muslim male customer, Buddhist mobs—with monks in their ranks—armed with rocks, sticks, and machetes took to setting fire to the city’s largest mosque, a Muslim school, Muslim orphanage, and scores of Muslim-owned shops. More »
  • Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Controversial Art, Part 2 - The Svastika Paid Member

    Buddhist practice and Buddhist art have been inseparable in the Himalayas ever since Buddhism arrived to the region in the eighth century. But for the casual observer it can be difficult to make sense of the complex iconography. Not to worry—Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt is here to help. In this "Himalayan Buddhist Art 101" series, Jeff is making sense of this rich artistic tradition by presenting weekly images from the Himalayan Art Resources archives and explaining their roles in the Buddhist tradition. Read Part 1: Dorje Shugden Controversial Art, Part 2: The Svastika More »
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    Consider the Source: Why was Hercules the Buddha's first guardian? Paid Member

    The connection between early Western and Eastern civilizations is far more intimate than most people realize. Indeed, the earliest depictions of the Buddha, from the area around ancient Gandhara in Pakistan, depict him like the statue of a Greek god. Greek culture and influence remained in the areas of Afghanistan and northern India long after Alexander the Great conquered the region; the large Greek population retained the art and philosophy of ancient Greece while marrying into the local population. A beautiful early example of Gandharan art shows the Buddha protected by a hovering Herakles, the Greek hero who the Romans called Hercules. More »
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    Scholar Donald Lopez to give talk at 92Y TriBeCa this Friday Paid Member

    Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies and Tricycle Contributing Editor Donald S. Lopez, Jr. will be speaking about the history of the Buddha this Friday in New York City. The talk, titled "From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha," will touch on a number of points from his new book of the same title, which tells the story of how various idols carved in stone became the man of flesh and blood that we know today as the Buddha. This lesser-told history describes how the Buddha has never been a fixed notion in neither East nor West. The talk will take place at 92Y TriBeCa on Friday, May 31 at noon. Tickets are $21. Find more details and buy tickets here.     More »