India

  • The Dalai Lama’s Big Brother Paid Member

     The Noodle Maker of KalimpongBy Gyalo Thondup and Anne ThurstonPublicAffairs; April 2015301 pp.; $27.99 (Cloth) In the winter of 2001, I lived in the foothills of the Himalayas in the Darjeeling District of India, while studying under the Kagyu lama Bokar Rinpoche. Every night I looked out across the valley, with my one-year-old son and his father, to the town of Kalimpong as its electricity cut out. With so little to measure or mark our days, this became a kind of event, something we anticipated. The only thing I knew then about Kalimpong was that its egg noodles were fresh, delicious, and famous. But just how famous, I had no idea. More »
  • The Economy of Salvation Paid Member

    The incomparable loftiness of the monk figure—placid and disinterested, having renounced desire—leads many to think of Buddhism as a religion detached from all worldly concerns, especially those of economy. But Buddhism has always addressed a continuum of human flourishing and good, creating what has been referred to as an “economy of salvation.” Metaphors of economy—even of debt—abound in Buddhist texts, and in many ways Buddhism came to be fundamentally shaped by economic conditions and considerations of the era in which it originated. More »
  • A Pilgrimage Among Friends Paid Member

    Chances are you have never heard of the Kumbh Mela. Any coverage of the event on Western television is usually given short shrift, the name translated with a shrug as “The Festival of the Pot.” A crowd shot, and some mention of how many people attended, given in millions. Indians themselves record the numbers in lakh or chror—for in a country of over a billion people isn't it more useful to count in multiples of a hundred thousand or ten million? On the television screen you might see ten seconds of local color: hoards of Naga Babas, warrior ascetics with streaming dreadlocks, storming into the waters clad only in marigolds and ashes. And you think, "How exotic!" but you can have no notion of the event itself. More »
  • I And Love And Akhtar Paid Member

    Bodh Gaya, it is said, is the number one place to go to realize that you don’t need to go to Bodh Gaya. The small town in India is famous for one reason: here, the Buddha achieved spiritual enlightenment under a ficus tree some twenty-five centuries ago. Some regard the place as a spiritual mecca. But Buddhists have no mecca, strictly speaking. There are four Buddhist holy sites in the Indian subcontinent—Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar—where the Buddha was born, was enlightened, first preached, and died, respectively—but visiting any of them is non-obligatory for even the most devout people. Despite the long tradition of pilgrims journeying to these holy sites, there is nothing in the teachings mandating that Buddhists visit. More »
  • Treasury of Lives: Halloween Edition Paid Member

    Biography and autobiography in Tibet are important sources for both education and inspiration. The authors involved in the Treasury of Lives mine primary sources to provide English-language biographies of every known religious teacher from Tibet and the Himalaya, all of which are organized on their website. More »