Review

  • Who hijacked Himalayan art? Or any art, for that matter? Paid Member

    Himalayan Art Resources (HAR) is the most comprehensive collection of Himalayan art available, much of it Buddhist. For years now, Jeff Watt, HAR's director, has been exhorting us to understand and critique Himalayan art on its own merit—much as we might consider, say, a Fra Angelico—and rescue it from the theory-laden university art history departments. For support, Jeff refers us to to an article in yesterday's New York Times, in which Laurence Kantner, an expert in early Italian painting and former curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has this to say: More »
  • BOOKS: Hard Travel to Sacred Places Paid Member

    A good travel book makes you feel like you’re there. But, of course, in reality you’re not there. The experiences described belong to the writer, and if you were to travel to the places mentioned your experiences would be unique. This might be especially important to keep in mind when reading spiritual travel books, when the journey is a pilgrimage. Just as we have not physically been to the place that we are reading about, we should be wary to mistake the spiritual insights (or longings) of an author for our own. Travel books are great, but they can’t replace traveling. More »
  • Blogwatch: Musings Paid Member

    I recommend checking out Musings by author, teacher, translator—and blogger—Ken McLeod.  An excellent teacher, McLeod does just this in the vast majority of his blog: He teaches.  Through simple practice tips and personal reflections, McLeod strikes an impressive balance between simplicity and depth which makes his blogs both instantly accessible as well as very useful.  It is very practice-oriented and can serve as a great online resource for any regular meditator with an internet connection. More »
  • Cool Tibetan tattoos, the challenges of displaying religious art, and a nice life Paid Member

    Jeff Watt over at Jeff's Travels points us to Yoni Zilber's Tibetan-themed tattoos. It's one way to view Tibetan art, and another is to visit the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art in the nation's capital ("In the Realm of the Buddha," through July 18). I've often talked to Jeff about the role of art in Buddhism and he has often complained that stripped of its connection to practice, religious objects are rendered pretty meaningless. More »
  • World Cup 2010 Paid Member

    Back in 2007, three years before professional soccer teams were set to descend on South Africa's cities, 2010 World Cup fever was already taking hold. In Cape Town, where I was living at the time, billboards, posters, and television ads encouraged South Africans to keep the cities clean and safe in preparation for their 2010 visitors and hotels and restaurants had begun remodeling in anticipation of the hordes of fans. It will be the first World Cup to be held on the African continent, and South Africa—whose political, social, and financial troubles are well documented—has a lot riding on the month-long event. Now, two days before the ref's whistle signals the start of the first game between South Africa and Mexico, World Cup madness has reached a hysterical pitch—both within the host country and in the far-flung corners of the globe. More »