Arts & Culture

The growing influence of Buddhist artistic expression in contemporary culture
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    Yungchen Llamo Paid Member

    THERE IS A SAYING in Tibet that a beautiful voice can make a wild animal stop dead in its tracks and listen. Such a voice, and its pacifying potential, are the Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo's karma. A few days after her birth, her mother presented her to a lama who named her “Goddess of Song”. For much of her life, though, singing was just an occasional luxury. Eight years ago, she fled Chinese-occupied Tibet, trekked across the Himalayas, and arrived half-dead in Dharamsala with a single-minded quest: to see his Holiness the Dalai Lama and study the dharma. Today, she has a stunning record, “Tibet, Tibet,” on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, and a blessing from His Holiness: To fulfill her Bodhisattva Vows, he told her, she must use her voice to help spread some understanding and appreciation of Tibetan culture, as China does its best to stamp it out. More »
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    In The News Paid Member

    PAGODA SIEGEVietnam's communist government intensified its crackdown on the Unified Buddhist Church (UBC) when more than 200 armed security forces raided a 400-year-old pagoda in Hue and arrested two prominent monks there in November. The International Buddhist Information Bureau, a foreign organ of the UBC, said that the raid was part of a government plan to evict UBC monks from the Linh Mu pagoda, a treasured monument and longtime center of Buddhist activism, and place it under the charge of the state­sponsored Vietnamese Buddhist Church. Both monks arrested in the siege, Thich Hai Thinh and Thich Hai Chahn, had already served time in Vietnamese jails for supporting the UBC in a 1993 march for religious freedom. More »
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    Letters to the Editor Paid Member

    Lama Drama More »
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    Tulkus in Training Paid Member

    According to the Tibetan world view, highly evolved adepts are reborn as tulkus—children who embody a developed capacity for spiritual attainment. The search for such a gifted child is based either on the precise instructions left by the deceased, or on the signs inspired by dreams and visions, and from the intuitions of other great lamas. Tulkus are only fully recognized as such at the age of two or three years old. They are commonly enthroned at the age of four or five and usually do not enter a monastery until they are six years old. Each tulku receives a private education by one of two tutors. The child may be brought up with other tulkus but the rules vary according to each monastery. Tulkus, even as children, are given the honorific title of "Rinpoche," which means "precious one." More »
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    Seeing Buddha: A Photographic Journey Paid Member

    Monks at Paro Taktsang, the main temple complex in Paro, Bhutan, practice a traditional dance to be performed before the public during a religious ceremony. From Seeing Buddha: A Photographic Journey, a collection of over 80 images from 11 countries that aims to capture the essence of Buddhist spiritual practice. A statement from the artist David Butow: When I first began talking about this project, many people asked me, quite reasonably, whether I was a Buddhist. The answer to that question is not so simple: both “yes” and “no” and neither “yes” nor “no.” More »