Arts & Culture

The growing influence of Buddhist artistic expression in contemporary culture
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    The Western Pure Land Paid Member

    Christmas Humphreys, a noted early English Buddhist scholar and proponent of Zen, once declared Shin "a form of Buddhism which on the face of it discards three-quarters of Buddhism. Compared with the teaching of the Pali Canon it is but Buddhism and water." In fact, Shin Buddhism is often portrayed this way by those who believe meditation practice constitutes the core teaching of Buddhism. However, comparisons with meditation actually miss the point of Shin Buddhism, which offers instead a discipline of the heart demanding deep self-reflection, constant awareness of one's gratitude to the Buddha, and compassion for all beings. More »
  • The Rabbit in the Moon Paid Member

    This tale, retold by Zen monk-poet Ryokan (c. 1758–1831), draws on an old Chinese legend of a rabbit who lives in the moon. It is one of many Jataka tales, stories of Shakyamuni Buddha’s previous lives that illustrate acts of selflessness.  It took place in a world long long ago they say: a monkey, a rabbit, and a fox struck up a friendship, mornings frolicking field and hill, evenings coming home to the forest, living thus while the years went by, when Indra, sovereign of the skies, hearing of this, curious to know if it was true, turned himself into an old man, tottering along, made his way to where they were. “You three,” he said, “are of separate species, More »
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    In The News Paid Member

    Change Your MindChange Your Mind (CYM), Tricycle’s second annual day of meditation in Central Park, opened with a surprising and auspicious event: a white heron flying above the grassy slopes of Mineral Springs Hill. Only after it circled twice, on the morning of June 4, did Michele Laporte hit a large Japanese temple gong 108 times to formally open a day in which meditation teachers from various Buddhist traditions gave introductory talks and led the participants in silent sitting and Buddhist chanting. CYM is designed to introduce meditation practices in a friendly public setting, free of charge. Participants are encouraged to relax and enjoy the event in whichever way works best for them. More »
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    Letter to the Schools of the Buddha Paid Member

    On April 15, 1925, the French founder of the Theatre of the Absurd, Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) published his "Letter to the Schools of the Buddha" in the third issue of La Revolution Surrealiste. In the same issue were addresses to the Dalai Lama and the Pope and a "Letter to the Directors of Insane Assylums." The issue was subtitled "1925: End of the Christian Era."Read in the context of the artistic movement from which it came, Artaud's "Letter" is less an espousal of Buddhist ideas than an expression of dissatisfaction with the materialism of modern society. That dissatisfaction, in turn, led many artists and intellectuals to embrace Buddhism in the twenties and thirties, when gradually the actual teachings of Buddhism came more to the fore. More »
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    A Sangha by Another Name Paid Member

    The black experience in America, like the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, begins with suffering. It begins in the violence of seventeenth-century slave forts sprinkled along the west coast of Africa, where debtors, thieves, war prisoners, and those who would not convert to Islam were separated from their families, branded, and sold to Europeans who packed them into pestilential ships that cargoed 20 million human beings (a conservative estimate) to the New World. Only 20 percent of those slaves survived the harrowing voyage at sea (and only 20 percent of the sailors, too), and if they were among the lucky few to set foot on American soil new horrors and heartbreak awaited them. More »
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    In The News Paid Member

    TIBET OR NOT TIBETAt the U.N.'s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing this past September and the parallel Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) Forum in the suburb of Huairou several issues had delegates and Chinese officials toe to toe. Not the least of these was the issue of Tibetan sovereignty. On September 1, as the rain fell over dozens of supporters, nine Tibetan women held a silent protest. With scarves tied over their mouths, they stood holding hands for…At the U.N.'s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing this past September and the parallel Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) Forum in the suburb of Huairou several issues had delegates and Chinese officials toe to toe. Not the least of these was the issue of Tibetan sovereignty. More »