Arts & Culture

The growing influence of Buddhist artistic expression in contemporary culture
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    In The News Paid Member

    Murder in Dharamsala On February 5, 1997, three Tibetans were murdered on the campus of the Buddhist School of Dialectics, close to the Dalai Lama’s residence in McLeod Ganj, near Dharamsala, India. The victims were the founder and principal of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Venerable Lobsang Gyatso, age 70, and two of his students, Lobsang Ngawang, 25, and Ngawang Latto, 23. All three were reportedly killed with sharp weapons. Lobsang Gyatso died at the scene of the crime. The two monks were rushed to a nearby hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries. More »
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    Tantric Art: Then And Now Paid Member

    For over a thousand years, Tibetan society steadily absorbed the artistic and cultural influences of neighboring lands, developing a unique artistic tradition that flourished until the Chinese invasion in 1959. Between the eighth and twelfth centuries, Tibet became the direct inheritor of the various Vajrayana traditions of India, which represented the ultimate flowering of Indian Buddhist culture. From its southern neighbors, Tibet took on the ancient artistic traditions of the Pala dynasty of eastern India and the ingenious skills of the Newar craftsmen of Nepal’s Kathmandu valley. From the west and north Tibet was exposed to the styles of Kashmir, Khotan, and central Asia, while from the east came the stylistic influences of Chinese art. More »
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    Mind is Shapely, Art is Shapely Paid Member

    GARY SNYDER asked his teacher Oda Sesso Roshi, "Sometimes I write poetry, is that all right?" Oda laughed and said, "It's all right as long as it comes out of your true self." He also said, "You know, poets have to play a lot, asobi." The word asobi has the implication of wandering the bars and pleasure quarters. For a few years while doing Zen practice around Kyoto, Snyder quit writing poetry. It didn't bother him. His thought was, Zen is serious, poetry is not serious. In 1966, just before Oda Roshi died, he spoke with him in the hospital. He said, "Roshi! So it's Zen is serious, poetry is not serious." Oda replied "No, no, poetry is serious! Zen is not serious." More »
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    The Mystery of Doubt Paid Member

    Spalding Gray, a writer, actor, and performer, has created a series of fourteen monologues which have been performed throughout the United States, Europe and Australia, including Sex and Death to the Age 14; Booze, Cars and College Girls; A Personal History of the American Theater; India and After (America); Monster in a Box; Gray’s Anatomy; and the OBIE Award-winning Swimming to Cambodia. More »
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    Black Teapot Paid Member

    When I say “the black teapot” I’m surprised that everyone knows what I’m talking about. So little of it is black. And yet you and I know which teapot I mean. We’ve agreed to call this thing a black teapot. If you ask me to get the black teapot from the kitchen, chances are I won’t come back empty-handed saying that there was a black teapot until I turned the light on and then it went away. If I were clever I’d turn the light off and grab it while it was still black. But halfway down the hall to your room I’d pass a light and it would no longer be black. Yet being persistent I’d put it into a pillowcase and if it stayed there it stayed black. More »
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    "Spirituality" Versus "Religion" Paid Member

    I am concerned about the relationship between “spirituality” and “religion” and the way those terms are being used because it’s become increasingly common for spirituality to indirectly denigrate religion. People used to make a distinction between religion and religious institutions, and that is a valid distinction. But then spirituality came along, and everything spiritual was good and everything to do with religion was bad. Religion became equated with dogmatism and moralism. Of course, there are institutional problems with religions. There’s not a single institution that doesn’t have a dark side. Would you dispense with learning because of the institutional problems of universities? More »