Arts & Culture

The growing influence of Buddhist artistic expression in contemporary culture
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    Haiku for the Seasons Paid Member

    Richard Wright, Rue Jacob, Paris, 1949           I am nobody:A red sinking autumn sun          Took my name away.              —         In this rented roomOne more winter stands outside        My dirty window pane.               —         A sleepless spring night: Yearning for what I never had,        And for what never was.               — More »
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    The World Is Made of Stories Paid Member

    The American poet Muriel Rukeyser famously wrote that “the universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” We are not just animals that use language: we are storytelling creatures, for telling stories is a fundamental activity of all people in all cultures. The Canadian cognitive neuroscientist Merlin Donald expresses this well: More »
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    Welcome to Ryohoji! Paid Member

    It is a truism that Buddhism in Japan today is a tradition under pressure. Whereas in earlier centuries Buddhism represented a comprehensive cosmological, political, and literary worldview that was shared by people of all classes across the archipelago, today it is not uncommon to hear priests lamenting the decline of lay support and worrying about how the tradition can survive. Even as many temples in rural Japan prove the Buddhist dictum that nothing is eternally abiding by shutting their doors forever, others exemplify the Buddhist tenet of incessant change by ingeniously concocting new ways to weave the tradition into the daily lives of Japan’s citizens. This innovative trend is evident in a promotional campaign now six years in the running at Ryohoji, a tiny Nichiren sect temple in Hachioji, a suburb of Tokyo. More »
  • Tibet 2.0 Paid Member

    Transcending TibetThrough April 12, 2015Rogue Space, New York Tserang Dhundrup's Gold iPhone sums up the contradictions of modern urban life in Lhasa. Organizing an art show around a geographic region or ethnic group is treacherous: it can easily result in a grouping of works that otherwise have nothing in common or, worse, reinforce unwanted stereotypes. Transcending Tibet—presented by the Trace Foundation in partnership with Arthub Asia—is alert to these dangers and does a good job of avoiding most of them. More »
  • Myanmar's Cosmic Theater Paid Member

    Buddhist Art of MyanmarFebruary 10–May 10, 2015Asia Society, New York A Pyu period copper statue of a seated Buddha from the 8th or 9th century. Four years ago, Burma, now known as Myanmar, ended its decades-long isolation from much of the world. Now the Asia Society has mounted the first-ever museum show of Burmese Buddhist art in the US. The works included are fantastically varied in appearance, and for good reason. Until British rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the region comprising present-day Myanmar was a collection of separate kingdoms whose names, borders, and populations changed over the centuries. Providing a common thread among these disparate cultures was Buddhism, still practiced by 90 percent of the population of Myanmar. More »