History

As a 2,500-year old religion, Buddhism has a rich and diverse past
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    Journey Through Holy Lands Paid Member

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    Buddhism(s)? Paid Member

    EVERYBODY KNOWS there is really no such thing as Hinduism. The name is derived from an ancient word for sea, sindhu, used also for the Indus River. Persians living to the west of the Indus modified it to hind, and used it to refer to the land of the Indus valley. Eventually, Muslims used hindu to refer to the native peoples of South Asia. It was not a term that "Hindus," however, used to refer to themselves. In the nineteenth century, officers of the British Raj began to use the word Hinduism, especially for purposes of their census, to refer to a purported system of religious beliefs and practices of non-Muslim, non-Jain, non-Sikh, non-Christian, non-Parsi, non-Jewish Indians (Buddhism had disappeared from India centuries before). More »
  • The Tripitaka Koreana Paid Member

    Nine hundred years ago, the Korean peninsula was under siege. From their northern homelands, barbarian tribes known as the Khitans raided cities and towns, laying waste to countless Korean lives. The Korean military successfully repulsed the invaders for decades, but the continued incursions forced King Hyonjong, who ruled between 1010 and 1039, to exhaust every defensive alternative. Hopelessly outnumbered and facing military instability at home, Hyonjong concluded that his kingdom’s fate lay not in his own hands but in those of a higher power. More »
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    Released from All Bounds Paid Member

    Tibetan Buddhist monk Konchog Tendzin was born Mattieu Ricard in Aix-les-Bains, France, in 1946. As a young man he trained as a classical harpsichordist and pursued interests in wildlife photography, astronomy, and animal migration. At 26 he earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology. His interest in Tibetan Buddhism began in 1967, when his friend the French filmmaker Arnaud Desjardins made a film about Himalayan Buddhist masters for French television. More »
  • The Buddha-charita Paid Member

    This installment is the second in a series of excerpts from The Buddha-charita or Life of Buddha, the first complete biography of Shakyamuni Buddha, written by the poet Ashvaghosha, probably in the first century C.E. The Buddha-charita is made up of twenty-eight songs recounting events in the Buddha’s life up to the time of his great awakening. The previous installment described Shakyamuni’s family and the events that surrounded his birth. In this episode we hear Shakyamuni’s first words and witness the arrival of Asita, the great seer, who pronounces the Buddha’s fate. This excerpt was adapted from Edward B. Cowell’s 1893 translation (Cosmo Publications, New Delhi, India). Original spellings, usages, and punctuation have been retained throughout. More »
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    Meeting the Buddha Paid Member

    The following are excerpts from Meeting the Buddha: On Pilgrimage in Buddhist India, a selection of writings by pilgrims from ancient times to the present, to be published in November by Tricycle Books (an imprint of Putnam/Riverhead). Here we have selected pieces from the sections on the pilgrimage itself and on Bodh Gaya. In a discussion with his attendant Ananda, the Buddha delineates the basis for the eight holy sites in India. Tathagata refers to the Buddha: More »