History

As a 2,500-year old religion, Buddhism has a rich and diverse past
  • Tricycle Community 68 comments

    The Scientific Buddha Paid Member

    According to Buddhist doctrine, there can be only one buddha for each historical age. A new buddha appears in the world only when the teachings of the previous buddha have been completely forgotten, with no remnant—a text, a statue, the ruins of a pagoda, or even a reference in a dictionary—remaining. Because the teachings of Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha—that is, our Buddha—remain present in the world, we have no need for a new buddha. But in the 19th century, a new buddha suddenly appeared in the world, a buddha who is not mentioned in any of the prophecies. What he taught is said to be compatible with modern science, and so I call him the Scientific Buddha. Today, the Scientific Buddha is often mistaken for Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha, the real Buddha. But they are not the same. And this case of mistaken identity has particular consequences for those who seek to understand and practice the teachings of Gautama Buddha. More »
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    What's at Stake as the Dharma Goes Modern? Paid Member

    In the summer of 2010, I sat a Dzogchen retreat at Garrison Institute with my teacher, a well-known Tibetan lama. He gave teachings during the day and then in the evening handed the microphone over to several academic luminaries who were also attending. In the morning and afternoon we received instructions on attaining buddhahood; in the evenings we heard lectures on how Buddhism’s contact with the West was leading to cutting-edge advances in brain-science research, medicine, and psychology. More »
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    What the Buddha Thought Paid Member

    Dr. Richard Gombrich has spent much of his life studying Buddhism, but he does not call himself a Buddhist. The only child of two educated and broadminded parents, he was brought up to hold humanistic values, notably reason, and to look on religion as irrational and best left alone. He became a historian like his father, Ernst Gombrich, and since his father seemed to have Europe well covered in his work, the younger Gombrich turned to Asia, specifically India. He learned Sanskrit and Pali, and encountered the ideas of the Buddha in his reading. Having decided early on that he was an atheist, yet following his parents in placing a high value on morality, Gombrich was drawn to Buddhism because, he says, “it is atheistic and also emphasizes ethics.” More »
  • Tricycle Community 67 comments

    Occupy Buddhism Paid Member

    Marx’s Revenge More »
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    Buddhism and Religious Diversity Paid Member

    It is a fact that we live in a religiously diverse world. Religious diversity can and often does result in grave misunderstanding, hostility, and, as we know all too well, conflict, with unacceptable costs to human life and well-being. For this reason, among others, it is incumbent on responsible people to know how to think clearly and compassionately about religious diversity. For Buddhists, it is important in thinking about such issues to use Buddhist tools and views, lest our attitudes and actions simply reflect the biases and reactions we have absorbed from the surrounding culture. More »