History

As a 2,500-year old religion, Buddhism has a rich and diverse past
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    Ta-mo's Fighting Monks Paid Member

    In the sixth century the Indian monk Bodhidharma took up residence at the Chinese temple of Shao-lin, where he introduced Dhyana Buddhism, the Indian school of meditation that in time gave rise to Chinese Ch'an (Zen). Since then, both the man and the monastery have been subjects of widespread rumor and speculation. Bodhidharma's teachings at Shao-lin are believed to have inspired or created a formidable band of fighting monks who, even after a lapse of some 1,400 years, constitute the best-known and most influential of such groups in the entire history of martial arts. More »
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    In the News Paid Member

    FIRST PRIZE When Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest in Rangoon for the past two years, was named the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the news triggered massive protests against the repressive regime in Burma. Universities were shut down when students demonstrated for Aung San Suu Kyi's release and, in a plea for world attention, Buddhist monks took to the streets carrying big signs in English to, "Free the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize." (Read the review of Freedom from Fear, a collection of essays by Aung San Suu Kyi).MASS GRAVE FOR MONGOLIAN MONKS More »
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    Saved by History Paid Member

    By her own account, Elaine Pagels is “incorrigibly religious.” For her, the historical study of religion is a passionate pursuit, one that engages the whole of one’s being. The Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University, Pagels is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost scholars of the history of early Christianity. Indeed, it would not be an overstatement to say that she has forever altered how we understand the historical foundations of Christian tradition. In the process, she has eloquently demonstrated how understanding humankind’s religious past can pave the way for a more inclusive and open-minded understanding of religious life today. More »
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    Modern Buddhism: So New, So Familiar Paid Member

    By seven o’clock on the morning of August 26, 1873, a crowd of some five thousand had gathered around a raised platform in the town of Panadure outside of Colombo, Ceylon—what is now Sri Lanka. On one side of the platform stood a table covered in white cloth and adorned with evergreens. This was the side occupied by the Christian party and its spokesman, Rev. David de Silva. The other side, more richly decorated, was filled by some two hundred Buddhist monastics and their spokesman, a monk named Gunananda. For the next two days, that platform would be the sparring ground for a heated debate over which religion would liberate the people of Ceylon: Buddhism or Christianity. More »
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    Romancing the Buddha Paid Member

    Was the Buddha really saying what we think he was? Thanissaro Bhikkhu explains how nineteenth-century Romanticism and modern psychology have shaped—and perhaps distorted—our understanding of the Buddha’s teachings.   More »
  • Homelessness Into Home Paid Member

    India in the sixth century B.C.E. was especially alive with religious adepts going about their business alone or in the company of others. But monastic institutions as we know them, did not exist then, nor did monasteries exist in Buddhism during the Buddha’s lifetime. The pre-Buddhist ideal of the world-renouncing mendicant is already acknowledged in the legend of the “four-signs” which leads to Prince Siddhartha’s renunciation: after seeing examples of old age, sickness, and death,…India in the sixth century B.C.E. was especially alive with religious adepts going about their business alone or in the company of others. But monastic institutions as we know them, did not exist then, nor did monasteries exist in Buddhism during the Buddha’s lifetime. More »