in the footsteps of the buddha

  • City of Screams Paid Member

    In February 2001, Mullah Omer, leader of the Taliban, issued his infamous decree: all pre-Islamic art in Afghanistan was to be destroyed, including the two great Buddhas carved into the sandstone cliffs of Bamiyan. When Rob Schultheis began this article—a history of the ancient monument and the people who built it—the Buddhas were still standing.The first historical account of the Buddhas of Bamiyan—the larger of which is said to have been the tallest Buddha in the world—comes to us from 632 C.E., in the words of the great Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Tsang. Hsuan was in the midst of an epic ten-thousand-mile trek along the Silk Road, to the westernmost outposts of the Buddhist world. Much of what is now Afghanistan consisted of small Buddhist kingdoms then, but the countryside was wild and lawless. Hsuan writes of narrow, precipitous trails, of snowdrifts twenty to thirty feet deep, of demon-haunted passes and murderous bands of robbers. More »
  • Khunu Rinpoche, A Bridge Between Sects and Spiritual Traditions Paid Member

    Khunu Rinpoche Tendzin Gyaltsen has been called a bodhisattva and saint by those who knew him. His knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism was so superior that he came to be accepted by lamas of different schools as one of the greatest Tibetan lamas of his time. Yet he was not ethnically Tibetan and was known as the “Precious One from Kinnaur,” referring to his birthplace in northern India. Throughout his life from 1895 to 1977, Khunu Rinpoche taught and studied with some of the masters of the twentieth century as he traveled through India, Tibet, Nepal, and Sikkim—Sanskrit pandits in Benares, Hindu scholars in Varanasi, Tibetan lamas in Sikkim, Tibetan philosophy scholars at Sera Monastery in Lhasa. His concerns, interests, and impact transcended sectarian, political, linguistic, and national borders. More »
  • Siddhartha Paid Member

    I have not only occasionally made a confession of belief in essays, but once, a little more than ten years ago, attempted to set forth my belief in a book. This book is called Siddhartha. —Hermann Hesse, “My Belief,” 1931 More »
  • A Footprint on the Shore Paid Member

    Inspired, illuminated, she crouches on Lo-chia Island, a tiny dollop of land in the restless brown waters of the South China Sea. She hunkers down and springs above the waves, her white robes billowing, winglike, behind her, one strand of glistening black hair falling on her neck from her tightly wound bun, her eyes beaming forward at the green hills of Putuo Island. One foot strikes the shore with such force that it sinks into the rock, making a footprint. She is home. More »