in the footsteps of the buddha

  • 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 »
  • Pilgrims, Peace, and Politics: Lumbini, Birthplace of Gautama Buddha Paid Member

    Having traveled a day and night from India by motor scooter, train, multiple buses, and a short stint on a bicycle rickshaw, I opt to walk the last leg of the journey to Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. The twenty-two kilometers of road cross the Nepali Terai—the flat, fertile region of southern Nepal stretching from the Indian border to the Himalayan foothills. Growing most of Nepal’s food, the Terai is covered with rice fields, each bordered by small stretches of sal trees and a grid of twisted grass footpaths. Nepalese women and children with enormous bundles of rice stalks on their heads walk along the paths to granaries, where a hand- or foot-powered blower separates the rice from the shaft. The Nepali waste nothing. Piles of rice straw line the road, to be fed to animals, then used again as manure for fertilizer and kitchen fuel. 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 »