January 22, 2009
Some beautiful photos of Chinese Buddhas from a Herald-Trib piece on an exhibition in Singapore. The one at right is said to be from the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-77 CE).
"Serenity in Stone: The Qingzhou Discovery," an exhibition of 35 sculptures now at the Peranakan Museum in Singapore, highlights the rapid stylistic change in representing the Buddha that took place over a 50-year period when the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534) disintegrated and gave rise to the Eastern Wei dynasty (534-550) and Northern Qi dynasty (550-577). Scholars estimate that about 90 percent of the stone sculptures uncovered on the former site of the Longxing Temple in Qingzhou, China, were carved between 529 and 577.
The Northern Wei rulers were strong supporters of Buddhism, although the original Buddhist teachings from India had been combined with Chinese culture and beliefs (notably Taoism and Confucianism). Buddhist art flourished and developed distinctly Chinese characteristics, most evident in the Chinese-like facial features and the figures' garments, which were similar to the robes of Chinese scholars with a rhythmic design of the folds.
A Zencast at examiner.com on Karma and the economy. The author writes:
I often feel that meditation, Buddhism and all things Zen, get an unfair rap by those that don't understand the philosophy.
First, Buddhism is not a religion or a cult as many people tag it. It is indeed a philosopy and a practice, but there is no dogma attached. You can be an Athiest, Christian, Muslim, Jew or any other and still seek Zen.
There are many different tecniques and teachers, but the basic one is sitting quietly and paying attention to your breath. Now if you think that's a cult, then my friend, "they" have taught you to be afraid you.
Many paths, one dharma.
Barbara O'Brien and Molly De Shong both discuss the film "Chandni Chowk to China" and the trouble it's having in Nepal. (It places in India some major Buddhist sites that are actually in Nepal, among other things.)
And finally Justin at American Buddhist Perspective has a Karen Armstrong TED talk on compassion.
[Image: Shandong Provincial Museum]