All The Keys, by Trevor Leggett

Enko-ji's (圓光寺) 'Four Seasons' (四季草花図 -Shikisokazu) Fusuma (襖) painted by Watanabe Akio. @KyotoDailyPhotoIn the great house of the personality, with it’s attics and lofts and cellars there are some rooms which are habitually used, some which are seldom used, some which are avoided, and some which are locked with no access at all. Yoga training at first includes getting used to some of the less frequented rooms and learning to use what is in them. As it progresses the house owner finds he is able to go somewhere that he has avoided, and he will occasionally find some little treasure there. Continue reading

Buddha’s Word: The Life of Books in Tibet and Beyond

Buddha’s Word: The Life of Books in Tibet and Beyond
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, England
Wednesday 28 May 2014 – Saturday 17 January 2015

Fragments of rare twelfth-century illuminated Tibetan texts from Keu Lhakang Temple

Scattered fragments of rare twelfth-century illuminated Tibetan texts from Keu Lhakang Temple, Central Tibet – before being digitised, restored and re-ordered.
Photograph by Psang Wangdu, 2002

Buddha’s Word is the first museum exhibition of Tibetan material in Cambridge. It is also the first time in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’s history that its Buddhist collections will be showcased in an exhibition. Continue reading

Pointers to the Ultimate, by Ajahn Sumedho

Welcoming Descent of Amida and BodhisattvasIn any religion there is the exoteric side — the tradition and forms, scriptures, ceremonies and disciplines—and the esoteric, which is the essential nature of that. So, in much of what we call religion, the emphasis is really on the external form. And of course this can be variable. There is no one external form that is totally right, making all the others inferior to it. The aim of a religion is to point to the truth or the deathless reality, immortality, or in Christianity to God. But what is God? If God is a being, then that’s a condition. If God is something that comes and goes, arises and ceases, then God is not an ultimate reality. So God must also mean ultimate, that which religion points to, that which is immortal and ultimately real and truth. God in Christianity is personified in the Trinitarian structure in which there is God the Father (the patriarchal form) and the Logos or the Word of God, where God’s Word was expressed through Jesus Christ. These are the traditional beliefs and the exoteric form of, say, Christianity. Continue reading

The Saving Lie, No Lie, by Trevor Leggett

Hill of '100 steps',  Shinryu-sha (神龍社).  @KyotoDailyPhotoLying is forbidden in the classical ethics of Buddhism, and in the Indian spiritual traditions generally. There are subtle discussions on whether mere silence can be a lie, and also whether a formally correct statement is a lie when it is known that it will be misunderstood. There is an historical incident from the period of the wars in Japan, which highlights some of these points.

After a battle a fugitive fled into a Zen temple and the priest hid him under the floor boards of one of the buildings. Continue reading

Maha Prajnaparamita Sutra – Tangut Manuscript

PrajnaparamitaFrom The Tangut Collection

Khara-khoto, 10th-13th century
Buddhist religious texts.
Institute of Oriental Manuscripts
Kozlov expedition 1909-1910.
BL #endangeredarchives @bl_eap

The Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā  (25,000 lines), Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā (8,000 lines), Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, Heart Sutra, and Diamond Sutra.

The Tangut kingdom is one of the great lost civilisations of Asia. The kingdom, also known as Westen Xia, came to prominence in the 11th century and flourished until the early 13th century, when it was crushed by the armies of Genghis Khan. In that brief span, the Tanguts invented a new script, translated thousands of texts into their language, and pioneered the use of print technology, including moveable type. See more at: Tangut Manuscripts from St Petersburg Continue reading

We can always start anew, by Ajahn Sumedho

The bodhisattva Jizō. Metropolitan Museum of ArtWhen something unpleasant happens, or something bad, if we say, ‘Well, you know, that’s the way it is . . . !’ that’s not Suchness. That’s just a cynical statement. ‘Life is pretty horrible and that’s the way it is. Just got to put up with it.’ That’s like resignation to misery. It isn’t Suchness; unless, of course, you see the Suchness of that particular attitude.

Or, when we regard the past as something that is very real, we may think, ‘Ten years I’ve been a monk,’ ‘Twenty-eight, twenty-nine, years I’ve been a monk.” That is conventional reality, but it is also thinking of ourselves as having been something for twenty-eight years. That is just a memory; it is perception in the present. When you really look at it, there is not a person any more, there is just a memory in the present. Continue reading

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