A small bronze Buddha

This small bronze Buddha (16.8 cm) is probably one of the earliest iconic representations of Shakyamuni from Gandhara.

Buddha is probably one of the earliest iconic representations of Shakyamuni from GandharaThis small bronze Buddha (16.8 cm) is probably one of the earliest (1st to mid-2nd century) iconic representations of Shakyamuni from Gandhara. He sits in a yogic posture holding his right hand in abhaya mudra (a gesture of approachability); his unusual halo has serrations that indicate radiating light. His hairstyle, the form of his robes, and the treatment of the figure reflect stylistic contacts with the classical traditions of the West. This Buddha shows closer affinities to Roman sculpture than any other surviving Gandharan bronze.

Click on an image below to view larger photo.

© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, by The Dalai Lama

Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfils the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfils the wishes of sentient beings.

Shadakshari Lokeshvara is the bodhisattva of compassion (Avalokiteshvara)It is beneficial to recite the mantra om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking of its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first, om, is composed of three letters, a, u, and m. These symbolise the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolise the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

Can impure body, speech, and mind be transformed into the pure, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of beings who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving impure states and their being transformed into the pure. Continue reading “The Mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, by The Dalai Lama”

Nibbana, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Speaking like this you will soon be accusing me of giving you a big sales pitch. Don’t think of me as someone hawking the wares of the Buddha in the marketplace, think rather that we are all companions in Dukkha, in birth, old age, sickness and death…

Buddha Offering Protection, Sri Lanka, mid-15th–16th century. © Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe meaning of the word Nibbana clearly extends to the absence of mental defilements the cause of Dukkha. So that at any moment that our minds are empty of ‘self’ and ‘belonging to self’ then that is Nibbana. For example, at this moment as you sit here I will attest that everyone, or almost everyone, has a mind empty of the feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ because there is nothing engendering them. In listening attentively you give no opportunity for self – consciousness to arise. So look and see whether or not the mind is empty of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. If there is some emptiness (and I merely use the word some, it’s not comp­letely or unchangingly empty) then you are dwelling within the sphere of Nibbana. Even though it is not absolute or perfect Nibbana, it is Nibbana just the same. Continue reading “Nibbana, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu”

Gathering of Intentions: A History of a Tibetan Tantra

When the tantras first arrived in Tibet, Tibetans were slow to compose full-blown commentaries on these esoteric works…

The Gathering of Intentions, cover.The Gathering of Intentions reads a single Tibetan Buddhist ritual system through the movements of Tibetan history, revealing the social and material dimensions of an ostensibly timeless tradition. By subjecting tantric practice to historical analysis, the book offers new insight into the origins of Tibetan Buddhism, the formation of its canons, the emergence of new lineages and ceremonies, and modern efforts to revitalize the religion by returning to its mythic origins. Continue reading “Gathering of Intentions: A History of a Tibetan Tantra”

Cold Mountain: Chinese poet Han Shan

Han Shan wrote poems for everyone, not just the educated elite. A man free of spiritual doctrine, it is unclear whether or not he was a monk, whether he was a Buddhist or a Taoist, or both. It is not even certain he ever lived, but the poems do. Short film (about 30 minutes)

Cold Mountain is a film portrait of the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Han Shan, a.k.a. Cold Mountain. Recorded on location in China, America and Japan, Burton Watson, Red Pine, and Gary Snyder describe the poet’s life and poems.

Han Shan

Short film (about 30 minutes)

Han Shan wrote poems for everyone, not just the educated elite. A man free of spiritual doctrine, it is unclear whether or not he was a monk, whether he was a Buddhist or a Taoist, or both. It is not even certain he ever lived, but the poems do.

Children, I implore you
get out of the burning house now.
Three carts await outside
to save you from a homeless life.
Relax in the village square
before the sky, everything’s empty.
No direction is better or worse,
East just as good as West.
Those who know the meaning of this
are free to go where they want.

Red Pine poem 253

Directed by Mike Hazard and Deb Wallwork, the music is by Gao Hong and animations are by John Akre. For more, visit Center for International Education.

The film will engage people interested in poetry, China, Zen, Taoism and other spiritual pursuits.

For more from Red Pine (Bill Porter) click here.

Season’s Greetings from all of us at Buddhism Now and BPG!

Season’s Greetings from all of us at Buddhism Now and BPG!

Season’s Greetings from all of us at Buddhism Now and BPG!

Sadaksari-Lokeshvara Surrounded by Manifestations and Monks (Avalokiteshvara) C15th, Tibet. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo: Sadaksari-Lokeshvara (Avalokiteshvara) Surrounded by Manifestations and Monks C15th, Tibet. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This painting represents the “six-syllables form” of Avalokiteshvara, evoking the mantra om mani padme hum. Surrounding him are bodhisattvas, an array of protectors, and a lineage of monks. This manifestation of Avalokiteshvara is especially associated with the Dalai Lama, who is understood as an incarnation of this form. Sadasari is conventionally white, though here is represented all gold, the most radiant of colours.