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    Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

    A Classic Zen text written in the 8th century by Hui Hai. He was a student of Ma-tsu and from the same line as Hui Neng, Huang Po and Rinzai (Lin-chi).

  • Don't Take Your Life Personally

    Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering.

  • Perfect Wisdom: Prajnaparamita Texts

    The Short Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as The Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, The Heart Sutra, and The Diamond Sutra.

  • Fingers and Moons, by Trevor Leggett

    Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.

  • Experience Beyond Thinking: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation and the reflections of an ordinary practitioner. Used as a guide by meditation groups.

    An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.

  • Understanding Karma and Rebirth A Buddhist Perspective

    Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.

  • The Old Zen Master by Trevor Leggett

    Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.

  • Teachings of a Buddhist Monk

    Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.

A small bronze Buddha

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

Tantric shrine, disclosing Nirvana within the petals of a lotus

Gilt bronze Tibetan Chinese mandalaMandala. At the centre, a tutelary deity, Yi-dam, of buddha rank, locked in embrace with his prajna, or wisdom party. Twenty lesser divinities surround them, two or three on each petal, before circular drums or altars. Continue reading

Fudo-sama — immovable wisdom

Fudō uses his sword to cut through ignorance and his lasso to reign in those who would block the path to enlightenment. Fudō Myōō (Achala-vidyārāja)
Artwork © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fudō Myōō is the most widely represented of the Buddhist deities known as Myōō, or Kings of Brightness. A fierce protector of the Buddhist Law, he is a direct emanation of the Buddha Dainichi Nyorai, the principal Buddha of Esoteric Buddhism. The first sculptures of Fudō made in Japan were seated, but standing sculptures like this one were carved beginning in the eleventh century. Fudō uses his sword to cut through ignorance and his lasso to reign in those who would block the path to enlightenment. The heavy weight of the shoulders and back is planted firmly on the stiffened legs, appropriate for a deity whose name means the “Immovable.”

This statue, originally composed of six hollowed-out pieces of wood, was formerly the central icon of the Kuhonji Gomadō in Funasaka, twenty miles northwest of Kyoto.

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Eight Great Events from the Life of the Buddha

Stele with Eight Great Events from the Life of the Buddha

Most significant is the central Buddha touching the earth at the moment of his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, indicated by the branches above his head. Surrounding him are scenes of his life, each one associated with a north Indian pilgrimage centre. From lower left, the Buddha is miraculously born out of Maya’s side as she grasps a branch of a sala tree in the Lumbini gardens. Next is the Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath, and above that the Buddha is subduing the rampaging elephant Nalagiri. In the lowest register at right, a monkey offers honey to the Buddha, which ultimately led to his rebirth as a human, allowing him to reach enlightenment. Next the Buddha is performing miracles, though he is shown simply as a teaching Buddha, and above that the Buddha’s descent from Trayastrimsas heaven has been simplified to a standing Buddha. At the very top is the Buddha’s death at Kushinagara, marking the moment he entered nirvana. Continue reading

Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture

Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum’s collection of Chinese Buddhist and Daoist sculpture is the largest in the western world. In this lavish, comprehensive volume, archaeological discoveries and scientific testing and analysis serve as the basis for a reassessment of 120 works ranging in date from the fourth to the twentieth century, many of them previously unpublished and all of them newly and beautifully photographed. An introductory essay provides an indispensable overview of Buddhist practices and iconography—acquainting us with the panoply of past, present, and future Buddhas, bodhisattvas, monks and arhats, guardians and adepts, pilgrims and immortals—and explores the fascinating dialogue between Indian and Chinese culture that underlies the transmission of Buddhism into China.
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The Qingzhou Discoveries

In 1996 around 400 Chinese stone sculptures of the Buddha were discovered in Qingzhou, China.

Images © The State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People’s Republic of China, and © Royal Academy of Arts, London.

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