The purpose of the Dharma, Art and what Mark Rothko is pointing at

From videodharma.org, a “Vidyadaka talk about the purpose of the Dharma, Art and what Mark Rothko is pointing at.”

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Film Review: ‘So Be It’

sobeitVariety
OCTOBER 28, 2014 | 12:55PM PT

A gentle, fascinating documentary about the central role of Buddhism in Thai society.

Richard Kuipers
A fascinating documentary about the role of Buddhism in Thai society, “So Be It” follows the experiences of two young boys learning about life through close contact with the faith. Made by the high-profile indie team of helmer Kongdej Jaturanrasmee (“P-047”) and producer Soros Sukhum (“Wonderful Town,” “36”), this accessible item deserves to find an audience locally and is worth the attention of fest programmers and specialty offshore outlets. Pic will receive a limited theatrical release in Bangkok on Oct. 30.

Continuing his interest in projects made on a much smaller scale than the commercial hits he’s scripted or co-written (“Tom Yum Goong,” 2005; “Happy Birthday,” 2008), Jaturanrasmee gives viewers who may know little or nothing about Buddhism a helping hand in the opening segs. It begins with footage of Thai school teachers telling students why Buddhism is important, and explaining the basic principles of self-control and respect for others. This is followed by a voiceover narrator relaying an illustrated version of the story of Sakka and Puri, monks who left their homes to gain knowledge of the physical and spiritual worlds. The documentary returns to this tale occasionally to draw meaningful parallels with the progress of its subjects.

Introduced first is Sorawit William Caudullo (hereafter called William), a Thai-American 7-year-old who became a social-media star after appearing on “Samanean Pruk Panya,” a reality TV show following boys participating in the Buddhist ritual in which heads are shaved, monk robes are donned and the first formal Buddhist study is undertaken. Since finishing his lessons, William has expressed a desire to learn more about Buddhism; he’s taken by his approving parents to a temple in far-north Thailand to visit monk Sanan Titameto, the teacher he met and admired during production of the TV show. Continue reading

Tampering with ancient statues at Jualian stupa alleged

 A worker reconstructs the face of Buddha at the Jaulian stupa. — Dawn

A worker reconstructs the face of Buddha at the Jaulian stupa. — Dawn

DAWN.com
By Amjad Iqbal

TAXILA: The archaeology department Taxila has started tampering with centuries-old Buddha statues at the Jualian stupa, sources in the department told Dawn.

The site is enlisted on the Unesco world cultural heritage list, giving it an international recognition.

The sources said without taking an approval from the international organisations, the officials had initiated a “restoration and preservation” project by hiring private labourers to fix newly-made heads on the statues of the Buddha. The original heads were removed and placed in the Taxila Museum more than eight decades ago.

The sources added that the officials had hired private masons who were using plaster of Paris for placing the new heads on the Budha’s statues. Originally, these heads were made of stucco, they added. Continue reading

Fire in the sky

A young Shan girl performs the King Kala Bird dance.

A young Shan girl performs the King Kala Bird dance.

PHOOWADON DUANGMEE
THE NATION October 15, 2014 1:00 am

Shan-speaking communities in Mae Sariang celebrate the end of the Buddhist Retreat in a colourful way

Like many ceremonies across Thailand, Ohk Wah is all about the Lord Buddha. According to the scriptures, he visited his mother in heaven for three months over the Buddhist Lent or Vassa and when he returned to earth, both men and creatures rejoiced at the news of his arrival.

“The King Kala bird, a half-bird, half-woman, was the first to see the Lord Buddha returning,” begins Praphan Wiriyaphab – a Shan “wise man” from the small town of Mae Sariang in Mae Hong Son province.

“A bird of joy, she performed a beautiful dance for the Lord Buddha in order to show her respect.

These days the Shan people do more than just dance to demonstrate their respect and display their beliefs. They mark the “arrival” of the Lord Buddha, which coincides with the end of Buddhist Lent, with a three-day festival that brings light and colour to this remote backwater close to the border with Myanmar.

“Ohk Wah” as it is known in the Shan language or Ohk Phansa in Thai, was held last week and drew visitors, both local and foreign, to admire this annual showcase of Shan culture.

“The celebration was far more humble 100 or so years back,” Praphan adds. “Back then, the locals put up altars made of bamboo in front of their house. They would craft lanterns and hang them along the altars.

“They kept the firewood burning all during the night as they waited for the arrival of a respected Buddhist monk to whom they would present alms.”

Continue reading

India-UK sign MoU to enhance cultural cooperation

Shripad Naik, India’s minister of state for culture and Sajid Javed, UK’s secretary in the department of culture, media and sport signed the memorandum of understanding in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

Shripad Naik, India’s minister of state for culture and Sajid Javed, UK’s secretary in the department of culture, media and sport signed the memorandum of understanding in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

The two countries will collaborate in museums, libraries, archaeology, performing arts, capacity building programs and skill development

Moulishree Srivastava

New Delhi: India and the UK on Wednesday agreed to enhance cultural cooperation over a period of five years. The two countries will collaborate in museums, libraries, archaeology, performing arts, capacity building programs, skill development, joint publications, archives, cinematography and literature.

Shripad Naik, India’s minister of state for culture and Sajid Javed, UK’s secretary in the department of culture, media and sport signed the memorandum of understanding in New Delhi on Wednesday. Under the partnership, both governments will develop conservation policies, apply conservation techniques and training, digitize and improve records management practices and conserve built heritage, besides forming a collaboration between Indian National Museum and the British Museum, the ministry of culture said in a statement.

The agreement also includes preservation of monuments and Buddhist heritage, infrastructure development at archaeological sites and enhanced people-to-people contact through festivals of India abroad. The alliance also seeks to promote tourism, improve records management in government as well as give a boost to the National Mission on Manuscripts, an autonomous organization under the ministry of culture, which was established in 2003 to survey, locate and conserve Indian manuscripts.

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Spiritual synthesis

The Buddhist monks of Sherabling and Kathak dancers perform together for “Shunyata”

The Buddhist monks of Sherabling and Kathak dancers perform together for “Shunyata”

The Asian Age

Oct 03, 2014 – Garima Nagpal

Grammy award-winning Buddhist monks of the Sherabling monastic seat, celebrated worldwide for their Tibetan chants and dances were recently in the capital to perform in collaboration with Shovana Narayan, fusing their music with Kathak to narrate the philosophies of Hinduism and Buddhism together.

The monastery of 12th Kenting Tai Situpa, a renowned Buddhist master, consists of thousands of Buddhist monks out of whom 16 were selected to be a part of this collaborative dance and music production, entitled “Shunyata”. The professional dance and chant guru of the monastery took care of the selection process, bringing together monks from diverse age groups, ranging from 17 to 47. Visually, from the audience’s point of view, their dance form is unlike any other. It is a part of the meditation and visualisation through which they attempt to destroy defiance and negative energies.

“The costume and the rituals attached to Buddhism and Kathak are still the same as they were centuries ago, when the two were first born. ‘Shunyata’ brings together the two philosophies they represent into one phenomenon,” says Gyalton Rinpoche, one of the monks from the Sherabling monastery.

The performance that finally took place, comprised four dancers and six musicians and the visual was breathtaking. The younger lot of the monks, aged between 17 and 21 accomplished high jumps and back flips with astounding ease. Continue reading

Shovana Narayan teamed up with the Grammy Award-winning Buddhist monks for a recent dance and music production in Delhi

Nidhi Sethi | Oct 7, 2014, 12.00AM IST

One of the monks plays a didgeridoo-like instrument, one of many they traditionally use in prayer

Kathak exponent Shovana Narayan teamed up with the Grammy Award-winning Buddhist monks of the Palpung Sherab Ling Monastic Seat for a recent dance and music production that left the audience awed.

The production spoke of the quest and fears of individuals, through the life and experiences of Emperor Ashoka, without using any words, purely through music and emotions. “The monks and I worked on the music and the theme, and incorporated episodes from Emperor Ashoka’s life – how he came to the ultimate realization that ego is the ultimate destroyer and how we have to let go of our ego to attain ananda and reach a state of harmony,” said Narayan.

Naresh Kapuria, the artistic director of the production, who created the set for the evening at Kamani Auditorium, said, “If you believe in something, everything falls in place. You just have to have the right intentions.”

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