Director hopes to inspire European audiences with new play

Focus Taiwan

Director Tsai Ming-liang (left)

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Director Tsai Ming-liang’s new stage play, about a Buddhist monk from China, is to be performed in Europe, with the aim of inspiring audiences to “rethink life.”

“The Monk from the Tang Dynasty” features actor Lee Kang-sheng, Tsai’s long-term collaborator, as the renowned Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who traveled from China to India in the 7th century.

In the play, Lee either lies down or walks at an extremely slow pace on a large white paper on the stage, while painter Kao Jun-honn produces charcoal drawings on the paper.

With no dialogue or storyline, the production is Tsai’s attempt to capture the spirit of Xuanzang, who embarked on his ambitious pilgrimage to India, crossing the Gobi Desert on his way, to bring Buddhist teachings back to China.

The “slowness” of Xuanzang is what is lacking in today’s world, the Taiwan-based Malaysian film director said Tuesday. Continue reading

World Premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s THE OLDEST BOY, the reincarnation a Tibetan lama
10 April 2014

Lincoln Center Theater to Stage World Premiere of Sarah Ruhl's THE OLDEST BOY this Fall

Lincoln Center Theater will present the world premiere ofSarah Ruhl‘s new play THE OLDEST BOY this fall. The production, to be directed by Rebecca Taichman, will begin previews Thursday, October 16 and open on Monday, November 10 in the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (150 West 65 Street).

In THE OLDEST BOY, Tenzin, the toddler son of an American woman and a Tibetan man, is recognized as the reincarnation of a high Buddhist teacher. Differing cultures contend with competing ideas of faith and love when two monks seek permission to take Tenzin to a monastery in India to begin his training as a spiritual master. His parents must decide whether to send their young son away or keep him home.

Continue reading

Criminalizing Buddhist Body Art: Sri Lanka to Deport British Tourist over Buddha Tattoo

Indian Express
22nd April 2014

A 35-year-old British woman faces deportation for sporting a Buddha tattoo in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, where disrespect of the religion by foreigners is frowned upon.

The woman tourist, who has been detained, had arrived at the Colombo international airport from Mumbai yesterday morning.

“She was produced before the magistrate at Negombo who ordered her to be detained at the immigration detention centre before deportation,” a police statement said.

The tourist had an image of the Buddha seated on a lotus flower tattooed on her right arm, it said.

It was not immediately clear where the woman, who was not identified, would be deported to.

Sri Lanka is a Buddhist-majority island and the authorities remain sensitive to any disrespect of the religion by foreigners.

Last year, another British tourist was deported for a similar incident.

In 2012, at least three French tourists were handed suspended jail sentences for “inappropriate” behaviour in front of a Buddha statue.


The Art of Buddhism: Interview with Cynthia Bogel

Smith College
18 April 2014

Cynthea BogelEven as a young child, Cynthea Bogel ’80 was captivated with all things Asian—a harbinger of the life she leads now. Bogel, who specializes in Buddhist visual culture and Japanese art and architecture, is on the faculty of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, where she teaches Buddhist visual culture of East and South Asia and Japanese art history, and she is responsible for graduate seminars in the international master of arts program in Japanese humanities. On a recent visit to Smith, Bogel talked about her journey, which began with an unexplained fascination and led to a passionate career.


I have always been interested in Asia. My mom said that I used to look at the pictures of East Asia in National Geographic when I was a kid. It was somehow of interest to me for no reason; no one in the family ever talked about Asia. There’s something karmic, if that’s possible. Continue reading

Light and Sound Hope for [Odisha] Heritage Sites

Indian Express
Diana Sahu
19th April 2014

Budhhist monastery, 8-13th century, Udayagiri, Odisha, India;  photo:  Jeffrey Martin 2013

Budhhist monastery, 8-13th century, Udayagiri, Odisha, India; photo: Jeffrey Martin 2013

If things go as planned, three famed heritage sites of Odisha – Dhauli, Khandagiri-Udayagiri and Konark – may get the much-awaited light and sound shows by Dussehra this year.

The Tourism and Culture Department is in the final stage of talks with India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) to prepare the scripts and choose the background voices for 30-minute programmes which will be shown with laser technology.Though light and sound shows at these sites were being considered for a long time, it could not materialise due to various reasons. Continue reading

Buddha’s Robes: A photographic exhibition by Tobi Wilkinson

Art Almanac
16 April 2014

Buddha said, “After my death, the monks and nuns who practice vinaya will represent me.” As it is said in Tibetan common folklore when a monk misbehaves he is dragging the Buddha in the mud by tying his robe to his feet. A most important national asset for the Tibetan people, so much so it is believed that when the Buddhist teaching disappears from the surface of the universe the colour red itself will disappear.

The images in this exhibition are alive with the various free flowing movements of the robes independent of the individual personalities going about their spiritual life.

Symbols of nothingness yet capturing the invisible beauty and grace of the very foundation of Buddhism, the images encapsulate the living spirit of both art and sacred concept. Continue reading

[China] Religious venues verified to stop illegal profiteering

China Daily
By An Baijie

(Photo: Global Times/CNTV)

The State Administration for Religious Affairs published the names and locations of 6,195 verified Buddhist and Taoist monasteries on Thursday in an effort to fight illegal profits disguised as religion.

The information was posted on the administration’s website, where users can type in the name of a monastery to confirm its status.

Some nonreligious venues have employed fake monks and Taoists to accept donations from believers and tourists, and some of them even badgered tourists for money, said Liu Jinguang, spokesman for the administration. Continue reading