08th March 2014
India’s Ambassador to South Korea Vishnu Prakash (centre) holding the sacred sapling from India’s Bodhi Tree. | IANS
South Korea, almost a quarter of whose population of 50 million are Buddhists, has received a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree from India’s Bodh Gaya town, a fulfilment of an offer Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made to South Korean President Park Geun-hye, as a special gesture of India’s friendship and goodwill, when she visited India in January this year.
The sapling, carried by representatives of India’s external affairs ministry and the forest service of South Korea, was received at Seoul airport Friday by Vishnu Prakash, India’s ambassador to South Korea, Jeong Byeongwho, deputy director general of South Korea’s foreign ministry, and Lee Chang-jae, director general of the Korean Forest Service, according to a press statement issued by the Indian embassy in Seoul.
The sapling will be temporarily housed at the Korea National Arboretum and, in due course, shifted to its permanent abode at a prominent Buddhist temple in this country to enable Buddhists to pay their respects, something that is being seen as yet another “powerful symbol” of India-South Korea friendship and close people-to-people ties.
Golden Visions of Densatil: A Tibetan Buddhist Monastery A 15th-century panel of goddesses is featured in an exhibition reconstructing elements of this destroyed site, at Asia Society. Credit Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
‘Golden Visions of Densatil’ Opens at Asia Society
By HOLLAND COTTERFEB. 20, 2014
You have to hate or fear something a lot to do what China did to Tibetan Buddhism. In the early 20th century, Tibet had thousands of active monasteries; when the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976, it had fewer than 10. The politics of blame are always tricky; some scholars argue that Tibetans themselves, for complicated reasons, contributed to the purge. But one reality is plain: By the time the mass demolition wound down, centuries’ worth of religious art was gone.
Among the major losses was the Densatil Monastery. High in the mountains in central Tibet, it was founded in the 12th century and famed throughout Tibet for its art, particularly for a set of eight sculpture-encrusted and gilded stupas, or reliquary monuments, each over 10 feet tall, that stood in its worship hall. In the campaigns of destruction, Densatil was cruelly hit. It wasn’t just dismantled; it was pulverized. The assumption was that none of its art survived.
But some did survive, hidden away by devotees, or taken by Chinese military personnel. Beginning in the 1980s, astonishing examples of these metal sculptures — three-dimensional figures, relief plaques, architectural ornaments — that had covered the stupas began to appear with growing frequency on the Western market. Continue reading
27 Feb 2014
Like me, you may have assumed Buddhism was such a happy religion. Until I discovered Buddhist Hell, deep in the South of Sri Lanka, I figured that Buddhist temples were full of kind, enlightened, robe-wearing folks, living out their days in this world performing good deeds, and getting a stack of good karma to boot. From a Western perspective, brand-Buddhism is pacifism, tranquility, and paying a hundred bucks to see the Shaolin Monks world tour, and being ripped off by Buddhist monks selling plastic beads. But wait, there’s more.
Unfortunately, visiting Sri Lanka, one of the most stunning island nations on the entire planet, has taught me everything I never wanted to know about Buddhism. Like all religions, Buddhism has a special dark place where people just don’t want to end up in this life, or any other. Buddhists refer to it as “Naraka” or “Niraya”. You may know it as “hell”. One artists vision of this tormented and gruesome place is on display inside the Buddhist temple named Wewurukannala Vihara, in the town named Dikwella. And the Buddhist version of hell, makes your version of hell seem like not such a terrible place.
For more photos, follow the [link].
Chinese Standing Buddha, 550-577CE. Limestone Shandong Provence Northern Qi, 74 inches. Photo: Throckmorton Fine Art.
NEW YORK, NY.- To coincide with Asia Week in March, 2014, Throckmorton Fine Art is presenting a special exhibition titled, “ Celestial Deities: Early Chinese Buddhist Sculpture CA 500 – 1100 CE”. A detailed catalogue has been published to accompany this New York show which will remain on view through April 26th.
According to Spencer Throckmorton, “The thirty-one Early Buddhist Sculptures are rare survivors of Buddhist purges in the past; many were buried for centuries. They have been carefully cleaned, revealing their sublime beauty and refined elegance. Each piece has been carefully studied by Chinese scholars, with photographs and analyses included in an accompanying catalogue prepared under the guidance of Dr. Qing Chang and Dr. Elizabeth Childs-Johnson. Continue reading
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 from 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM (EDT)
The SFS Asian Studies Program, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Department of Theology at Georgetown University will host Cynthea Bogel, Professor of Japanese art history and Buddhist visual culture at Kyushu University, who will discuss contemporary Buddhist art in Japan. Examining the recent spate of art exhibitions “inspired by the Buddhist notions of emptiness and impermanence,” featuring “artists that draw inspiration from one of the world’s great religions,” and work “influenced by Buddhism,” or the burgeoning number of artists who describe themselves as Buddhist, Professor Bogel raises questions about how we assess artists’ relationships to Buddhism across nations and cultures and the motivations behind the art and its display.
Ben Christian creates “digital thangkas” utilizing traditional iconography and a digital painting technique. Visit his site to view other images, and learn more about his approach.
100% of the income generated from his site is donated to the The Asian Classics Input Project, “dedicated to locating, cataloging, digitally preserving, and freely distributing rare and precious collections of Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts.”