This Korean documentary on Gandhara civilisation will show the ‘tolerant face’ of Pakistan

Dawn, AMJAD IQBAL

A Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) team has filmed Buddhist sites in Taxila, Lahore, Peshawar, Swat, Swabi and Gilgit

A two-member Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) team filmed various Buddhist sites of Gandhara civilization, which they will air on South Korean official television .

Lee Heon and Miss Hong, Eun Hee, producers of the KBS, are visiting the ancient sites on the invitation of Dr Esther Park, General Secretary, Gandhara Art and Culture Association (GACA).

Before coming to Taxila the KBS team also visited Lahore, Peshawar, Swabi, Swat and Gilgit and filmed various Buddhist sites.

“I have visited Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and Armenia to record various cultural sites but the potential and cultural diversity Pakistan harbours is unique and significant,” said Miss Hong while talking to Dawn.

“What has really captured me about Pakistan is the kindness of the people here; really they are generous and hospitable,” she added.

Replying to a query, she said it was her first visit to Pakistan and like other foreign media persons she had some misconception about Pakistan but after visiting various cities, she found it an enlightened and diverse country. “Through her documentary she will now show peaceful, tolerant and hospitable face of Pakistan to the world especially to Buddhists across the globe,” she added.

Monk Maranantha, credited for spreading Buddhist teachings across the Korean peninsula in the late 4th century AD, was originally from Chota Lahore in district Swabi, therefore Buddhist followers of Korea have deep-rooted spiritual and religious attachment with Pakistan and this documentary would further strengthen relations between the two countries. Continue reading

EXHIBITION “Avalokitesvara/Guanyin: Feminine symbolism in Buddhist Art” a photography show at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), 1, Central Vista (CV) Mess, Janpath > 27th March to 10th April 2017

Entry : Free

Venue : Twin Art Gallery 2, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), 1, Central Vista (CV) Mess, Janpath, New Delhi-110001
Landmark : Opp. National Archives, adjoining India Gate Lawns
Venue Info : Events | About | Map
Metro : Nearest Metro Station – ‘Central Sectt.’ (Yellow Line and Violet Line)

Event Description : EXHIBITION “Avalokitesvara/Guanyin: Feminine symbolism in Buddhist Art” a photography show.

Avalokitesvara is the most popular Mahayana Bodhisattva and his cult has played an important role in the growth of Mahayana Buddhism and art. The images of Avalokitesvara in India are not feminine, although the body has a sensual form. The well known painting of Padmapani in Cave No.1 of Ajanta no doubt has a sensuous body, but taken as a whole, looks a male Bodhisattva. The paintings of the famous artist Ravi Varma, do not show Hindu Gods as strongly masculine. Essential features of manliness like muscles, broad shoulders are present but there is a touch of conspicuous feminine quality in the images.

It is not known exactly when the Guan-yin came to be regarded as female deity for the first time. Majority of the scholars are of the opinion that the transformation of Guan-yin into female deity took place about the 11th century A. D. But this seems to have been the product of a long process and this might have been influenced by many factors combined to bring the sexual transformation.

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Jade Buddha Temple shows thangka art

Shanghai Daily, By Bob Yang | March 21, 2017, Tuesday

SHANGHAI’S Jade Buddha Temple yesterday launched a free exhibition of thangka art and traditional Chinese paintings about Buddhism.

About 20 paintings from Tibetan Buddhism master LuoZangDanBa and renowned Buddhism painter Li Tang are being exhibited at the temple through to Sunday.

Visitors would be able to witness the cultural heritages and beauty of Tibetan Buddhism through the exhibition, a temple official said.

As the highlight of the exhibition, six original works of the medieval Tibetan art of thangka — minutely detailed paintings depicting Buddhist deities or symbols — from the master are being showcased.

LuoZangDanBa, who is also a national intangible cultural heritage inheritor, began to study painting in thangka style when he was 5 years old. Li, the other artist of the exhibition, is director of the Buddhism art and culture research center with Peking University.

Visitors can enter the temple via Jiangning Road in Putuo District to view the exhibition. No entrance ticket is required.

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Goldberg Lecturer to examine duplication in Chinese sculpture

Buddha, gilt bronze, dated 537, Eastern Wei Dynasty, h. 22 cm, Berenson Art Collection, Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.

Vanderbilt News, by Ann Marie Deer Owens | Mar. 20, 2017, 9:45 AM

Duke University’s Stanley Abe will discuss duplication in Chinese sculpture March 23 at Cohen Hall

The study of duplication in Chinese sculpture from ancient times to the present is the focus of a lecture by Stanley Abe at Vanderbilt’s Cohen Hall March 23.

Abe, associate professor of art and art history at Duke University, will deliver the Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Lecture in Art History at 4:10 p.m. in Room 203. A reception in the Cohen atrium will follow Abe’s talk.

“In China, identical sets of figures, serial images, replications in archaic styles, and later copies were produced over a long period of time,” Abe said. “New works were provided with ancient inscriptions; old objects could be inscribed anew. In modern times, forgeries meant to deceive collectors proliferated.”

Abe has published on Chinese Buddhist art, contemporary Chinese art, Asian American art, abstract expressionism and the collecting of Chinese sculpture. He is now writing a narrative account of how Chinese sculpture came into existence as a category of “fine art” during the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

“The study of duplication suggests a way to understand the history of Chinese sculpture as more than a series of unique masterpieces,” Abe said. “However, attention to duplication raises many questions and issues for further study.”

Abe received the Shimada Prize for Ordinary Images (University of Chicago Press, 2002), a richly illustrated book that explores the large body of sculpture, paintings and other religious imagery produced for China’s common classes from the third to the sixth centuries CE. The Shimada Prize is awarded for distinguished scholarship in the history of East Asian art by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and by The Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies in Kyoto, Japan.

Sponsored by the Department of History of Art, the Goldberg Lecture is free and open to the public. Parking is available in Lot 95 outside of Cohen Hall. For more information, call the department at 615-322-2831.

Fay Renardson contributed to this story.

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Buddhist leader’s ‘message of hope’ premiered at Scots monastery

The Scotsman, Thursday 16 March 2017

A film charting the life and times of the co-founder of Europe’s first Buddhist monastery yesterday received its world premiere.

The feature-length documentary about Akong Tulku Rinpoche was screened at Kagyu Samye Ling, the Tibetan centre in south-west Scotland he helped established some 60 years ago.

The film, ‘Akong – A Remarkable Life’ charts the former Buddhist leader’s early years in Tibet through to his murder in China in 2013.

Described by its makers as a “message of hope,” the documentary was authorised by Akong Rinpoche before he was stabbed to death. Akong, who was born in 1939, was identified as the reincarnation of Dolma Lhakang, at a monastery in eastern Tibet. He was just four when he was enthroned in the monastery and began his spiritual education.

After the Tibetan uprising against occupying Chinese forces in 1959, the then 19-year-old joined a freedom walk over the Himalayas to India. The gruelling trek saw the party run out of food, with many forced to boil leather shoes and bags to make soup. Out of about 200 people who took part in the walk, Akong was among just 15 survivors.

He eventually made his way to Scotland, where along with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he founded Samye Ling in Langholm, 30 miles east of Dumfries. Students at the monastery, constructed around a former hunting lodge, have included the late musicians David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.

Vin Harris, executive producer of the film, which features contributions from the likes of Lord Steele, said: “We feel that the film is more a message of hope, a celebration of his life.

“It kind of focuses on the fact that putting compassion into action, rather than being a kind of luxury, is so effective.

“We look at what, as a refugee, he achieved – setting up centres all over the world and helping thousands and thousands of people without compromising that value of compassion.” Last year, two men were sentenced to death in China for the murder of Akong as well as his nephew and driver. A third man was sentenced to three years in jail.

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The Buddhist art of living in Nepal : ethical practice and religious reform

41HB8vuNeZL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Buddhist Art of Living in Nepal Ethical Practice and Religious Reform
By Lauren Leve
2016 – Routledge
268 pages
Hardback: 9780415617345
pub: 2016-07-28

Theravada Buddhism has experienced a powerful and far-reaching revival in modern Nepal, especially among the Newar Buddhist laity, many of whom are reorganizing their lives according to its precepts, practices and ideals. This book documents these far-reaching social and personal transformations and links them to political, economic and cultural shifts associated with late modernity, and especially neoliberal globalization.

Nepal has changed radically over the last century, particularly since the introduction of liberal democracy and an open-market economy in 1990. The rise of lay vipassana meditation has also dramatically impacted the Buddhist landscape. Drawing on recently revived understandings of ethics as embodied practices of self-formation, the author argues that the Theravada turn is best understood as an ethical movement that offers practitioners ways of engaging, and models for living in, a rapidly changing world. The book takes readers into the Buddhist reform from the perspectives of its diverse practitioners, detailing devotees’ ritual and meditative practices, their often conflicted relations to Vajrayana Buddhism and Newar civil society, their struggles over identity in a formerly Hindu nation-state, and the political, cultural, institutional and moral reorientations that becoming a “pure Buddhist”—as Theravada devotees understand themselves—entails.

Based on more than 20 years of anthropological fieldwork, this book is an important contribution to scholarly debates over modern Buddhism, ethical practices, and the anthropology of religion. It is of interest to students and scholars of Asian Religion, Anthropology, Buddhism and Philosophy.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: Seeing Things As They Are

Chapter 2: ‘A Garden of Every Kind of People:’ Newar Buddhists in Hindu Nepal

Chapter 3: The Revival of “Pure Buddhism”

Chapter 4: What Makes A Theravada Buddhist?

Chapter 5: Becoming “Pure Buddhist” (1): Practices of Personhood

Chapter 6: Becoming “Pure Buddhist” (2): Vipassana Meditation and the Theravada Care of the Self

Chapter 7: The Best Dharma for Today: Post-Protestant Buddhism in Neoliberal Nepal

Conclusion: The Buddhist Art of Living, in Nepal and Elsewhere

Airport to close for expansion near China’s Dunhuang caves

Source: Xinhua | February 20, 2017, Monday | ONLINE EDITION

THE Dunhuang airport, located near the Mogao Caves, which contain some of China’s finest ancient Buddhist art, will be closed between March 15 and May 25 for an expansion project aimed at coping with a growing tourist influx.

The 976-million-yuan (US$142 million) expansion project, which began in 2016, will enable the airport to handle an annual capacity of 960,000 passengers and 1,700 tons of cargo.

The airport will close to allow for revamping of the runway and enlarging airport aprons, said the airport on Monday.

The 1,600-year-old Mogao Caves are home to more than 2,000 colored sculptures and 45,000 square meters of frescoes. They are located in a series of 735 caves carved along a cliff in northwest China’s Gansu Province along the ancient Silk Road route. In 1987, the site became China’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In recent years, tourist numbers to the caves have soared thanks to their growing fame both at home and abroad.

The Buddhist site received more than 8 million domestic and foreign visitors in 2016, up 21.37 percent year on year.

Since 2014, the Mogao Caves have set a daily limit of 6,000 reserved tickets plus an extra 12,000 emergency tickets to cater to the growing number of tourists during the peak travel season.

Transportation infrastructure has been built to cope with the large passenger flow. In addition to the airport expansion, easier transport links to Dunhuang were launched last year, including new trains from Beijing, and Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

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