The Buddhists Vs. The Billionaire

03Radio Free Europe
PHOTOGRAPHY AND TEXT BY AMOS CHAPPLE

In Russia’s Ural Mountains, a small group of Buddhists led by a veteran of the U.S.S.R.’s Afghanistan war has spent the past 21 years establishing a monastery on an isolated mountaintop. But it sits on land claimed by a company belonging to one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs. After years of delays, a date has now been set for the complex’s removal. RFE/RL’s Amos Chapple visited the monastery for the inside story.

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Faculty Voices: Where India and China Meet

2-280x173Where India and China Meet: Buddhist Art Exhibition in Palace Museum, Beijing

By Jinah Kim, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

Kim received a SAI Faculty Grant for her research on Indian painting.

A first major loan exhibition of Indian art in Beijing, China is currently held in the majestic Meridian gate tower of the Palace Museum (September 28, 2016- January 3 2017) of the Forbidden City (see a virtual tour of the exhibition here.) “Across the Silk Road: Gupta Sculptures and their Chinese Counterparts during 400 to 700CE” is an ambitious exhibition conceived by the senior curatorial fellow of the Palace Museum, Dr. Lou Wenhua, after his visit to India over 3 years ago. Fifty-six sculptures from nine Indian Museums are on display against a red backdrop in one gallery, while two adjacent galleries are filled with over one hundred Chinese Buddhist sculptures against blue backdrop. Bringing this exhibition together is an impressive feat by the organizers in Beijing, which, of course, was not possible without collaborative efforts from many museum personnel and officers in India.

When the China-India bilateral relationship is not as rosy and warm as anticipated (i.e. India’s failed entry into the NSG at the Seoul plenary, CPEC [China Pakistan Economic Corridor] developments—part of President Xie Jinping’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Maritime Silk Road projects), the exhibition reminds us of the age old connections between the two countries, notably activated and solidified through the transmission of Buddhism. It also opens up new possibilities of trans-regional connections for the future that may benefit tremendously from mutual understanding of each other’s culture and history.

The time frame of the exhibition, from 400 to 700CE, is the period in which three Chinese monk-pilgrims to India, Faxian (337-c.422CE), Xuanzang (602-664CE) and Yijing (635-713CE), visited India. Their travelogues are enthusiastically mined as indispensable records for understanding the history of Indian Buddhism and the history of early medieval India, at times unfortunately without any critical consideration of the Chinese monks’ own cultural prejudices and political motivations. The exhibition heralds “Gupta sculptures” as its main anchor perhaps unwittingly perpetuating a notion of the Gupta period (Gupta dynasty: c. 320-550) as the “classical” or “golden” age of Indian Art, formulated during the early twentieth century. However, the selection is commendably wider in scope in terms of the range of dates and the variety of iconography (from a circa third century Buddhist sculpture, to a circa fifth century Jaina stele, to circa seventh century Hindu sculptures). Continue reading

Guqin master shares the sounds of love

site_197_world%20news_59183325 NOV 2016 – 5:29PM

SBS World News Radio: The guqin is an ancient musical instrument recognised as an important part of the world’s heritage. It has a history dating back at least three thousand years and was played by the Chinese philosopher, Confucius. Rarely seen outside of China, Australian audiences are hearing it played by one of its master performers.

sbs.com

By Greg Dyett
25 NOV 2016 – 4:00 PM UPDATED 25 NOV 2016 – 5:29 PM

The ancient sounds of the guqin as played by Master Yang Qing.
Speaking through a translator, he says the soft, elegant sounds of the seven-stringed guqin are designed to promote love.

“The sounds of this instrument, they are all harmonious. It’s about love, it’s about kindness. The sound is not that loud but what we are trying to do is that through the sounds of the music, we are trying to promote the mentality, the ideology of love, loving our nations, loving for the people so this is what we want to promote through this instrument. And what I’ve said just now, it also connects this instrument, it’s just like our teacher, our mother, our friend and it’s also about time, bring about harmony to the people around us.”

The Nan Tien Institute, which runs Australia’s largest Buddhist college, helped to bring Master Yang to Australia for a series of performances.

The institute’s Venerable Juefang says the instrument has Buddhist sensibilities.

“It gives space to the performer so in the Buddhist context, it is also the same. Everyone has our own lives, how are we going to build our own life, how are we going to perform our own music of our life, it’s all within ourselves. In the Buddhist context, there is this notion about emptiness. Emptiness means that there is space, there is all sorts of possibility to build our own life, to have a complete life, so this music – guqin – and Buddhism, the cultivation about a human being, there is actually a lot of relevance.” Continue reading

Researchers discover 30000-year-old rock art and 110 historic sites in Pakistan

site-in-pakistan8 sites are of Buddhist importance. These sites display ancient rock art including images. During excavation, researchers found remnant of mosques, forts, gallows, tunnels and other buildings of Ameer Taimur period.

By Megha Singh -Dec 9, 2016

Archaeologists unearth 30000-year-old 110 historic sites in Pakistan

Archaeologists have unearthed 30000-year-old relics in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Of newly discovered 110 sites, some are related to Buddism. According to reports, a team of archaeologists along with support from Political Administration and Pakistan Army have discovered the sites.

The pre-historic sites are of Buddhist, Islamic and British era. 8 sites are of Buddhist importance. These sites display ancient rock art including images. During excavation, researchers found remnant of mosques, forts, gallows, tunnels and other buildings of Ameer Taimur period.

The political administration has summoned another team of scientists to further study the art form. Apparently, the study will be extended to other tehsils of Tirrah and Barra with an aim of finding more such sites which will tell us more about the ancient times, their beliefs and mythology.

“These rock carvings were etched around 30,000 years ago,” Abdul Samad, Director K-P archaeology and Museums, who has conducted the survey, told media on Thursday. Continue reading

Khyber rediscovered as rich archaeological area

A Buddhist stupa in Jamrud tehsil near Torkham Highway is a testimony to the historical and archaeological significance of Khyber Agency. —Dawn

A Buddhist stupa in Jamrud tehsil near Torkham Highway is a testimony to the historical and archaeological significance of Khyber Agency. —Dawn

Dec 09, 2016 09:54am

PESHAWAR: For the first time Khyber Agency may be put on the world’s map for its archaeological richness as a survey team is thrilled to have found prehistoric rock carvings in this tribal region.

Khyber Agency was known more as a gateway to Central Asia and remained a favorite route for the invaders, pilgrims and traders for centuries and in recent years it was ravaged by militancy.

But more lies underneath this rugged terrain, archaeologists have just found out.

During the first-ever archaeological survey in Khyber Agency, a team of archaeologists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has discovered around 110 archaeological sites, including prehistoric rock carvings and paintings, in Malagori area of Jamrud tehsil.

The survey conducted for about two months was a pilot project initiated by the Khyber Agency political agent Khalid Mehmood with the help of Dr Abdul Samad, who is heading the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The survey that started as a friendly cooperation between the two young officers may be the tip of the iceberg as initial findings indicate that more archaeological wealth may be lying underneath waiting for centuries to be discovered. Continue reading

Secrets of Buddhist Art: Tibet, Japan, and Korea at the Frist

February 10 – May 7, 2017
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee

Jijang Bosal (Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha) and the Kings of Hell, Korea, late 19th or early 20th century, late Joseon Period (1392–1912). Colors and cloth. Newark Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. John P. Lyden, 2001, 2001.75.1

Jijang Bosal (Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha) and the Kings of Hell, Korea, late 19th or early 20th century, late Joseon Period (1392–1912). Colors and cloth. Newark Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. John P. Lyden, 2001, 2001.75.1

Related Programs
One-Day Educator Workshop: Secrets of Buddhist Art Thu, Feb 16, 2017
Tibet, Japan, and Korea all practice a form of esoteric or “secret” Buddhism. Called Vajrayana Buddhism, this form utilizes works of art that reveal a complex array of both human and divine figures. This exhibition showcases superlative works from the Newark Museum’s first-rate collection and will make its first appearance at the Frist Center, introducing a general audience to the dazzling aesthetics of Buddhist art and providing a basic understanding of these objects’ function within Buddhist practice.

This exhibition was organized by the Newark Museum.

[link]

IFFI features a lesser-known chapter of Buddhist history

CINEMATIC TIMELINE: A visitor looks at posters at the multimedia exhibition in the 47 th edition of the International Film Festival of India in Panaji on Monday. — Photo: Atish Pomburfekar

CINEMATIC TIMELINE: A visitor looks at posters at the multimedia exhibition in the 47 th edition of the International Film Festival of India in Panaji on Monday. — Photo: Atish Pomburfekar

The Hindu, Prakash Kamat PANAJI: NOVEMBER 24, 2016 01:16 IST

Sinhala film screened at IFFI explores the preserving of heritage for the future

The Sri Lankan film industry is small and so are the budgets due to the small viewership, said Chathra Weeraman, director of the Sinhala film Aloko Udapadi (Light Arose), on Tuesday while interacting with the media at the 47th International Film festival of India (IFFI).

The director said his film on Buddhism was being dubbed in several languages as there are 41 countries where Buddhism is practised and the crew felt committed to deliver this significant yet lesser-known chapter of Buddhist history to them in their native language.

He said the film, his first, was completed under a budget of Rs.6 crore.

Responding to a question, Mr. Weeraman said that there were no collaborations planned for now, but as Buddhism in Sri Lanka’s history is connected to India, there could be co-productions on the same topic in the future.

Kogalla Nishantha, executive producer, said the the film will be released on January 20 in a number of languages. The film depicts a major milestone in the Buddhist timeline.

It is the story of human effort to preserve the spiritual heritage of Buddhisim for future generations of mankind, said Mr. Weeraman about the film, which was screened as part of the World Cinema on Monday evening.

Set against the background of events that took place 2,100 years ago and 454 years after the demise of Lord Buddha, the film is based on the facts found in Mahavansha, the chronicle considered to be the documented history of Sri Lanka. It also documents rock inscriptions across Sri Lanka and folklore about King Walagambha who, the director said, had not got due recognition in history.

Film-makers from the Republic of Korea and their 60-member-strong delegation, which also includes businesspersons, are keen on increasing co-productions with India and also to encourage improved relations between both countries. Continue reading