Hyecho’s Journey, by Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

Hyecho’s Journey, Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

208 pages | 27 color plates, 1 halftone | 7 x 10 | © 2017

In the year 721, a young Buddhist monk named Hyecho set out from the kingdom of Silla, on the Korean peninsula, on what would become one of the most extraordinary journeys in history. Sailing first to China, Hyecho continued to what is today Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, before taking the Silk Road and heading back east, where he ended his days on the sacred mountain of Wutaishan in China.
With Hyecho’s Journey, eminent scholar of Buddhism Donald S. Lopez Jr. re-creates Hyecho’s trek. Using the surviving fragments of Hyecho’s travel memoir, along with numerous other textual and visual sources, Lopez imagines the thriving Buddhist world the monk explored. Along the way, Lopez introduces key elements of Buddhism, including its basic doctrines, monastic institutions, works of art, and the many stories that have inspired Buddhist pilgrimage. Through the eyes of one remarkable Korean monk, we discover a vibrant tradition flourishing across a vast stretch of Asia. Hyecho’s Journey is simultaneously a rediscovery of a forgotten pilgrim, an accessible primer on Buddhist history and doctrine, and a gripping, beautifully illustrated account of travel in a world long lost.

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Ritualized Writing: Buddhist Practice and Scriptural Cultures in Ancient Japan, by Bryan D. Lowe

On the New Books Network, you can read a short review, and listen to an hour-long podcast on the recently published Ritualized Writing: Buddhist Practice and Scriptural Cultures in Ancient Japan, by Bryan D. Lowe (UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS 2017).

Yama archeological dig yields its secrets

Kitsap Sun
Chris Henry,
Sept. 4, 2017

(Photo: Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)


Archaeologist Floyd Aranyosi stood a stone’s throw from Takayoshi’s general store, where in the early 20th Century he might have stopped in for homemade ice cream, a Snappy Drinks soda or a tin of Stag chewing tobacco, along with sundry imported Japanese goods.

Olympic College in Bremerton is wrapping up a three-year archaeological dig at the Yama site, where a Japanese-American community flourished at the turn of the 20th Century. Wochit

Historical photographs document the existence of the store in the Japanese-American town of Yama on the south end of Bainbridge Island near the Port Blakely Sawmill. Now, as the third and final year of an archeological dig at Yama wraps up, Aranyosi and his team from Olympic College know exactly where the store stood.

Through painstaking measurements and analysis of artifacts, they’ve mapped the town, which was home to about 200 people at its height. Colorful plastic tape winding through the ferns demarcates the road where the town’s first Model T rumbled along a wood plank surface, the Washington Hotel — owned by the Konos, one of the earliest and most influential Yama families — the bath house, the barber shop, the ballfield and a row of homes perched on the hillside.

The dig, on a 7-acre site now owned by the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Parks District, is a three-year project the college undertook in 2015 in collaboration with the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum and the Kitsap County Historical Society and Museum. Researchers are taking a multi-disciplinary approach, combining traditional archaeology with cultural anthropology, history and various scientific fields of study to better understand the people of Yama and how they lived.

The Port Blakely Sawmill, which opened in 1864, was once the largest sawmill in the world, according to the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. The first workers were of European descent. Chinese workers who came in the 1870s were edged out by federal anti-Chinese laws. Japanese workers began arriving in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1880s, filling a labor shortage at the mill. Continue reading

Paths of the Soul review: Blandly soothing, apolitical Buddhist ‘documentary’ quickly wears thin


Pilgrims on the 1200-mile trek through the Himalayas to Lhasa in Paths of the Soul. Photo: China Lion Entertainment

Sydney Morning Herald
OCTOBER 18 2017
Jake Wilson

PATHS OF THE SOUL ★★
(PG) 120 minutes

If you’ve never pondered the literal meaning of the word “kowtow”, you may have something to learn from the new film by Chinese director Zhang Yang (Shower), which follows a dozen or so Tibetan villagers on a 1200-mile pilgrimage through the Himalayas to Lhasa, as is Buddhist tradition.

This would be an arduous trek under any circumstances but, adding to the challenge, every few steps the pilgrims must drop onto their stomachs and touch their foreheads to the earth.

To protect their bodies, they wear leather aprons and have wooden boards strapped to their hands, generating a noise like the clicking of castanets. In the absence of a conventional score, this becomes central to the film’s soundtrack.

The pilgrims in Paths of the Soul, to protect their bodies, wear leather aprons and have wooden boards strapped to their hands. Photo: China Lion Entertainment
Paths of the Soul is not quite fiction, not quite documentary. Reports indicate that the journey we see is real, and that the non-professional cast members are playing versions of themselves.

But it also appears that Zhang has manipulated events in the manner of a reality TV producer – ensuring, for example, that a pregnant woman (Tsring Chodron​) was part of the group in order to build a sequence around the birth of her child.


Pilgrims on the 1200-mile trek through the Himalayas to Lhasa in Paths of the Soul. Photo: China Lion Entertainment

Continue reading

Two Buddhist Temples in Hong Kong Designated as National Monuments

Tung Lin Kok Yuen in Hong Kong’s Happy Valley. Photo by Bill Cox

from Buddhistdoor
By BD Dipananda
2017-10-20 |

The Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) of Hong Kong has designated two Buddhist temples—Tung Lin Kok Yuen (TLKY) Temple on Hong Kong Island and Yeung Hau Temple on Lantau Island—as monuments under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, along with a Christian landmark—Kowloon Union Church.

“The Antiquities and Monuments Office considers that with their significant heritage value . . . the three historic buildings have reached the ‘high threshold’ to be declared as monuments,” said a representative of the AAB after the meeting in June. “Consent . . . has been obtained from the respective owners.” (South China Morning Post)

Installed in 1976, the AAB is a constitutional body of the Hong Kong government that evaluates old buildings for designation as monuments based on their historical or architectural merit. According to AAB chairman Andrew Lam: “Heritage is the fruit of a place’s culture and history. It not only reflects the historical facts but also carries our emotions. And the work of the Antiquities Advisory Board relies on professional judgment as well as public knowledge and awareness of the importance of heritage.” (Antiquities Advisory Board)

Yeung Hau Temple in Tai O. From thestandard.com.hk

Located in Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island, TLKY was founded in 1935 by Lady Clara Ho Tung (1875–1938) and her husband, the prominent businessman and philanthropist Sir Robert Ho Tung (1892–1956). TLKY contains an ancestral hall, Dharma hall, dining hall, lecture theater, library, sutra hall, and dormitories for monastics. The temple also houses a valuable collection of calligraphy and Chinese couplets. The temple building shows the influence of Western engineering of the time combined with elements of traditional Chinese architecture, with its flying attics, brackets, and glazed tile roofs. TLKY is considered one of the more prominent Buddhist temples in Hong Kong and serves as a center for the Buddhist community and a place of education for monastics. Continue reading

NEW BOOK: Archaeology and Buddhism in South Asia

Archaeology and Buddhism in South Asia
By Himanshu Prabha Ray

© 2018 – Routledge India

140 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

Hardback: 9781138304895
pub: 2017-08-29
$150.00

eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203728543
pub: 2017-08-31
$49.46

Description

This book traces the archaeological trajectory of the expansion of Buddhism and its regional variations in South Asia. Focusing on the multireligious context of the subcontinent in the first millennium BCE, the volume breaks from conventional studies that pose Buddhism as a counter to the Vedic tradition to understanding the religion more integrally in terms of dhamma (teachings of the Buddha), dāna (practice of cultivating generosity)and the engagement with the written word. The work underlines that relic and image worship were important features in the spread of Buddhism in the region and were instrumental in bringing the monastics and the laity together. Further, the author examines the significance of the histories of monastic complexes (viharas, stupas, caityas) and also religious travel and pilgrimage that provided connections across the subcontinent and the seas.

An interdisciplinary study, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars in South Asian studies, religion, especially Buddhist studies, history and archaeology.

About the Author

Himanshu Prabha Ray is affiliated to Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich, Germany, and is recipient of the Anneliese Maier research award of the Humboldt Foundation. She is former Chairperson of the National Monuments Authority, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and former Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She is Member of the Governing Board, The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Her recent books include The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: The Temple in Western India, 2nd Century BCE–8th Century CE (with Susan Verma Mishra, 2017); The Return of the Buddha: Ancient Symbols for a New Nation (2014); and The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia (2003). Among her earlier works are The Winds of Change: Buddhism and the Maritime Links of Early South Asia (1994) and Monastery and Guild: Commerce under the Satavahanas
(1986).

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Buddhist site discovered on hilltop in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh

By Express News Service | Published: 28th August 2017 09:06 AM |

GUNTUR: A new Buddhist site was discovered on a hilltop at a tiny village Putlagudem in Atchampet mandal on Sunday. A study team comprising E Siva Nagi Reddy, archaeologist, and CEO of The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA), Subhakar Medasani, secretary of Vijayawada Buddha Vihara, and Govardhan, member, found the ancient Buddhist site while exploring villages in Atchampet mandal as part of the Preserve Heritage for Posterity campaign.

The team found broken pillars of a Silamandapa in front of a dilapidated Venkateswara temple on the hilltop, which is called Bhairava Gutta. The six limestone pillars bore half lotus medallions on top and bottom.

The carvings of friezes of animals and pattern designs on the pillars resemble Amaravati sculpture.

According to Siva Nagi Reddy, the Buddhist site at Putlagudem dates back to the 1st century AD of Satavahana period. Because of its location on the hilltop, the site belongs to the Seliya sect of Buddhist Sangha.

Some of the Buddhist pillars bearing half lotus medallions were used as door frames of the sanctum sanctorum of Venkateswara temple built on the hilltop some two centuries ago. Some of the pillars were appropriated as beams of the temple Maha Mandapam, which was recently demolished by treasure hunters. A broken Sivalinga and Nandi were also found at the Buddhist site. Siva Nagi Reddy appealed to the Department of Archaeology and Museums to protect and preserve the newly discovered Buddhist site for posterity.

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