Category Archives: United States

L.A. neighborhood stunned by sledgehammer attacks on Buddha statue. ‘We’re not going to let this hateful activity win’

Councilman Paul Koretz, whose district includes Palms, stops by the community to see the damaged statue. (Motor Avenue Improvement Assn.)

Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2017

By Ruben VivesContact Reporter

For many years, the little traffic island at Jasmine Avenue and National Boulevard in Palms was a local dumping site.

“It was just the spot where everyone dumped their couches, beds, washers and dryers,” said Lee Wallach, director of the Motor Avenue Improvement Assn.

The unwanted furniture and appliances at the median became such a problem that it seemed the city made daily trips to the intersection.

“Then literally, one night, a Buddha statue appeared and no one knows where it came from but the community was like, oh OK, there’s a Buddha in town,” Wallach said.

The stone statue, raised on a large planter, prevented people from dumping bulky items at the traffic island. It’s unknown whether that was the intent, but neighbors embraced the Buddha, dropping off roses, daisies and other types of flowers.

“It really rallied the community, and people started taking care of the Buddha,” Wallach said.

All was peaceful in the Los Angeles neighborhood until one evening last month, when a man in a white sedan pulled over, got out and used a sledgehammer to decapitate the statue. Wallach said two people witnessed the incident but were unable to write down a license plate number.

“He was heard yelling about Al Qaeda and Muslim extremism and things of that nature,” he said. “I think this gentleman is a little confused and obviously a little violent. It’s important we find him, educate him and help him.”

The crime left residents stunned. Continue reading

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A rare chance to see Buddhist art in San Antonio

“Amida Buddha with Attending Bodhisattvas” is a late 18th century wood sculpture adorned with gold, pigment and metal. It is one of the works in “Heaven & Hell: Salvation and Retribution in Pure Land Buddhism,” an exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Photo: Courtesy Of The San Antonio Museum Of Art /Courtesy Of The San Antonio Museum Of Art / Contact San Antonio Museum of Art, Registrar’s Office
Photo: Courtesy Of The San Antonio Museum Of Art /Courtesy Of The San Antonio Museum Of Art

By Elda Silva
June 16, 2017 Updated: June 16, 2017 5:39pm
San Antonio Express-News

When it comes to hell, Buddhists are at something of an advantage.

While torment may await those who stray from the path of righteousness, it needn’t be eternal.

“The wonderful thing about Buddhist hell is — unlike Christian hell — it doesn’t last forever,” said Emily Sano. “You can get out.”

Sano, the former director of the the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco who joined the staff of the San Antonio Museum of Art last year as the Coates-Cowden-Brown Senior Advisor for Asian Art, is the curator of “Heaven and Hell: Salvation and Retribution in Pure Land Buddhism.”

Featuring about 70 works, including paintings, sculpture and decorative objects, the exhibit, which is now on view, is touted as the first in the United States to explore Pure Land Buddhism, the most popular form of the religion in Asia.

Pure Land Buddhism began in West Asia in the early years of the Common Era, then spread across Central Asia to China and into Tibet, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. A branch of Mahayana Buddhism, it focuses on Amitabha, a Buddha who promises salvation — or rebirth into Sukhavati, a heavenly Pure Land of bliss — to anyone who calls his name.

Sano began working on “Heaven and Hell” two years ago, after Katie Luber, director of the museum, invited her to curate a show on the subject of her choice.

Very few exhibitions of Buddhist art have been done in Texas, Sano said, “so I thought it was just important to expose the audience in and around San Antonio to the material. I particularly loved the Pure Land theme because the message is quite simple and the works of art are so beautiful.”

“From the time I was a graduate student I was so impressed by the paintings and the sculptures that this religion inspired,” she added. “So it’s just been a favorite topic of mine.”

To put the exhibition together, Sano drew on the permanent collection of the San Antonio museum, as well as those of institutions and private collections around the country — 20 in all, including the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

“For me — why I was attracted to the idea — is that it was a chance to look at a very living tradition that has a 2,500 year old history,” Luber said. “And then we did have these works in our own collection. Emily, when she came on with us, started thinking about it right away. So I take my lead from the brilliance of the curators, always.”

Visitors to the exhibit are immediately greeted by a pair of carved wood Nio guardians, such as those placed at the entrance of many Buddhist temples in East Asia. The figures are imposing, with fierce expressions and bulging muscles. The protective deities traveled with the historical Buddha, acting as bodyguards. Offering reassurance, a polished gray limestone hand of Buddha is mounted on a pedestal, thumb and ring finger lightly touching. At more than two feet in height, the piece from Tang dynasty Chicna was once part of a monumental work. Continue reading

Zen Writers’ Retreat – June 24, 2017 at Atlanta Soto Zen Center

Zen Writers’ Retreat – June 24, 2017 at ASZC

Sit, walk, write, read, repeat. The silence of Zazen can unleash the thunder of creative ideas. During this one-day session, participants will intersperse zazen and kinhin practice with writing periods and readings/discussions of our raw creations developed through this process. Keisei Andrew Dietz will facilitate this sesshin/workshop. As a bonus feature, Taiun Michael Elliston Roshi will lead participants in at least one “set-breaking” exercise designed to unlock our habitual approach to words so that we can see and apply them with fresh perspective. Suggested donation to Zen Center for participation: $50 includes lunch and materials. While we are in the process of posting registration on the ASZC/Silent Thunder sites, please contact Keisei Andrew Dietz to express interest and “soft circle” your spot. andrew@creativegrowthgroup.com

Draft schedule:

8:30am – 9:00am Assemble/Welcome & Intro (purpose and approach)

Round 1
9:00am – 9:25am Sitting meditation
9:25am – 9:30am Walking meditation
9:30am – 9:55am Writing meditation (Mu prompt)
9:55am – 10:00am Walking meditation

Round 2
10:00am – 10:25am Sitting meditation
10:25am – 10:45am Walking meditation (outdoor)
10:40am – 11:00am Writing meditation (outdoor walk prompt)

Round 3
11:00am – 11:25am Sitting meditation
11:25am – 12:00pm Word Set-Breakers (Sensei led)

Discussion & Readings
12:00pm – 12:30pm Lunch/Discussion (Zen & creativity)
12:30pm – 1:30pm Reading selections (voluntary)

Round 4
1:30pm – 1:55pm Sitting meditation
1:55pm – 2:00pm Walking meditation
2:00pm – 2:25am Writing meditation (writer’s choice)
2:25am – 2:30pm Walking meditation

Round 4
2:30pm – 2:55pm Sitting meditation
2:55pm – 3:00pm Walking meditation
3:00pm – 3:25am Writing meditation (writer’s choice)
3:25am – 3:30pm Walking meditation

Wrap Up
3:30pm – 4:00pm Reading selections (voluntary)
4:00pm – 4:30pm Discussion/conclusion

UC Berkeley to open first university center for Silk Road study in North America

Many of the archaeological, art historical and textual remains left behind on the trade routes are now found at hundreds of remote cave sites scattered throughout far-western China in Xinjiang and Gansu. (UC Berkeley photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

By Anne Brice, Berkeley News | MAY 3, 2017

The Silk Road is an evocative name that, to many, conjures up images of camel caravans and bustling bazaars — an international highway of commerce where people and cultures from the East and West intermingled and traded goods.

But scholars say that this romantic image is only a sliver of what life might have been like on the ancient Eurasian trade routes. UC Berkeley is opening the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, the first institutionalized center in the U.S. dedicated to the study of the historical trading networks serially known as the Silk Road, thanks to a $5 million gift by two branches of the Tang family — Oscar Tang and his wife, Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, who are based in New York City, and Bay Area Berkeley alumni Nadine Tang and Leslie Tang Schilling, with their brother Martin Tang in Hong Kong.

Chinese American philanthropist Oscar Tang founded the first Tang center for excellence in Chinese Humanities, the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University in 2003. In 2015, he and his archaeologist wife founded the Tang Center for Early China at Columbia University. The new Tang Center at UC Berkeley is the latest addition for the advancement of the interdisciplinary study of the historical Silk Road.

Oscar Tang believes that the new Tang Center at Berkeley is “part of my family’s ongoing effort to enhance knowledge and understanding of the great Chinese civilization and its relationship to the rest of the world.”

The center, which launched April 29, will promote the research and teaching of the material and visual cultures that flourished along the Silk Road and formed a bridge between the many economic epicenters of Eurasia and China. A better understanding of the Silk Road’s history will also help contextualize its emergent geopolitical significance in the present time. Continue reading

All About Thangkas: Preservation Workshop, May 6, 2017 New York City


All About Thangkas
Workshop in New York City

Date: May 06, 2017
Time: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Talas, 330 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, New York

Reserve your place in this intensely informative and comprehensive day-long workshop, with keynote presentations, open Q&A during catered lunch, and discussion of thangka examples.

Thangkas present conservators, curators, collectors, and dharma students with a unique challenge in choice of preservation measures and conservation treatment. It is crucial to have background in the techniques of their manufacture and historical use.

“All About Thangkas” presents the entire thangka form, textile and painting components, and details of their creation, use, deterioration and preservation.

Workshop is limited to 20 participants.
To register and for further information:
treasurecaretaker@icloud.com

About the Instructor:
Ann Shaftel saw her first thangka in 1955 during a school trip to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Since 1970 she has been working with thangkas in monasteries, museums, dharma centers and for private collectors. Ann has worked with the Rubin Museum collection, AMNH, UNESCO, Yale University, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Art Institute of Chicago, and many more.

Ann’s current conservation outreach project, http://www.treasurecaretaker.com trains monks and nuns to protect and preserve Buddhist sacred treasures in their own monasteries, with workshops in Bhutan, India and Nepal.

Ann is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation, a Fellow of International Institute for Conservation, Member of Canadian Association of Professional Conservators, ICOM-Canada, and ICOMOS. She trained in conservation at Winterthur/University of Delaware and ICCROM. Ann has an MA in Asian Art History.

Private tours of thangkas at the Rubin Museum and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) on May 4, 5 are offered by arrangement.

 

UM Museum Opens Photography Exhibit of Buddhist Caves

mogao-cave-north-wall-1943

The exhibit “Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo” is now open at the UM Museum.

Images from China illustrate artistic and architectural achievements

JANUARY 16, 2017 BY CHRISTINA STEUBE

OXFORD, Miss. – Photographs of the intricately painted Mogao and Yulin Caves in Dunhuang, China are on exhibit at the University of Mississippi Museum.

“Dunhuang Through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo” features photographs taken of the caves by the Los in the 1940s. The nearly 500 caves containing artwork are in the northwestern area of China along the ancient Silk Road and are a major Buddhist pilgrimage site. The caves, which served as spaces for meditation and worship, were painted between the fourth and 14th centuries.
The exhibit opened Jan. 10 in conjunction with the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, held on the UM campus Jan. 13-15. The free exhibit runs through April 29, and an opening reception is set for 6-8 p.m. Jan. 31.

Joshua Howard, Croft associate professor of history and international studies and a Chinese historian, proposed this exhibit to the University Museum.

“These photographs have high artistic value,” Howard said. “James and Lucy Lo used natural light and often placed mirrors in the caves to create special lighting effects and create a sense of the caves’ spirituality.

“James Lo also experimented with his photo angles; for instance, shooting a 50-foot reclining Buddha from the vantage point of the head of the statue rather than from the feet looking toward the head. The result is a more intimate and serene shot of the Buddha. Other landscape photos they took give a sense of the harsh but beautiful desert terrain the caves inhabit.”
The collection of 31 black-and-white photographs is from the Lo Archive and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University. The Mogao and Yulin caves illustrate artistic and architectural achievements, as well as provide an intimate look at the history of Buddhism and other religions of the region.

Museum officials were excited about the opportunity to open the exhibit to conference attendees, said Robert Saarnio, museum director. The conference included workshops, panel discussions, lectures and film screenings of Asian poetry and literature, history, language, art, philosophy and politics.

“These are exactly the kinds of multidisciplinary and cross-campus partnerships that the museum seeks to foster and welcome, wherein great art and artifact content can be exhibited in such close correspondence to curricular, research and teaching endeavors,” Saarnio said.
The museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

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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.

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