Kashmir’s lone museum opens for public

Outlook, 11 JUNE 2017

“There are many unique and rare collections in the museum For instance, the Gilgit manuscripts with painted covers of the seventh century regarding Buddhism, a rare bilingual birch bark document in Shardha and Persian of the 16th century relating to the purchase of land and a copy of Shahanama Firdausi (world’s longest epic poem written by a single poet),” he said

Srinagar, Jun 11 Kashmir’s lone Shri Pratap Singh museum is a treasure trove for art lovers, history enthusiasts and curious minds as it houses rare artifacts and items of historical significance, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the state.

Situated on the banks of river Jhelum in Lal Mandi area of the summer capital here, the museum was established in 1898 AD by then Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Pratap Singh, in his summer guest house, largely based on collections transferred from the state ‘Toshkhana’ (palace treasury).

A century later, the museum got a new building – adjacent to the old one.

Though it has not been completed yet, the museum was thrown open for public recently owing to widespread demands from different quarters.

The foundation stone of the new building was laid in 2008 by then chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the construction project was handed over to the Police Housing Corporation (PHC), which was scheduled to complete it in two years’ time.
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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

Experts dig deep to trace the origin of Naga Buddha statues

The 1400-year-old Buddha idol was found recently at Banapur in Khurda district of Odisha.

THE ASIAN AGE. | AKSHAYA KUMAR SAHOO
Published : Jun 3, 2017, 4:03 am IST

The discovery was made by Prof. Anam Behera of Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, and his student Dakhineswar Jena.

Bhubaneswar: The recent discovery of Naga Buddha idol from Odisha’s Banapur area has inspired researchers to conduct further studies to establish if this cult of Buddhist sculpture was prevalent in the state or the statues were brought from other parts of the country. The discovery was made by Prof. Anam Behera of Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, and his student Dakhineswar Jena.

Not only in India, but in countries like Burma, China, Laos and Thailand, many statues are seen where the Buddha is depicted in meditation pose sheltered by a multi-headed snakes, which is depicted in Hindu mythology as Shesh Nag. In Buddhist literature, Buddha idols sheltered by multi-headed snakes are known as the Naga Buddha statues.

According to Prof. Nrusingha Sahoo, a researcher who has discovered many Buddhist sites in Odisha’s Jajpur district, it is yet to be established if the three Naga Buddha statues found in Odisha — two in Ratnagiri of Jajpur district and one in Bolangir district — were made by Odia sculptors or imported from other parts of the country.

“It requires further studies to establish if Naga Buddha statues were built in Odisha also. As far as I know, our researchers have sought the assistance from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and State Museum for further research on the statue,” says Mr Behera.

Sculpture at Odisha’s Ratnagiri. Naga Buddha Sculpture at Odisha’s Ratnagiri.

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Call for Papers and Essays

We have pleasure to announce that the 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia will be held on 1-3 February, 2018 in Perth, Western Australia.

All Buddhists, scholars and members of the general public interested in Buddhism are invited to present their papers in this coming conference. Researchers across a broad range of disciplines are welcomed as well the submission of pre-formed panel proposals

The main themes 2018

Rituals
Rituals and the Image of Buddha
Silk Road Buddhism
Death of the Buddha

The organizers are open to proposals for contributions on Buddhist history, philosophy, texts as well for proposals on any related theme.

Important Dates

Deadline for Abstract Submission: 25 October, 2017
Deadline for Full Paper Submission: 25 November, 2017

For those who have prepared for certain big task and who are able to put some sort of idea on certain topics, we have a proposal to compose an essay which needs to create a bridge back to the Buddha. Anyone, from any country, is free to apply. Selected essays will be published on the conference website. Topics

Buddha for every home
Buddha versus Jesus
Buddhism is in the way of economy
Buddhist monks – people with weak vitality and mentality
Buddhist cosmology and contemporary astronomy and astrophysics are not brothers
Virtual reality as the modern day Nirvana
Could Buddha turn on a computer?
Is virtual reality beyond our reality or not?
Who reads the teachings of the dead Buddha? Continue reading

Remains of Buddhist stupa reveal more about Vihar


Mid-day.com, By Pallavi Smart | Mumbai | Posted 03-Jun-2017

Scattered remnants of a Buddhist stupa has been found at a site near Vihar Lake

Archeological explorations have never failed to surprise people and this is definitely one of those instances of digging the past and finding something that has left a mark behind. Powai’s Vihar Lake was named after a Buddhist monastery that existed in the area centuries ago, but till date people believed that it got submerged under water. However, Mumbai University archaeology students have finally found scattered remnants of a Buddhist stupa in the area to prove that the monastery was located on a hillock near the lake.

This has been revealed under the Salcette Exploration project of the Mumbai University’s Centre of Extra-Mural Studies in association with Centre for Archaeology. A team of 18 students led by six archeology experts is working at six different sites in the city under the project.

Speaking to mid-day, Archaeologist and Culinary Anthropologist Dr Kurush Dalal said, “When the Vihar Lake came into existence in 1850, hoards of Bohomani coins were found at the site, which hinted at the existence of the monastery. However, people thought that it got lost under the water body over the years. But now we have conclusive proof regarding its existence.”

Explaining it further, journalist and archeology expert Vinayak Parab, who led the work at the site said, “Even though people believed that the structure got lost underwater, the fact that monasteries are usually built on hills, got me thinking. Hence, we started looking for a hillock in the area and found one behind IIT Bombay. Then, we started exploring the site and found scattered remnants of a stupa. Through detailed excavation we found more remains, which helped us prove that the monastery did not get submerged.”

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On first state holiday for Buddhists in city, grand Purnima plans in store

TNN | Updated: May 10, 2017, 11.03 AM IST

KOLKATA: Buddhists in the city have a new reason to rejoice. After decades of appeals and requests to the state government, right through the regime of Congress to Left Front and now Trinamool Congress, this is the first time that a state holiday has been declared on Buddha Purnima on Wednesday. This is the 2561st birth anniversary of Lord Buddha — the biggest annual occasion for those of this faith. The city has a little over 5,000 Buddhists and at least 35 monasteries.

The two oldest Buddhist monastery-cum-congregations are the Mahabodhi Society (established in 1891 by Anagarik Dharmapal, a venerated monk from Sri Lanka), and Bauddha Dharmankur Sabha that was established by Kripasaran Mahasthabir from Chittagong, just a year later. Both have joined hands for a unique celebration that started on Tuesday, also celebrating the 156th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.

A light-and-sound show was organized at College Square that wove Tagore creations like ‘Malini’, ‘Chandalika’ and ‘Notir Puja’ — that have Buddha as the central theme. The show, designed by theatre group Rupnagar, will be on for the next seven days. The event saw a large turnout of people from the community in the first public programme in Kolkata to celebrate Buddha Purnima. “Now we look forward to the Centre declaring it a national holiday. A large number of South Asian countries have already done that. India should take a cue from Bangladesh, where the heads of state make arrangements to celebrate with senior monks of different Buddhist orders,” said Bhikshu Bodhipala, head of the Dharmankur Sabha.

Members of the community along with monks in the different monasteries participated in the grand preparations for Buddha Purnima ceremonies. Giant brass statues of Lord Buddha were cleaned up and arrangement of fruits, incense sticks, candles and vegetarian food was made for mass feeding. “We encourage people from all communities to visit our monasteries and be part of our festivities. Buddha’s is a message of peace that we are here to spread,” said Hemendu Bikas Chowdhury, general secretary of the Sabha and vice-president of the Society.

Monks and community members will visit Moghalmari, near Dantan in West Midnapur, on Wednesday morning. This is where a 5th century Buddhist vihara is being gradually unearthed by the state archaeology department. The excavation started in the early part of the last decade and it is assumed it might date back to the post-Gupta period.

“This is an extremely prestigious excavation and would have changed the history of ancient Bengal as we know it. However, it is unfortunate that the excavation has stopped because necessary permissions are not coming from the Archaeological Survey of India. On the occasion on Buddha Purnima, we appeal to the ASI to help start the excavation. It is of great significance to Buddhists and we hope that the work starts soon,” Chowdhury added.

A documentary film on Moghalmari, made by Abhishek Ganguly, will be screened thereafter. The celebrations will end with an all-faiths meet in the city.

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3 years after bifurcation, AP still waits for its share of antiquities

Sulogna Mehta | TNN | Updated: May 18, 2017, 02.23 PM IST

VISAKHAPATNAM: At a time when museums are coming up in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts, the one in the port city is hit by acute manpower shortage. Moreover, three years have passed since the bifurcation of AP, but thousands of antiquities belonging to AP including lakhs of coins are yet to be divided between the two states and still remains with the State Archaeology Museum in Hyderabad.

“Work is under way to set up a district archaeology museum at Vizianagaram, opposite the joint collector’s bungalow. The building is complete and we are expecting it to be inaugurated within a couple of months,” K Chitti Babu, assistant director of department of archaeology and museums, said, adding that apart from three galleries, the museum will also house a ‘Hall of Fame’ and portraits of eminent personalities and royalties from Vizianagaram.

The galleries will showcase prehistoric and excavated materials from Buddhist sites, bronze sculptures, and coinages belonging to various dynasties including those belonging to the Satavahanas, Romans and colonial era, Chitti Babu said.

“The museum will require funds worth Rs 22-24 lakh, which is being released in a phased manner. There has also been a proposal to set up another museum in the old Dutch building in Srikakulam,” he added. However, the museum in the port city has acute staff shortage. “We need at least 20-25 employees including night tourist guides, administrative and clerical staff and attendants,” Chitti Babu said and referred to another problem faced by the archaeology museums in AP.

“Thousands of objet d’art excavated or found in AP have not been divided region-wise and hence they cannot be displayed in the state archaeology museums. After bifurcation, a committee was supposed to be constituted for dividing the antiquities between the two states and proposal was sent to the government from the archaeology department to constitute this body, but still it has not materialised,” he added.

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