Perfect Vision

The following is an excerpt from Sangharakshita "Vision and Transformation" where he expounds on The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. This is his explanation of the first of the eight steps on the path. I found it interesting because here he communicates it through a series of images rather than concepts. So what is this Perfect Vision? One … Continue reading Perfect Vision

A guide to Buddhist hand gestures

Buddhist art frequently depicts Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other deities with their hands forming a number of different ritualised and stylised gestures (Mudras). They may be holding different objects as well within these gestures. Each by itself and in combination with others have specific meanings. Some of the more common ones are depicted below. One of … Continue reading A guide to Buddhist hand gestures

Understanding Zen Ritual

The following excerpt is taken from "Zen Ritual: Studies of Zen Buddhist Theory in Practice" edited by Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright. It provides an informative counterbalance to the western perception that Zen is inherently anti-ritualistic. "That Zen life is overwhelmingly a life of ritual would not always have been so obvious to Westerners interested … Continue reading Understanding Zen Ritual

John Keenan on The Emptiness of Christ

Some reflections by John P. Keenan on The Emptiness of Christ : The scriptural words of and about Jesus likewise describe him as empty of essence. [The] function of doctrine in Mahayana theology is not to communicate a body of information about God, but to engender a sense of the presence of God beyond all words. It is impossible … Continue reading John Keenan on The Emptiness of Christ

Western Buddha, Eastern Jesus

More and more I find language of "eastern religion" and "western religion" superficial and outmoded, if not down right ignorant and misleading. For starters, both Christianity and Buddhism are "world religions" that transcended their ancestral homes millennia ago. But more, their demographic centres of gravity are shifting, to the point where western Buddhism and eastern Christianity … Continue reading Western Buddha, Eastern Jesus

Dhammapada

Not overly impressed by the Dhammapada ... which I finally got around to finishing this evening. Very repeatative. Lots of do bad and you'll be damned, do good and you'll be blessed kind of stuff. Like the book of Proverbs without the essential grace aspect. Not nearly as interesting as the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā by Nagarjuna. I suppose … Continue reading Dhammapada

An Introduction to Pure Land Buddism

The following extract is from "River of Fire, River of Water: An Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin Buddhism" by Taitetsu Unno. Pure Land Buddhism, though relatively unknown in the West, is the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan. It emphasizes tariki or "other-power", rather than jiriki ("self-power"), which comes through entrusting oneself to Amida Buddha. … Continue reading An Introduction to Pure Land Buddism

What do Buddhist’s believe?

Following is an extract from “The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path” by Sangharakshita. I find it helpful as an introduction to Buddhism as it highlights how the Buddhist understanding of “right vision” can be understood in terms of images as well as concepts. There are two principal ways a vision can be communicated – through images … Continue reading What do Buddhist’s believe?