The Monologue of Ice, by Atta Kim

July 30, 2013

The Monologue of Ice: Four Days, Spring Picnic, by Atta Kim.

This is from 2011, but you may have missed it. The installation, in the Rubin Museum, NYC, was by Atta Kim, who is a South Korean photographer (born in 1956) who has been active since the mid-1980s.

As the work melted, visitors were encouraged to touch the ice and take away non-potable water from the pool on their way out of the museum, using small glass containers that were provided. It was the artist’s intention that the collected water be used to continue the cycle of renewal by watering a plant.

This installation was a beautiful illustration of impermanence, insubstantiality, and interconnectedness.

Appearance/Emptiness, by Sukhi Barber

May 27, 2013



Sukhi Barber was born in Hertfordshire, England. From an early age she was drawn to the classical and ancient traditions of art and philosophy, which led her to undertake a traditional sculptural training at The City and Guilds of London Art School. There she gained a firm grasp of figurative clay modeling and life drawing, graduating in 1995 with the prize for sculpture, and a scholarship from Madame Tussauds.

After graduation Sukhi traveled to India, captivated by the timeless quality of peace and balance that she found in Asian art. Settling in Kathmandu, Nepal, she spent the next twelve years studying Buddhist philosophy and producing sculptures based on the traditional techniques of stone carving and … Read more »

Ancient Buddhas, modern peril

December 24, 2012

Andrew Lawler, New York Times: When the Taliban blasted the famous Bamiyan Buddhas with artillery and dynamite in March 2001, leaders of many faiths and countries denounced the destruction as an act of cultural terrorism. But today, with the encouragement of the American government, Chinese engineers are preparing a similar act of desecration in Afghanistan: the demolition of a vast complex of richly decorated ancient Buddhist monasteries.

The offense of this Afghan monument is not idolatry. Its sin is to sit atop one of the world’s largest copper deposits.

The copper at the Mes Aynak mine, just an hour’s drive south of Kabul, is …

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How should we think about Bamiyan?

December 17, 2012

Leanne Ogasawara, 3QuarksDaily: There was recently mention in the media of a religious extremist in Egypt calling for the destruction of the pyramids. I first heard talk of this last summer — around the time that the shrines in Timbuktu were destroyed.

Holy hoax or not, I could not help but think of Bamiyan.

I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the moment I learned that the Taliban had blown up the Buddhist statues of Bamiyan.

Sitting in the backseat of a car in Los Angeles in 2001, we were stopped at a traffic light. The radio news mentioned it …

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Ancient site needs saving not destroying

November 4, 2012

Brent Huffman, CNN: Please bear with me as I ask you to briefly use your imagination. Close your eyes. Imagine Machu Picchu at dawn cloaked in fog. Now imagine the fog slowly lifting to reveal an enormous ancient city perched on the edge of a mountain.

Picture a sense of mystery being immersed in thousands of years of history as you walk between antiquated hewn stone structures. There is tranquility in the wind-blown stillness of the primeval site. You feel a renewed sense of kinship with the past and with your ancestors and feel a deep reverence for their lives and accomplishments …

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His Holiness the Karmapa: The technology of the heart

October 13, 2012

The name “Karmapa” means “the one who carries out Buddha-activity,” and for seventeen lifetimes, a karmapa has embodied the teachings of Buddha in tibet. The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was born a nomad in Tibet in 1985 and recognized by the Dalai Lama in 1992 as the 17th Karmapa. The young boy was brought to the Tsurphu monastery to live and study for his life as a spiritual teacher and activist.

At age 14, he made a daring flight from Tibet, and now works from a temporary camp in Dharamsala, near his friend the Dalai Lama. (After the Dalai Lama, he’s seen as Tibetan Buddhism’s second-highest-ranking spiritual leader, though the two men lead … Read more »

Buddhist statue with Nazi connections discovered to be made from a meteorite

September 26, 2012

It sounds like an artifact from an Indiana Jones film; a 1000 year-old ancient Buddhist statue which was first recovered by a Nazi expedition in 1938 has been analysed by scientists and has been found to be carved from a meteorite. The findings, published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, reveal the priceless statue to be a rare ataxite class of meteorite.

The statue, known as the Iron Man, weighs 10kg and is believed to represent a stylistic hybrid between the Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Bon culture that portrays the deity Vaiśravana, the Buddhist King of the North, also known as Kuberu, and as Jambhala in Tibet.

The statue was discovered in 1938 by an expedition of … Read more »

French tourists guilty in Sri Lanka over Buddha photos

August 21, 2012

Charles Haviland, BBC: A Sri Lankan court has given suspended jail terms to three French tourists for wounding the religious feelings of Buddhists by taking pictures deemed insulting.

Two women and one man were detained in the southern town of Galle after a photographic laboratory alerted police.

The pictures show the travellers posing with Buddha statues and pretending to kiss one of them.

Most of Sri Lanka’s majority ethnic Sinhalese are Theravada Buddhist.

Mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is strictly taboo in the country. The incident is alleged to have taken place at a temple in central Sri Lanka.

Website posting
Police spokesman …

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Bamiyan Buddhas: Should they be rebuilt?

August 13, 2012

Stephanie Hegarty, BBC: The destruction of Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001 led to global condemnation of the Taliban regime. But the decision by Unesco not to rebuild them has not put an end to the debate about their future.

When the Taliban were at the height of their power in Afghanistan, leader Mullah Omar waged a war against idolatry.

His biggest victims, in size as well as symbolism, were two standing stone Buddhist statues. Once the largest in the world – one measured 55 metres in height – they were carved into the sandstone cliff face of the Bamiyan valley in central Afghanistan during the 6th Century …

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Ancient Buddha attacked by Taliban in Pakistan gets facelift thanks to Italian archaeologist

June 28, 2012

When the Taliban blew the face off a towering, 1,500-year-old rock carving of Buddha in northwest Pakistan almost five years ago, it fell to an intrepid Italian archaeologist to come to the rescue.

Thanks to the efforts of Luca Olivieri and his partners, the 6-meter (nearly 20-foot)-tall image near the town of Jahanabad is getting a facelift, and many other archaeological treasures in the scenic Swat Valley are being excavated and preserved.

Hard-line Muslims have a history of targeting Buddhist, Hindu and other religious sites they consider heretical to Islam. Six months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Taliban shocked the world by …

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