Meditating figures in HelsinkiRead More
Monks in a waterfall
This gorgeous photograph was taken at the Pongua Falls in Vietnam, by the talented photographer Dang Ngo.
Check out Dang’s site, where this image is available for sale.
Images of mindfulness
Phatarawadee Phataranawik, The Nation: BACC show communicates the truths of dharma.
Fashion photographer and avid dharma practitioner Punsiri Siriwetchapun believes there is little difference between working on his art and meditation.
“The teaching of Lord Buddha seeks to achieve the cessation of suffering. The way to undo suffering is to explore the causes as they manifest themselves in our own bodies and minds in order to understand their origins. It’s the same with my art. I search within myself to convey my thoughts. My art presents my inner self,” says Punsiri who has been practising dharma for more than a decade.
Punsiri has teamed up with three fellow artists for the devotional exhibition “No Absolute Truth in the Universe”…
A vision of peace in Burma
meditation on peace by Alamsyah Rauf
There’s been so much bad news from Burma recently, with Buddhist monks advocating violence against the Muslim minority and being attacked by security forces as they tried to prevent the expansion of a Chinese copper mine, that I thought I’d post this lovely image of a Burmese boy monk meditating.
The photographer, Alamsyah Rauf, says that he used a 1/5th second exposure on a tripod to blur the water a little yet keep the monk sharp. Do visit his page, and if you like the photograph then consider supporting the artist by buying a copy.
Tibetan sky burial photographs
An astonishing series of photographs of a Tibetan “sky burial,” where a corpse is cut up and fed to vultures, with the remains being pounded into dust, has been viewed almost three quarters of a million times in 24 hours.
The images (view here) are very graphic, but as Justin Whitaker says, “As a poignant reminder of the impermanence of this body, they’re worth viewing.”
According to Wikipedia, in Tibet the practice is known as jhator, which means “giving alms to the birds.”
Sky burial is traditional in Tibet, where the ground is too rocky for interment to be practical, and where a lack of wood makes cremation unfeasible.
This kind of burial is a kind of meditation in itself. There’s long been a tradition in Buddhism of using corpses in order to reflect on impermanence and to reduce attachment to the human form. For example, in order to develop mindfulness the monk is encouraged to see his own body in the following way…
..as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground, picked at by crows, vultures, & hawks, by dogs, hyenas, & various other creatures… a skeleton smeared with flesh & blood, connected with tendons… a fleshless skeleton smeared with blood, connected with tendons… a skeleton without flesh or blood, connected with tendons… bones detached from their tendons, scattered in all directions — here a hand bone, there a foot bone, here a shin bone, there a thigh bone, here a hip bone, there a back bone, here a rib, there a breast bone, here a shoulder bone, there a neck bone, here a jaw bone, there a tooth, here a skull… the bones whitened, somewhat like the color of shells… piled up, more than a year old… decomposed into a powder: He applies it to this very body, ‘This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate.’
By contrast, Western funeral practices tend to be very sanitized, to the point where many people have never seen a corpse. It’s almost as if we don’t want to think about our own morality, even at funerals.
By contrast, the Buddha suggested that we reflect often on the facts that we are prone to old age, sickness, and death. The point of this was not to induce depression, but to help us remember that our time here is brief, so that we make good use of it. Reflecting, for example, that we do not have much time with our loved ones can help us appreciate them more, and argue with them less. Remembering that our lives are short encourages us to make our lives meaningful.
Buddha statue, Nagaloka
A photograph of a Buddha statue at Nagaloka Buddhist Center in Portland, Maine, taken when I was leading a workshop there a few weeks ago.
Gandharan Buddha seated in meditation, Seattle Asian Art Museum
Another Greco-Indian statue from Gandhara.
Notice the beautiful carved base, which itself contains three Buddha figures along with attendants.
Buddha image, Seattle Buddhist Center
I took this detail of a Tibetan Thangka painting on my iPhone at the Seattle Buddhist Center just before doing a workshop on the Satipatthana Sutta with the men’s sangha there tonight.
Last night I gave a talk and led a meditation at the Buddha Day celebrations, where we commemorate the Buddha’s enlightenment.
Bodhisattva at the Seattle Asian Art Museum
I snapped this on my iPhone yesterday at Seattle’s Asian Art Museum. The pose and style of the statue look Greco-Roman because they are. It’s a Gandharan statue of the Buddha before his enlightenment, when he was still the “Bodhisatta.”
Gandhara, now in Pakistan, was in the Classical Greek sphere of interest, and it’s where the first Buddha images were made.