Tag Archives: buddha

A sacred thangkha, commissioned by the 8th Dalai Lama, on rare display

-1On Friday, the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena will open an exhibit called In the Land of Snow: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas.  The centerpiece of this show is a majestic thangkha, 300 years old, 22 feet tall and 16 feet wide, that was commissioned by the 8th Dalai Lama for his tutor.  You must see it in person to believe it.

Click here to read and hear the story I did for KCRW about the history of this rare piece, which has only been shown twice in the last 40 years (and not much before that.)  The curator, Melody Rod-Ari, does a beautiful job of explaining how the thangkha was made, and why it’s relevant–and powerful for your karma.

There are other Buddhist artifacts on display, too, but they are dwarfed, literally and figuratively by the scroll and its unusual display.




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How not to treat the Buddha

Buddha backlash

After 9-11, when even a pizza delivery box was adorned with a giant American flag, I got a bit disgusted by how disrespectfully that symbol was being deployed (all in the name of patriotism.)

Same deal now with the Buddha.

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The #Buddha in a Tree at Wat Mahathat by @JesseKalisher

The great and enterprising photographer Jesse Kalisher lives in North Carolina (I’m envious) and posts his work, with a story, from time to time. Years back he did a wonderful book of photos of Buddha.”

He writes, in part:

“In 2006, I returned to Thailand for my third time. Since my previous visit, I’d learned about this Buddha embedded into a sacred bodhi tree. Had the tree grown around the Buddha head? Had the Buddha been inserted into the tree when the tree was young or when the tree was mature? I had no idea, but it didn’t matter much. I had to see the Buddha and its tree for myself.

To get to see this Buddha took little more than a small dose of determination and the better part of a day. Step one, make my way the central Bangkok train station. Step two, avoid the hustlers, buy my own ticket to Ayutthaya and then settle in for the journey that’s little more than an hour. Once there, it’s a lazy mile walk through town to the old capital where stands a collection of intriguing ruins. From 1351 to 1767 this was the center of a Siamese empire…..”

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