Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

Welcome to Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘The Buddha’

The Buddha As Icon

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2011

By Michael Brenner, Senior Fellow, the Center for Transatlantic Relations; Professor of International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

This is the season when religious symbolism is prominent — especially in the Christian world. We tend to assume that similar symbols figure in the same manner in other religions. That is not so. Buddhism is the notable example of why.

The Buddha image is the most exceptional of religious icons. Its aesthetic is unique. Sculptures, paintings and photos have made it as familiar as portraits of Jesus on the cross. Ubiquity, though, has voided it of mystery and meaning. For stylistic simplicity makes it all too easy to miss the refinements of expression that convey the essence of Buddhist cosmology. The observer thereby fails to grasp its value as an aid to meditation as well.

In the first centuries after Siddhartha’s death, the emergent spiritual movement that was early Buddhism created no images of their guide. That was not due to any prohibition on physical representations such as that laid down in Islam against depictions of Allah or Mohammed. Rather, it reflected two cardinal features of Siddhartha and the religion that he inspired. Paramount is the central fact that he was not a prophet, did not see himself as a prophet and was not viewed as a prophet by his disciples. Comparisons with the prophetic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism are quite beside the point. The Buddha did not claim to be a messenger for an anthropomorphic god or have special access to any sort of Supreme Being. Indeed, unlike the Hindu sages of his times he never affirmed the existence of a universal spirit or immanent consciousness. In other words, his perspective deviates from the core Vedic concepts of the individual atman as an emanation of the universal brahman. That distinction was the theological difference that has separated the two great Indian religions. Read the rest of this entry »

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PBS Aired the Video “The Buddha” With Mixed Information

Posted by worldamity on April 8, 2010

The PBS in USA aired the Buddha Documentary I part last  night. There were lots of campaigns against PBS suggesting either to stop airing the video or to correct the wrong information about Buddha in the video. Specially the campaigns were concentrated in International Social Network Facebook.  It  is airing II part tonight. It aired  last night with mixed  information. It says both ‘his mother, a queen of small Indian kingdom“, ‘great Indian sage’ and “In Southern Nepal, at the foot of the Himalayas, is one of the world’s holiest places, Lumbini where, according to the sacred tales, the Buddha was born.The campaigners were optimistic with their campaigns as PBS is considered as reputed company, however; due to the time constrain money matter seemed to be more important than the factual information to PBS as well.

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An Open Letter to PBS

Posted by worldamity on April 2, 2010

The David Grubin Productions,
125 West 94th Street, New York, NY 10025

Dear Sir,

Many thanks for making a documentary film on the Buddha, the Prince of Peace and Compassion. We would particularly like to thank the award-wining filmmaker David Grubin for making a film on such a matter of profound significance. We also understand the film is being aired by PBS – Public Broadcasting Service – on April 7th, 2010 with its nearly 360 member stations all over the United States of America and 110 million people through their local stations and nearly 19 million people online are expected to watch it.

We also watched the posted preview trailer of the film which starts with a fairly nice background of how the Buddha was conceived by his mother. There we heard a narrator as saying, ‘the Buddha was born in a small Indian kingdom’. Read the rest of this entry »

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