Tea House

Daily Perspectives and Stories on Buddhist Trends, People, and Ideas

Month: January 2017

Postcard from Raymond: The View from Afar

Artist Pablo Carlos Budassi has put together a stunning “logarithmic scale conception” of the observable Universe, with the Solar System at the centre. Thanks to discoveries by physicists, mathematicians, and many others in the 20th century, we know that time and space are interrelated, and that the universe is expanding every second, with galaxies, stars, and planets racing apart from each other.

But what lies at the event horizon, beyond the universe (the white space beyond the cosmos’s border? A blank whiteness? Many more universes? Personally, I believe the Buddhas’ traceless cosmic fields lie in the unseen, visible only to those who have attained Buddhahood.

Explore more with us at BDG, your doorway to the Buddhist world and your source for Dharma journalism. Join our BDG Group and brighten up your week with more postcards and light snippets of spiritual reflections!

What to Look Forward to This Year

Raymond Lam

Our BDG contributors and columnists, our Tea House bloggers, and I wish you a very happy new year (both Gregorian and Lunar!), and all the best of health and happiness for 2017.

As I’m writing this, Donald Trump has moved into the Oval Office, fresh off his inauguration ceremony as president of the US. At Davos, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, unveiled a new vision of China’s leadership role as a fulcrum of stability and maturity in an unstable world. Theresa May is preparing for the UK’s greatest peacetime challenge in a generation: the act of leaving the EU. The world waits with bated breath for whatever will rapidly follow on from these landmark events. Few other periods in human history have been more interesting (be it exciting or frightening) to live in.

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Nina Müller

Inspired by the Tittha Sutta

The night was still and fresh, and not a sound was to be heard—a perfect time for the first snowflake to make its appearance, and soon it was followed by many more until the whole village was wrapped up in winter’s soft embrace.

But as the sun rose and the first shutters opened onto the village square, it was not the snow that got the villagers running out of their homes but the curious mystery that had arrived with it that night. For in the middle of the square stood a gigantic, rectangular parcel that towered above every single rooftop. That it was a parcel was clear, for it was enveloped in white silk and long, golden ribbons shimmered down its sides. What was not so clear was how it had landed there—for not a single footprint surrounded it, and yet it must have arrived after the snowfall because its spectacular wrapping remained intact.

A meeting had been called between the village elders as soon as they were alerted of the mystery and it had been unanimously agreed that this was a matter for the armed forces. Unfortunately, despite the urgency of the situation, it would be at least a day before the required forces could be dispatched to the village and so—for the remainder of the day—the parcel stood tall and silent, dominating the square.

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Building a Community of Buddhist Studies Students at Fo Guang University, Taiwan

BD Dipananda

Ven. Shi Huifeng delivering the concluding speech at the conference. Photo from the FGU website

On 17 December last year, I travelled with a group of post graduate students and researchers from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to a Buddhist conference. This was the 2016 Buddhist Studies Graduates Students’ Conference organized by the Department of Buddhist Studies of the Fo Guang University (FGU), also known as the Buddha’s Light University, situated in a lush hilly terrain of Yilan County in Taiwan.

I learned a lot from the Conference and was able to explore some important aspects of Buddhism development in Taiwan.

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Art and the Language of Change

Grace Ko

Simone Boon, “Promising Red,” 2010, Photography

What kind of language is art? Every time I read the gatha in Diamond Sutra, “Thus shall you think of this fleeting world: a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream; a flash of lightning in a summer cloud; a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream,” I think of Dutch artist Simone Boon’s photography. Her unearthly images seem to visually express this gatha.

Viewing art is like opening up another sensory channel that hones an artist’s view of the world. Everyone’s sensory channel and how we interpret the world is different. A few years ago, when I saw Boon’s first series of photographic stills. I found the work stunning, but also eerie. The figures in these photographs of females who move into the abstract blurs look like spirits.

For Boon, she was trying to explore other types of photography to present the idea that, “form is only a snapshot view of transition,” — a statement from French philosopher’s Henri Bergson. Her aim is to capture human essence that forms in relation to patterns in a flow of becoming. The flowing essence of humans can be attuned to the changing rhythms of reality. It is not in the everyday images we see.

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