Jon Kolkin’s “Inner Harmony: Living in Balance” – Visual Stories from the Heart of Asia

Dr. Jon Kolkin’s photographic volume Inner Harmony: Living in Balance exudes creative ambition and heart. A cursory look at the time it took for him to compile this collection of images – seventeen extended visits to Asia from 2007 to 2018 – attests to the time, patience, and toil that the distinguished and globe-trotting creator […]

Frederik L. Schodt’s “My Heart Sutra: A World in 260 Characters”

The pithy Heart Sutra is celebrated as perhaps the most profound Mahayana Buddhist scripture that remains relatively famous and accessible, frequently appearing not just onstage at pop stars’ concerts in China but also referenced in East Asian films and Japanese manga. For forty years, this Buddhist text has hung on the bedroom wall of Frederik […]

Mongolia’s Buddhist Diplomacy and India’s Union of Religious and Foreign Policy

The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), along with Indian, Japanese, and Mongolian partners, hosted its third Samvad (which, in Hindi, means “dialogue”) conference in Ulaanbaatar over last Friday and the weekend. As reported in BDG’s news article on the conclave, Mongolian political and religious leaders took this event very seriously. In his closing speech on the […]

A Circle of Buddhist Democracies: India’s Buddhist Strategy for Asia

In May’s Indian elections, PM Narendra Modi’s BJP fared considerably well, indirectly securing a mandate for its Buddhist diplomacy. This “quiet” exercise of power began several years ago in September 2015, with the Vivekananda International Foundation’s (VIF) first Samvad conference. For this event we were taken to the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, […]

Myanmar: Another Square on the Buddhist Chessboard

From 5-6 August, the Vivekananda Foundation and the Tokyo Foundation will be hosting the second Samvad conference* at Sitagu International Buddhist Academy (SIBA), Yangon. I reported on Samvad’s first symposium two years ago in New Delhi, and it was then that it became clear India’s government was trying to manoeuvre among different Asian countries – […]