Buddhism and Today: Ancient Principles, Contemporary Conscience

Buddhism. It’s a millennia-long religious story that begins at Lumbini, at the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal, where the historical Buddha, Prince Siddhartha Gautama, was born. There, he lived in comfort, until, the legend tells us, he was motivated to begin his journey to Buddhahood after seeing a white-haired, wrinkled old man dressed in […]

Why Hindutva Ideology Will Obstruct Indian Buddhist Diplomacy

  It was relatively recently in 2014 that Indian PM Narendra Modi went on an all-out charm offensive to Buddhists domestically and globally, appearing alongside Asian leaders at Buddhist sites during international trips and appearing personally at Bodh Gaya in September 2015 at the invitation of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC). While activities related to […]

The Right Balance: Negotiating Buddhist Power in Sri Lanka

After a mob attacked a UN safe house for Rohingya refugees on 26 September near the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne came out with some of the strongest public words I’ve seen leveled by a Buddhist public servant against fellow, self-proclaimed Buddhists. “As a Buddhist I am ashamed at what happened,” […]

Conference: “The Inexplicable and the Unfathomable: China and Britain, 1600–1900”

The “Chinese character seems at present inexplicable,” observed Lord Macartney during his celebrated embassy to China in the 1790s, while the Chinese themselves at this time often described “western ocean barbarians” as “unfathomable.” The failure of Macartney’s embassy is well known, not least the Emperor Qianlong’s dismissive comment that “we possess all things. I set […]