A survey conducted last year found that the Pope is the most recognizable religious figure in the world. The second most recognizable is the Dalai Lama. The Pope’s high profile is understandable given that he is the head of 1.2 … Read the rest

King Asoka is widely acknowledged to be one of the most unusual, not to say one of the greatest, monarchs of all time. And it was Buddhism that made him so. He is also the first Indian king for which … Read the rest

Myths have an important role in most religions. The very basis of some religions is a myth. Most of these myths were unconscious, i.e. they self-evolved through misapprehension and hearsay, and they were kept alive by devotion and gullibility and … Read the rest

The Manchus who ruled China from 1644 to 1912 were strong believers in and generous patrons of Tibetan Buddhism. Various Manchu emperors sponsored and promoted the religion in various ways and one emperor had the whole Tipitaka newly edited, published … Read the rest

The Buddha’s contribution to human knowledge was primarily focused on ethics and to the analysis of consciousness; its contents, its workings and to how it could be harnessed and transformed. He also had an indirect influence on the development of … Read the rest

The Buddha founded the bhikkhu and bhikkuniSangha to offer the optimum environment in which to pursue the highest spiritual goal, attaining Nirvana. However, from almost the very beginning some have been attracted to the Sangha for very different reasons … Read the rest

Within hours of a person’s death their body begins to deteriorate. The first sign is the swelling of the abdomen as gasses build up in the stomach. Soon the cells break down and putrefaction sets in producing a foul odour. … Read the rest

It is said that the world’s most beloved flower is the rose and the second-most loved is the lotus. Found from northern China and Korea all the way through south, south-east and east Asia and down to northern Australia, the … Read the rest

Sibi is a small rural town in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province and like many such places it has little to recommend it. It is occasionally the scene of terrorist attacks by Balochi separatists, it has no forts, palaces or ancient ruins … Read the rest

In some sense Anagarika Dharmapala can be seen as the first modern Buddhist. For all its emphasis on change (anicca) Buddhists at the end of the 19th century were still locked in the past, content to do what had always … Read the rest