Friday, April 5, 2013

Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World (video)

Bettany Hughes (, BBC; Wisdom Quarterly; CambodiaChannel

Every thing that arises falls away (raafayawan)
In this fascinating exploration, historian Bettany Hughes travels to the Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World and offers a unique insight into one of the most ancient belief systems still practiced today.

Buddhism began 2,600 years ago when one human sat under an amazing internal revelation underneath an amazing pipal tree (Ficus religiosa) in an Indian forest. Today it is practiced by over 350 million people worldwide [not counting the 1,000,000,000 Buddhists in nominally "communist" unofficially capitalist China], with numbers continuing to grow year over year.

In an attempt to gain a better understanding of the different teachings and practices that form the core of Buddhist philosophy and investigate how Buddhism started and where it has traveled to, Hughes visits some of the most spectacular monuments built by Buddhist artisans across the globe.
The gentle kindness of the enlightenment (WQ)
Her journey begins at the "Great Enlightenment" temple (Mahabodhi) in India, where Buddhism was born; here Hughes examines the foundations of Buddhism -- the Three Gems: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

At Nepal's Boudhanath Stupa, she looks deeper into the concept of Dharma -- the teaching of Buddha. At the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka, Hughes explores karma, the universal law that our intentional acts will come to fruition when they get the opportunity.

Panoramic view of Boudhanath stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal (David Humpohl)
At Wat Pho Monastery in Thailand, Hughes explores samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death which Buddhists seek to end by achieving enlightenment (bodhi). She then travels to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to learn more about the practice of meditation (bhavana, zen, dhyana, jhana, ch'an, seon).
In Hong Kong, Hughes visits the Giant Buddha and looks more closely at Zen, before arriving at the final wonder, the massive Hsi Lai ("Going West" Temple in Los Angeles, to discover more about the ultimate goal of all Buddhists -- nirvana (final emancipation).

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