Tag Archives: Buddhism

U.N. to Celebrate Buddhist International Day of Vesak Tonight

United Nations, N.Y. Vesak – “Buddha’s Birthday” – is the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar, which celebrates the birth, enlightenment and the Parinirvãna (passing away) of Gautama the Buddha.  A rough approximation to Christmas for Christians.  In an era where the world is darkened by multiple conflicts and natural and man-made calamities, the Buddha’s message of non-violence, understanding, compassion […]

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My Pilgrimage Complete: Life Continues Like a Wheel

Bodh Gaya, India.  Four years ago I wrote the most-read piece of my life: Will a Vow of Poverty Fill the Void in My Soul? One of the reasons I was interested in this pilgrimage is to meet so many people who have taken a similar vow – the hundreds of thousands of monks who have descended in Bodh […]

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On the Banks of the Ganges: Reflections of a Journey in Time

Varanasi, India.  I realize this is winter in northern India just like in New York, but I had thought that India would be warmer and greener.  The countryside is often drab, so different from the vibrant rice fields of Bali.  Here, they appear to be either dusty or muddy.  I was unprepared for the cold […]

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Buddhism and the Universal Concept of Social Responsibility

Bodh Gaya, India. Studying in Japan back in college, I had a very unique Buddhist experience, one of which I did not understand until years afterwards.  I had joined a Buddhist student group that took me to the far north of Japan where we re-planted the mountainsides (“Shinnen No Mori”).  This was an international concept […]

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Rediscovering the World’s First Great University in Buddhist India

Nālandā, India.  The next stop of our pilgrimage is the ancient center of higher learning, Nālandā.  Unknown to me before in New York, the Buddhists built the first great university in recorded human history.  Established around 500 BC, it had over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers from around the world.  The library was located in a […]

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Buddhism for Beginners: Insights from a Non-Buddhist

Bodh Gaya, India. Sitting here in the media tent of His Holiness The Dalai Lama 14th in Bodh Gaya, the town where Prince Siddhartha, the Gautama Buddha – following his period of asceticism roaming the Indian countryside – sat under the Bodhi Tree and found Enlightenment, I realize I am seeing Buddhist monks from all […]

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Next Step of Indian Pilgrimage: Vultures’ Peak Where Buddha Preached

Rajgir, India.  Following several days in Bodh Gaya, where Buddha obtained enlightenment under the tree, we continue our pilgrimage to another holy site of Buddhism: Rajgir.  One of eight great places of the traditional Buddhist pilgrimage, Rajgir is located in a green valley surrounded by rocky hills. Here and nearby, especially at Vultures’ Peak, many important […]

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Following the Footsteps of the Buddha Across North East India

Americans have been flocking to India in search of enlightenment since before America was founded. Europeans, too, the conscientious objector E.M. Forster and psychoanalytic Herman Hesse among them. So my trip — my pilgrimage — to follow in the footsteps of Buddha across Northeastern India is nothing new. Except that it promises to be transformational to one person: me. […]

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Photo Courtesy of Merilee Kern

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