Buddhist art, ancient and 21st century

Somewhere between Facebook, Twitter, and web surfing, I came across this article and slideshow about an exhibit of Buddhist art in Hong Kong.

The show juxtaposes ancient and modern Buddhist art, drawing on the Rockefeller collection of Asian art and works by modern artists.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is probably the single most influential individual on the face of this earth in terms of the number of lives touched and awakened toward peace.

Like Jesus, so much has been attributed to the Buddha and projected onto him that the actual man might be nonplussed  if he could come back and see the religion he founded now.

(I think of spiritual masters like the Buddha and Jesus as having so much equanimity that the word horrified wouldn’t apply to them. That’s my projection.)

Many people, including me, have Buddhist art in their homes. That serene face, the eyes half or completely closed in introspection, sends an energy into a room of peacefulness, equanimity, compassion, and presence, and reminds me that those treasures lie within.

From the Asia Society’s website:

Transforming Minds: Buddhism in Art showcases Buddhist works from the world-renowned Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art along with contemporary works by leading Asian and Asian American artists that draw inspiration from one of the world’s great religions.


Wall Street Journal (!) says yoga benefits kids

It’s surprising when a conservative, financial newspaper like the Wall Street Journal touts the benefits of yoga — much less for school children — but here’s a link to the article.

A few quotes:

A 2003 study by California State University, Los Angeles found that yoga improved students’ behavior, physical health and academic performance, as well as attitudes toward themselves. That same year, Leipzig University reported that yoga reduces feelings of helplessness and aggression, and in the long term helps emotional balance. The benefits of yoga are particularly strong among children with special needs, research shows….

In January, Paul Ecke Central Elementary School in Southern California added yoga to its curriculum for 650 students at $20,000 a year. Principal Adriana Chavarin says she has seen how calm and centered students are after practicing the techniques. At a recent assembly, students were getting restless as they sat on the floor. Then a few sixth graders spontaneously led the rest in yoga poses and breathing exercises.

“Every kid in the audience quieted down,” says David Miyashiro, the district superintendent. “It’s a different language they all speak now.”

Click the link to read more, including the obligatory “opposing view,” which is kind of hilarious.

And for the record, I don’t think OM is a religious word. It’s a word in an ancient language that means “everything that is,” or existence. How is that religious?