In a recent interview, the exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhism conceded that he may be the very last to hold the title. The reason, it would appear, has as much to do with metaphysics as it does with Chinese meddling.
Love it or hate it, the world's religions are in no danger of disappearing any time soon. But that doesn't mean religious and spiritual sensibilities aren't going to evolve. To learn more about religion's future, we talked to Michael LaTorra. By day, he's a mild-mannered Assistant Professor of English at New Mexico…
Mummification is a fascinating way to preserve a person's remains, whether to be worshipped or because they're planning on using that body at a later date. But some people have gone to incredible lengths to prepare their own bodies for mummification while they were still alive.
It's considered a Japanese national treasure, but the colors on an 8th century statue of the Buddhist deity Shukongojin have all but faded. Now, using computer graphics technology, a joint team from Tokyo has brought its vivid colors back to life.
A dig at the suspected birthplace of the Buddha has led to the discovery of an unknown timber structure beneath a series of brick temples. Remarkably, it's the first known archaeological evidence linking the life of the Buddha to a specific century.
Back in September the Dalai Lama told his Facebook friends that "grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate," and that religion alone cannot foster values such as integrity and compassion. Since that time, the Tibetan Buddhist leader has taken his somewhat surprising message on the road, and is now calling…
One of the classic kids' anime shows that made its way across the Pacific was Monkey Magic, and it was full of fighting, jokes . . . and very deep lessons about philosophy and ethics. I love this one in particular, where Monkey meets Buddha, and learns that he is but a puny dot in the universe occupied by Buddha,…
As many media outlets are reporting today, an analysis of an ancient statue uncovered by Nazis in 1938 shows that it was carved from a meteorite fragment. Dating back to the 11th century, the priceless "iron man" sculpture (cue the music) weighs 10kg and is believed to be the very first carving of a human in a…
This past Monday, people who have the Dalai Lama as a Facebook friend found this little gem in their newsfeed.
In the tiny landlocked Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, the unique aesthetic tradition of painting erect penises on architecture — a tradition that has persisted for over 500 years — is finally receiving attention on a global scale. Yes, from the mountains to the valleys, Bhutan is covered with disembodied doodles.
The Buddhist cave temples of Xiangtangshan were damaged over the centuries by souvenir-seekers, but researchers at the University of Chicago and Peking University have managed to reconstruct the cave's fractured sculptures digitally. Watch them do so in this video.
Some Taoist and Buddhist funerary traditions involve the bereaved burning facsimiles of household items so the dead can enjoy their use in the afterlife. Consequently, there are shops in Asia devoted to the sale of flammable, fake consumer products.
At the Wat Rong Khun Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand, Batman, Ultraman, and other scifi stalwarts are inexplicably hanging out in religious paintings. I'm no religion scholar, but something tells me the Predator never factored into Siddhartha Gautama's teachings.[Spotted on . Additional photos via .]
SF writer Lavie Tidhar has just published the first installments of his online serial "Jesus & The Eightfold Path," which imagines what would have happened if the "three wise men" of the New Testament nativity story had actually been Buddhists.