Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Chinese Three Legged Buddha Statue - Zhang Huan

A Three Legged Buddha modern art sculpture has been created and inaugurated by the Chinese artist Zhang Huan and is located at the Storm King Art Center just outside New York. During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960's in mainland China there were concerted attempts made by the Chinese authorities to stamp out religion and as a consequence many Buddha statues and Buddhist artifacts were destroyed.

The monumental statue is made out of pieces of these destroyed Buddha statues that were damaged and broken and conserved by Chines Buddhists and others over the preceding decades

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Buddhist Garden Videos - The Best from You Tube

As part of out Buddha Garden design series for the Buddha’s Face - I have scoured You Tube for some of my favourite Buddhist Garden and Buddhas in Garden videos. Have also of course snuck in two that I made myself. If you have any suggestion for further videos please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to have a look .Meanwhile one of my favourite clips from Peter Sellers' last movie Being There – Enjoy!

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden."-- Thomas Jefferson

The Buddha’s Face – the best site on the web for Buddha wall art and Statues

Friday, 29 October 2010

Buddhist Peace Gardens Design

The Buddha of course was a great man of peace,wisdom and compassion - it had been prophesied when he was born he would either be a great commander and leader of his nation or else a great spiritual leader. Hence the reason his father was determined to keep him within the palace walls and away from outside influences. His curiosity and desire for knowledge could not however prevent him from making the journey to the outside world and take the path towards the Bodhi tree and his enlightenment.

Once he had reached enlightenment spreading the message of peace and compassion became his life's journey - indeed he said holding on to anger is like holding a hot coal with the desire of chucking it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. Peace and non-violence lie at the heart of the Buddha's message.

Gardens are of course on the whole nature tamed , places where we come to relax and contemplate our lives or just forget ourselves for a few moments amongst the beauty of nature - so it is not surprising that Buddhist principles are applied to those of Garden Design - as part of the Buddha's Face Buddhism 101 Project I have written an article Buddhist Garden Design Considerations – Buddhist Peace Gardens.

London's best example is that garden alongside the Imperial war Museum in Lambeth London inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in May 1999 one of the stone pillars has the carved message from His Holiness :

"Conflicts and mistrust have plagued the past century, which has brought immeasurable human suffering and environmental destruction. It is in the interests of all of us on this planet that we make a joint effort to turn the next century into an era of peace and harmony." I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

New You Tube Channel - Beautiful Thailand and the Tsunami

I started to make videos way back in 2004 and did my first attempts using a product called ULEAD which I later replaced with Photodex.In those days I couldn't keep my hands off all the effects and transitions that the software allowed so am slightly embarrassed by them. I kept most of the videos on CDs and DVDs and the passage of time means they have preserved moments that I like to keep - so with that I'm mind and for when I produce videos which are about Thailand in general rather than the Buddha I upload them to The Beautiful Thailand You Tube Channel.

One of my favourite early works is the following - we holidayed in Northern Thailand for several days before deciding to end on a beach.I wanted to go to Phuket where I had been before but wife who had lived there for 5 years reminded me it was the rainy season so we spent our time on Ko Samed instead. Of course on the Boxing Day the dreadful news of what had happened started to filter through and friends and family anxiously tried to phone to check we were ok .The Tsunami had hit and lives were to change for ever. It was probably then when I started to seriously consider Buddhism as the path to follow as I observed the dignity and stoicism that the ordinary Thai people showed in the face of great adversity .

May all the souls of the departed rest in peace.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Buddhas In Gardens - Our New HD You Tube Video

To celebrate the launch of our new Buddhism 101Buddhist and Oriental garden design I have produced a new video for our dedicated You Tube channel - Buddhas in Gardens. We have collected some of the most beautiful Buddha statues and images in garden and natural settings from around the web and combined them with an ambient calming meditative soundtrack. It was of course under the Bodhi tree where the Buddha found his enlightenment over two and a half thousand years ago do it is fitting to use the contemplative Buddha image in such an environment. I do hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Buddha Statues of Bamiyan Afghanistan

Most people know that in 2001 the Taliban destroyed the huge Buddha statues carved in to the sand stone rock face at Bamiyan Afghanistan.Buddhism started in Northern India and fanned out to the neighbouring countries over the following centuries and at the time of their creation this was a flourishing Buddhist centre with over 10 monasteries and a thousand monks. At that time the area which is now Afghanistan was predominantly Buddhist hence the effort and loving craftmanship that went into creating these ancient wonders of the world. The first one was built in 507 AD and the larger one about 50 years later. This fascinating historical You Tube documentary was made in 1973 shows the site and visitors exploring this beautiful and wonderful place.

Let's hope that before long the world becomes a more peaceful place and the project to try and restore this site with international co-operation come to fruition.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.” The Buddha

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Borobodur - The Largest Ancient Buddhist Temple in the Ancient World

Borobudur was built in the 9th Century AD and survived for 500 years as an active place of Buddhist worship and devotion. However the advance of Hinduism and Islam saw the monumental temple decline and was eventually abandoned until after centuries of neglect it had become overgrown and unrecognisable.

It was rediscovered by the Victorian explorer Sir Thomas Raffles of Singaporean Raffles bar fame - who was alerted by locals to its existence and began excavations.

It has 2762 Buddha relief panels and 504 Buddha statues with the main dome surrounded by a further 73 Buddha statues and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the must see sites before I die.

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea. Buddha

Part of the Buddha's Face Buddhism 101 Project - bringing you fascinating articles about Buddhism from around the world.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Fictional Buddha Movie Trailer in HD

At the Buddha's Face we love creativity around the Buddha - especially over at You Tube where we have our own dedicated Buddha's Face You Tube channel. Whilst surfing for material for this blog I came across this lovely little HD trailer made and uploaded by a fan. It's called the Buddha Movie Trailer and he has skilfully woven together three movies - one of which is of course the Little Buddha the other two are thought to be The Last Samurai and King Arthur. A truly marvellous effort I hope the real movie gets made one day. With all these Hollywood Buddhist celebrities maybe we won't have to wait so long ...

The Buddha's Face

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhists in the World

I'm pleased to say I have finally completed the project I set out to do - to create a fun list of the Top 10 Famous Buddhists which was originally done in a much briefer version for the Buddha's Face Buddhism 101 Project. I thought I would expand it with a blog entry per person and accompany it with a picture ,quotes and a relevant video. It was a real pleasure to make and I hope you enjoy and amused and maybe even a little inspired by the messages they have to make. We have even made an exclusive video for our Buddha's Face You Tube channel to commemorate the series !

Read the accompanying essay on Buddhist celebrities on our main website.

"To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him."Buddha

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhists

1. The Dalai Lama

2. Richard Gere

3. Steven Seagal

4. Leonard Cohen

5. Harrison Ford

6. Goldie Hawn

7. George Lucas

8. Oliver Stone

9.Tina Turner

10. Una Thurman

The Buddha's Face

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 1 The Dalai Lama

Paraphrasing the Buddha slightly a jug fills drop by drop and once you’ve started something you need to go all the way. So it was with my hopefully fun series the World’s Top 10 Famous Buddhists as part of the Buddha’s Face Buddhism 101 Outreach Project that we reach the top. It is interesting that they are all Americans and with the exception of Leonard Cohen and Tina Turner all intimately connected with Hollywood. Such is our world and the influence of the Californian Dream Machine on the consciousness of the planet.

So it with great pleasure and humility to pronounce as No 1 a man who is certainly the most famous Buddhist to have lived since the Buddha walked on earth and is certainly not an American. It can come as no surprise that the No 1 position belongs to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama leader of Tibetan Buddhists and spiritual leader of Tibet. In the 75 years he has been around his kindness, presence and serenity of spirit have moved millions. He strives to find a non-violent resolution to the thorny problems of our age and is a guiding light to his people.

The Dalai Lama the most famous Buddhist who has ever lived!

Read more about the Dalai Lama at Wikipedia.

“All major religious traditions carry roughly the same message that is love, compassion and forgiveness is the most important thing and they should be part of our daily lives.”

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. “

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

The Buddha's Face

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 2 Richard Gere

Why even have the Top 10 Famous Buddhists – as a Buddhist should it matter – we are all on our personal journey following the Buddha towards enlightenment and using his teachings and the Sangha to provide the framework. So the answer is obviously no – but we are where we are in an interconnected world which has never before experienced such connectedness with information and perception of reality – and ever since Charlie Chaplin reached out silently to a globe who laughed together then movie stars are the ultimate simple uniter and spreader of messages be they good or bad.

Right that said number 2 – is a much easier and less controversial choice than the previous Steven Seagal – and is Richard Gere – the heartthrob actor who leapt to fame with his elegant performance in American Gigolo (1980) – he followed that up with roles including An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman and Chicago.

He was born in Philadelphia in 1949 and was voted the Sexiest Man Alive in 1999 and was briefly married to supermodel Cindy Crawford from 1991 to 1995. His interest in Buddhism began after a visit to Nepal in 1978. He is a passionate supporter of the Dalai Lama and like his other fellow actors in this Famous Buddhist series supports fiercely the cause of independance for Tibet.

"Everyone responds to kindness."

"Maybe the Dalai Lama is the only person who is totally honest, and even with him, he's skillful not to hurt anybody. He's skillful."

"My first encounter with Buddhist dharma would be in my early 20s. Like most young men, I was not particularly happy"

The Buddha's Face

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 3 Steven Seagal

Number 3 in the Buddha’s Face Buddhism 101 Project is probably the most controversial choice given his often violent on-screen persona and it is that of another Hollywood actor and energy drink formulator Steven Seagal. He was born in Michigan in 1952 and has had chequered film career with his most notable outings being the action blockbuster movies Under Siege (1992) and the inimitable follow up sequel Under Siege 2(1995).

Like Harrison Ford he is a keen supporter of the 14th Dalai Lama and a passionate advocate for the Free Tibet movement and is a 7th Dan black belt in Akido as well as being a talented player of the blues.

Why have him as number 3 ? Well I think it is the fact that he could have taken a darker path his personality is certainly made up that way but he chooses a spiritual journey and one in which he follows in the path of the Buddha and seeks passionately to encourage others - as he says if the bad teaches us then is the bad bad ?!

“Try to find the path of least resistance and use it without harming others. Live with integrity and morality, not only with people but with all beings.

“I have made a lot of mistakes. But I've worked hard. I have no fear of death. More important, I don't fear life.”

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 4 Leonard Cohen

At last the Buddha’s Face Buddhism 101 Project joyful journey to uncover the worlds top 10 famous Buddhists has a non-Hollywood actor amongst its alumni. It is Leonard Cohen the celebrated poet, singer and novelist.

Back in the 1960’s no seriously thoughtful hippy or dude attempting to impress women with the depth of their wisdom would have a record collection not containing at least the Best of Leonard Cohen on their shelves. Classics such as Bird on the Wire, Suzanne and Chelsea Hotel would croon out from thousands of student digs and lonely bedsits broadcasting their deepness to the world !

His trenchant lyrics and heartfelt poems and emotion have decidedly struck a chord with millions of listeners from around the world. He was born in Canada in 1934 and is noted for being reclusive shunning many of the trappings of fame and celebrity. He has been involved with Buddhism since the 1970s and was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1996.

In the 21st century he was fairly removed from the concert scene thinking him well funded for a contemplative retirement away from the limelight. However in 2005 he launched a lawsuit against his former manager when he found only $150,000 left in his retirement fund. He got back on the road with a triumphant concert tour appearing at festivals around the world in particular at the 2008 Glastonbury’s main stage to great acclaim and discovering a whole new generation of fans.

“Prayer is translation. A man translates himself into a child asking for all there is in a language he has barely mastered. “

“Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act.”

This is part of the Buddha's Face 101 Project

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 5 Harrison Ford

The Buddha said there are only two things you need to follow on the Road to Truth one is to start and two is having started go the whole way. That neatly gets us to the half-way point of the Buddha’s Face Buddhism 101 Project the World’s Most Famous Buddhists and brings us to that of the Hollywood actor (sorry in terms of celebrity they have no global peers!) Harrison Ford.

Born in 1942 he is best known for his roles in Star Wars (made by George Lucas – another Buddhist) and the Indiana Jones’s Series of movies. In fact he came to George’s attention as he was also as a struggling actor working to pay the bills by being a talented carpenter and was hired by the director to build some wooden cabinets in his Hollywood home where he promptly cast him in his film America Graffiti (1973).

His faith inspires him to do community work and he volunteered to serve food at Ground Zero following the 911 attack and regularly helps out in one of the homeless shelters in Los Angles every Thanksgiving. He is a follower of the Tibetan Dalai Lama and a passionate advocate for a Free Tibet.

“The focus and the concentration and the attention to detail that flying takes is a kind of meditation. I find it restful and engaging, and other things slip away."

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 6 Goldie Hawn

The countdown continues with the Buddha’s Face Buddhism 101 Project top 10 world’s most famous Buddhists with yet another Hollywood celebrity. (Such is the global power of Hollywood to span the world with its stars and stories!)

This time it is the comedy actress Goldie Hawn, born in 1945 and these days spending as much time behind the camera as director and producer as she does in front. It was the hit US TV show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In the 1960s that brought her to fame followed by a number of movies culminating in her role as a suicidal fiancĂ©e to Walther Matthau in Cactus Flower (1969) that brought her an Oscar.Throughout the 70s and 80s she was a regular on the screen in movies such as Shampoo (1975), The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox,(1976), Private Benjamin(1980) and Seems Like Old Times (1980).

Goldie was raised in the Jewish religion but has remarked she became involved with Buddhism in 1972 – she has said she is neither Jewish or Buddhist but is in fact a “Jewish-Buddhist” and she is passionate about teaching the Buddhist meditative practice of mindfulness to children as she believes this increases their concentration and optimism. She has set up a charity MindUp to continue to spread this practice.

“I like Buddhist thought because ….. it teaches you how to view your thoughts rather than be your thoughts.”

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 7 George Lucas

George Lucas our No 7 in the Buddha’s Face Buddhism 101 Project Top 10 Famous Buddhists will always be known for his work on the Star War movies which he has made his life’s work. Debuting with Star Wars in 1977 and following on with a number of sequels and spin-offs it is regarded as being the most lucrative movie franchise of all time. Cartoon like and simple in its moral themes of good and evil they have moved and inspired millions of moviegoers around the world and will continue to do for decades to come. May the Force be with you !

Makes you wonder how the Buddha managed to get his message down to us today spanning a period of over 2500 years and in the first few decades after his death only to be carried by the oral repetition of the early monks !

The timeless problems of being human remain the same.

“I was raised Methodist. Now let's say I'm spiritual. It's Marin County. We're all Buddhists up here.”

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 8 Oliver Stone

The Buddha’s Face Buddhism 101 Project continues the countdown on the world’s most famous Buddhists with the celebrated and controversial 64 year old Hollywood Director Oliver Stone occupying the number 8 Slot. Oliver Stone was a combat soldier in the Vietnam War and so saw and death and destruction at first hand – experiences that are dramatically and realistically portrayed in what is considered by many to be his best film Platoon (1986). He reprised them in two later films Born on the Fourth of July (1989) and Heaven and Earth (1993).

“I'm a student of Buddhism, but don't consider me a good one necessarily.”

“We live our lives in layers, I think, and the most important layer is the spiritual layer, but we lose sight of that when we're under a lot of stress."

“I've been to war, and it's not easy to kill. It's bloody and messy and totally horrifying, and the consequences are serious.”

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Our Longest Buddha Meditation Video to Date - 100 Buddha Statues

The Buddha's Face You Tube channel is proud to use the new extension that allows videos to have a maximum upload length of 15 minutes. By combining parts 1 and 2 of the 100 Buddha videos with a new meditative soundtrack and a few tweaks along the way we bring you the Ultimate Buddha Meditation all this and in 720p high-definition. So start the video and turn your music on and contemplate the infinite wisdom of the Enlightened One.

"Do not dwell in the past , do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment" The Buddha

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 9 Tina Turner

And so it goes as the Buddha said a jug fills drop by drop and we come to number nine in the Buddha’s Face Buddhism 101’s project Top 10 Famous Buddhists – and it’s Tina Tuner the famous American singer and R&B artiste. Many people may have become Buddhists after viewing the autobiographical film of her life “What’s Love Got to Do With It “ and she has sold over 180 million records being born in 1939 in Tennessee and has just reached her seventieth birthday.

After the failure of her marriage to the abusive Ike Tuner she turned to drugs and regards the years from the failure of her marriage to finding the chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo from the Nichiren Buddhist sect as the turning point of recovery and finding reason and purpose in her life.

“In Buddhism there are words you can say... as you say the words with rhythm the conscious tells the subconscious.”

“I'm not wise, but the beginning of wisdom is there; it's like relaxing into - and an acceptance of - things."

Top 10 Famous Buddhists No 10 Uma Thurman

The Buddhism 101 project has documented what we think are the world’s current top 10 famous Buddhists – I will be blogging on each of them in reverse order and try and detail some key quotes and what has attracted them to what is the world’s most fascinating and contemplative religious philosophy.

Today we bring you our 10th most famous Buddhist Uma Thurma the renowned Hollywood actress most famous for her 'non' peaceful role in Quentin Tarantino’s movie Kill Bill.

In 1970 Uma Thurman was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a highly idiosyncratic family - her mother is a European socialite and was previously a model, and her father is one of the United State’s most famous Buddhist scholars and was the first western Tibetan Buddhist monk. Indeed the Dalai Lama was an occasional guest at their house and Una and her brother’s and sisters all were given names which came from Buddhist mythology.She was voted the 99th Top Movie Star of all Time by Empire Magazine’s readers.

"Reality is an illusion - that's the principle of Buddhist thought and the basic idea of being reborn is that this cancels the memory. Everybody is connected, and you have to work out your karma with people - so you your self becomes erased, but all work left undone has to be finished”

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Parable of the Old Monk and the Women - Careful Words Save Lives

An ageing monk was sitting contentedly basking in the sun just outside the cave where he lived when all of a sudden a beautiful young lady came running to him, in a state of some distress. “Please,” she exclaimed, “a man is running after me who I think is going to kill me! Please, please can I hide in your cave?” Without waiting for the monk to reply, she runs into the cave and secretes herself in the darkest corner. Five minutes later a man riding a horse stops by the entrance of the cave. He is fierce some looking and holding a sword and looking extremely angry as he asks the old monk, “Have you seen a young woman? I saw her running in this direction.” Now the rules of the monk’s order were never to touch women and not to tell an untruth. Therefore serenely and without demurring he replies, “What do you think an old monk like me would be doing with a woman?” The angry man believes his answer as being true and so rides off into the sunset.The monk however did not tell a direct lie, but by choosing his words carefully he saved the three lives of three people: the woman, the old monk and the man who would surely have been killed for murdering them.

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill." The Buddha

Part of the Buddha's Face Buddhism 101 Project - the ultimate list on all things Buddhist.

100 Buddhas Part 2 - Exclusive You Tube HD Video

We brought you one hundred Buddhas images, statues and sculptures from around the world and put them into a tranquil,contemplative animated photo slide show. However we need to slow down and relax and meditate on the image of the Buddha , his teachings and his message of love and compassion for all living creatures and so it was necessary to break it up into two parts. Yesterday I published the first part to the Buddha's Face blog - today I bring you the second. I hope you enjoy.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." Buddha

Part of the Buddha's Face Buddhism 101 Project and an exclusive feature for our dedicated Buddha's Face You Tube channel.

Monday, 4 October 2010

100 Buddhas - Our Latest Exclusive You Tube Video

It's been a long time since The Buddha's Face You Tube Channel has had a new exclusive video. This time I decided to collect exactly one hundred beautiful HD Buddha images and statues from around the world and set them to calm,contemplative meditation music. There were so many that to have a calming slow transition between each Buddha image it was necessary to split the project down into two parts. So sit back,put your speakers on and enjoy the calming and meditative effect of contemplating the Buddha.

The Buddha - Growing Up - Music Video - Kate Bush

Just found this excellent video based on the movie the Little Buddha about the Buddha growing up set to the music of Kate Bush - And so is Love.

2500 years a Prince left his palace in Northern India hungry to know the ultimate reasons that lay behind our existence - and the answers he found - were that life is impermanent and that compassion should lie at the heart of our lives have transformed the lives of countless millions over the centuries and will continue to do so for millennia to come. Enjoy !

"Better than a thousand hollow words is one that brings peace."
The Buddha

Part of the Buddha's Face Buddhism 101 Project - bringing you interesting and challenging resources from all over the web.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Buddha's Face Videos - Where it first began

Now just over 4 years ago I offered to make a video to my friend's Den and Ae's Buddha face business which was then trading out of Greenwich market in South London,UK. Often he and his wife would be there every weekend at their stall selling Buddha wall art,Buddha statues and other beautiful Buddha images suitable for use in the home and garden. I took some stills and a bit of video footage and when I got home searched out a suitably tranquil soundtrack to accompany the slide show finally adding some of the simpler quotes from the Buddha himself.

On the Buddha's Face YouTube channel I feel I have much more sophisticated approach to video production but some of our earliest simpler works are strangely also our best. Now with over 31,000 views a lot of folk seem to agree. Dedicated to Den on today which is his birthday. Happy Birthday Den - may The Buddha's Face prosper and grow.

Part of the Buddha's Face Buddhism 101 Project

"A jug fills drop by drop" - The Buddha

The Buddha Box and Raagin Box Jam Video

Whilst keeping on the theme of 'Buddhist music' I've previously written about the Buddha Box music machine that plays ambient loops and monks chanting on the Buddha's Face blog. There are a variety of different asian music machines currently on the market one of which plays the Indian music called Tanpura. In this short clip from Youtube the Indian music machine is supporting the 3 Chinese Buddha boxes what seems like an ambient musical jam.

Part of the Buddha's Face Buddhism 101 project - a collection of the fascinating,interesting and sometimes just weird and wonderful.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Tibetan Buddhist Monk Playing the Guitar

Just found this on You Tube - strictly speaking Buddhist monks are not supposed to indulge in merrymaking. However this monk is from the Mahayana Tibetan school of Buddhism which is generally more liberal in it'
s interpretation of doctrine than the more decidedly conservative Theravadan line widely practised in SE. Asia.

He's not bad by the way but Elvis's place in the rock pantheon should still be safe.

From the Buddha's Face - part of our Buddhism 101 project the most comprehensive Buddhist resource on the web.