Friday, July 2, 2010

Buddha: Man, Ideal, Symbol

The word Buddha means many things -- a person from Asian history; an ideal of enlightenment; a symbol of wisdom, compassion and absolute reality. Here is an exploration of the many facets of Buddha.

What's a Buddha?
The Buddha is pictured in many ways, and the word Buddha is used to mean many things. Just who or what is a Buddha?

Life of the Buddha
There are no contemporary records that corroborate the Buddha's biography. Historically accurate or not, the life of the Buddha is one of humanity's greatest and most enduring stories. Its themes resonate through the ages, reflecting the deepest fears and hopes within us all.

The Birth of the Buddha
The story of the Buddha’s birth is rich with mythical symbolism.

Parinirvana: How the Historical Buddha Entered Nirvana
At his death, the historical Buddha entered complete Nirvana, also called Parinirvana. This is the story of the Buddha's final days.

The Laughing Buddha
When Westerners think of Buddha, usually they picture the short, fat, bald version, not the austere and serious meditating Buddha. Where did the Laughing Buddha come from?

The Buddha and His Message, Past, Present and Future
A lecture on the Buddha's life and teachings given by by the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi at the United Nations.

Life of the Buddha Depicted in Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presents an online gallery of art illustrating the life of the Buddha.