The Route That Made the World: On the enduring romance and eternal influence of the Silk Road

The New York Times Style Magazine  May 17, 2020

[These are little tidbits I found interesting since I am interested in Buddhism…and skulls.]

“How the Buddha Got His Face”  by Aatish Taseer

A renunciant prince gaining enlightenment 25 centuries ago set the Wheel of Dharma in motion. “…a 35-year-old Gautama Buddha, hardly older than Christ when he climbed the hill of Calvary, revealed the eightfold path to liberation from suffering, his four noble truths and the doctrine of the impermanence of everything, including the Self.”

“The Wisdom Tree, also known as the Bodhi Tree,” is what he sat under to work toward enlightenment. “He who was never meant to be god nor ever said one word about god”.

“The memory of the Buddha, however, lived on in the hearts and minds of Indians. They reacted to him as I imagine the residents of Memphis must react to those visitors to Graceland for whom Elvis is God–pleased that he was a local son but alarmed by the ardor of his followers.” 

“Early Buddhists did not regard the Buddha as a divine being but a great teacher. He could not be deified for the simple reason that although Buddhism is not actively nontheistic, it is so reticent on the subject of god as to virtually eschew him.”

“In the omission of the figure of the Buddha,” writes Coomaraswamy, “the Early Buddhist art is truly Buddhist: For the rest, it is an art about Buddhism, rather than Buddhist art.”

Part of Buddhist ethos is tolerance.

“Just as Buddhism had been a reaction to the hierarchical nature of Brahmin orthodoxy in India, so too in China…the Chinese warlords, who had felt disparaged by Confucianism, were attracted to the ‘egalitarian creed.’”

“Sacred images in ancient India were not made primarily as objects of beauty but rather as the expression of a philosophical thought…”

“They were visual aids, ‘born in meditation and inner realization…focusing points for the spirit’…”

“The Buddha, seated in padmasana, or the lotus position, with his legs crossed under him, hands open-palmed in his lap, his face a mask of smiling sagacity and fierce inwardness…”

“The Haunted Place”  by  Aatish Taseer

Turkic conqueror Timur known as Tamerlane in the West, between India and Uzbekistan, killed 100,000 when he erected his famous minaret of skulls.

Only mountains can be more beautiful than mountains.

…inverted Zoroastrian triangles indicating good thoughts, good words, good deeds.

“A Single Thread”  by  Esi Edugyan

Persian word gurg, which means “the land of the wolves.”

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I'm a doctor of philosophy in Literary and Cultural Studies which makes me interested in everything! I possess special training in text analysis, African American literature, Women and Gender Studies, American lit, World Lit and writing. I work as an assistant professor of English in Memphis.

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