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Barbara O'Brien

Updated Articles and Resources

By Barbara O'Brien

    Updated Articles and Resources
    • Misunderstanding Buddhism Created: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
      Much of what people in the West believe about Buddhism is mistaken. It is all too common to find a magazine or web article about Buddhism that begins "Buddhism teaches thus-and-so, and I disagree b...
    • The Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism Created: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014
      Images of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism, with their meanings.
    • What Is Buddhism? An Introduction to Buddhism Created: Sunday, July 06, 2008 Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014
      There's more to Buddhism than shaving one's head and being blissful. Here is an introduction to Buddhism for beginners." itemprop="description">>
    • What Do Buddhists Believe? Created: Sunday, January 20, 2008 Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014
      What do Buddhists believe? In Buddhism, beliefs are beside the point, and doctrines are a means to an end, not the end itself." itemprop="description">ption">
    • Zen 101: An Introduction to Zen Buddhism Created: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014
      This is a bare-bones introduction to Zen Buddhism for those who don't know Zen from spinach. It includes a brief history of the school and the Zen definition of Zen." itempf expr="$zTP='t3'" --> it...
    • The Four Noble Truths Created: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
      The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism." itemprop="description">
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    • Mudras: Buddha's Hands Created: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
      Buddhas and bodhisattvas often are depicted in Buddhist art with stylized hand gestures called
    • Three Poisons Created: Sunday, December 07, 2008 Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
      The Three Poisons - Greed, Hate and Ignorance - are the primary causes of evil (akusala) in Buddhism.
    • The Pali Canon: The First Buddhist Scriptures Created: Thursday, June 05, 2008 Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
      The earliest written scriptures of Buddhism, the texts were kept alive through the years by being memorized and chanted by generations of monks." itemprop="description" itemprop="description"<...
    • The Life of the Buddha Created: Saturday, December 29, 2007 Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
      This simple account of the historic Buddha's life covers his early life, the Four Passing Sights, the Renunciation, the Quest, his Enlightenment, and his later life as a teacher."
    • The Jataka Tales Created: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
      The Jataka Tales are stories and fables about the previous lives of the Buddha. Where did these stories come from? What is their history?" itemprop="description" Sunday, February 24, 2008 Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
      The Pali word can mean something more than its primary English translation of "suffering". Learn what it means when Buddha said that life is dukkha.
    • Pure Land Buddhism Created: Saturday, January 05, 2008 Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
      Buddhist scholars generally understand a Pure Land as a transcendent state of being. In Asian folklore, Pure Land is thought of as a real place.
    • The Eightfold Path Created: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014
      The Eightfold Path is the Buddha's prescription for relieving suffering. It is the means by which one can realize enlightenment and enter Nirvana." itemprop="description" itemprop="description...
    • When Is Buddha's Birthday? Created: Saturday, April 04, 2009 Updated: Wednesday, April 09, 2014
      The answer varies from one part of Asia to another. In most Asian nations the date is determined by the lunar calendar and changes from year to year.
    • Buddha Created: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 Updated: Wednesday, April 09, 2014
      What is a Buddha? The Sanskrit word Buddha is used in several ways in the Buddhist religion. The various meanings are defined here.
    • Buddhism and Science Created: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 Updated: Wednesday, April 09, 2014
      What role does science play in modern-day Buddhism and how can it be used to enhance one's understanding of the religion?" itemprop="description">>
    • Mahayana Created: Sunday, July 27, 2008 Updated: Wednesday, April 09, 2014
      Mahayana, which means "Great Vehicle" in Sanskrit, is one of the two major schools of Buddhism. The origins of Mahayana go back to at least the 4th century.
    • The Six Schools of Tibetan Buddhism Created: Thursday, April 03, 2008 Updated: Wednesday, April 09, 2014
      Tibetan Buddhism has developed into six distinctive major traditions - Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug, Jonang, and Bonpo. Here is a brief explanation of each.
    • Nirvana Created: Monday, February 11, 2008 Updated: Thursday, April 03, 2014
      What is Nirvana? The Buddha told his monks that Nirvana cannot be imagined. Even so, the word needs a definition. Here is an explanation of Nirvana in Buddhism -- what it is, and what it is not.
    • Sex and Buddhism Created: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 Updated: Wednesday, April 02, 2014
      Buddhism challenges us to think about sexual ethics and morals very differently from the way most of us have been taught to think about them. What does Buddhism teach about sex?"
    • Tiantai Buddhism in China Created: Monday, March 31, 2014 Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014
      Tiantai was a vibrant school of Buddhism in China that influenced other schools as well. Here is a brief introduction to Tiantai.
    • The Lotus Sutra: An Overview Created: Sunday, February 01, 2009 Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014
      Of the countless scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism, few are more widely read or revered than the Lotus Sutra. This article gives a brief overview of the sutra and its history.
    • Buddhism in Laos Created: Sunday, March 30, 2014 Updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
      This is an overview of Buddhism in Laos, focusing on its history and current status under the Pathet Lao.
    • Tara - Buddhist Goddess and Archetype of Compassion Created: Sunday, March 30, 2014 Updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
      Tara is one of the most familiar figures of Tibetan Buddhist iconography. Here is a simple introduction explaining who she is and what she represents.
    • Faith, Doubt and Buddhism Created: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 Updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
      The word "faith" often is used as a synonym for religion; people say "What is your faith?" to mean "What is your religion?" But what do we mean by "faith," and what part does faith play in Buddhism?
    • Upaya Created: Sunday, March 30, 2014 Updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
      In Mahayana Buddhism, upaya refers to a teacher's wise and compassionate acts to help others reach enlightenment.
    • Major Mahayana Sutras Created: Friday, January 25, 2008 Updated: Friday, March 28, 2014
      The name sutra (Sanskrit for "thread") in Buddhism originally was given only to the sermons of the historical Buddha, as recognized by the First Buddhist Council (ca. 460 BCE). However, the works l...
    • Buddhism and Sexism Created: Sunday, September 14, 2008 Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014
      Is sexism intrinsic to Buddhism, or did Buddhist institutions absorb sexism from Asian culture? Can Buddhism treat women as equals, and remain Buddhism?
    • The First Buddhist Nuns Created: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014
      The historical Buddha’s most famous statements on women came about when his stepmother and aunt, Maha Pajapati Gotami, asked to join the Sangha and become a nun. The Buddha initially refused her request. Eventually he relented, but in doing so he made conditions and a prediction that remain controversial to this day.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi Created: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
      Nobel Peace Prize laureate, political prisoner, and an icon of the ideals of democracy and the compassion of Buddhism -- this is Aung San Suu Kyi. She has dedicated her life to liberating the people of Burma (Myanmar) from political oppression.
    • Go on a Buddhist Retreat Created: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
      Retreats are a great way to initiate a personal exploration of Buddhism, and of yourself. Here is advice about how to find authentic Buddhist retreats and what to expect when you participate in one.

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