Discovering a Hidden Gem in IAMA Gift Shop

A Majestic Wood Carving Depicting Spiritual Growth and Achievements in Buddhism

In a world where art manifests itself in countless forms, there are rare instances when we stumble upon something truly extraordinary—a concealed treasure that enthralls our senses and moves us on a deep level. Such a remarkable encounter occurred one fateful day as I explored the gift shop at The International Art Museum of America (IAMA), nestled in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Amidst the vast array of artistic wonders, my gaze became fixated on an exquisitely crafted wood carving—a masterpiece that exuded an ethereal essence of spirituality and profound significance.

This awe-inspiring sculpture, meticulously chiseled from a single tree, originated from China and was skillfully brought to life by gifted folk artists. It portrayed an enchanting realm of spiritual growth and profound accomplishments in Buddhism. Towering at an impressive height of approximately three and a half meters and spanning one meter in width, this artwork was a testament to the dedication and artistry of its creators. Every intricate detail, meticulously carved figures, and delicate embellishments, painted a vivid tableau illustrating the virtues of compassion, enlightenment, and the transformative journey towards Nirvana.

The intricately carved sculpture was a masterpiece that depicted the journey of practitioners from being ordinary to mastering the higher levels of Buddhahood. The figures in the relief were so vividly carved that it was easy to see their progression towards enlightenment and Nirvana. Every detail, from the facial expressions to the flowing cloth, the delicate flowers, and the instruments, was so meticulously presented that it was impossible not to be impressed.

The beauty of this piece lay not just in its stunning visual presentation but also in the message it conveyed. It illustrated the importance of practicing compassion in thoughts, words, and deeds to achieve spiritual growth. It reminded us that every act of kindness, every gesture of love, and every moment of selflessness is a step towards enlightenment and Nirvana.

The sculpture had a calming effect on me. It was a tangible reminder of the power of art to transcend language, culture, and time. It spoke to me in a language that was universal, one that transcended borders and connected people across the world.

As an art lover, I have seen many beautiful pieces over the years, but this wood carving sculpture stood out as a true masterpiece. It was a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the folk artists who created it, and it served as a reminder of the timeless beauty of art.

Discovering a Hidden Gem in IAMA Gift Shop


#Buddhism #IAMA#InternationalArtMuseumofAmerica #Art #Artist#ChineseCulture#Sculpture #WoodCarving #Buddhahood #Enlightenment #Nirvana

Understanding Karma

Karma literally means action. It refers to the universal law of cause and effect whereby positive actions produce happiness and negative actions produce suffering. You must be willing to rid yourself of evil according to the principles of karmic retribution for doing evil and likewise be willing to do good for the same reasons. Only in this manner will you bring about true happiness and good fortune for yourself and others. All Buddhist disciples must understand cause and effect, but, as Dorje Pa Mu explains, merely understanding this principle is not enough. You must clearly believe in the principle and live accordingly. You must use this principle in your actual practice to solve your worldly problems. You end causes and effects through cultivation whereby you train your mind and correct your erroneous ways so that your actions of body, speech, and mind (also known as your three karmas) correspond with the teaching of your vajra master and the Buddhas. Remember that greed, anger (hatred), and ignorance are the three great obstacles of cultivation.

You must remember that the so-called good effects or bad effects of karma are not a judgment nor given as a reward or punishment by a supra mundane authority such as God. The good or bad effect produced by good or bad karma is purely and simply a natural phenomenon governed by natural laws that act automatically, with complete justice. It is just like the law of gravity and other similar rules. This Law of Karma, or cause and effect, is so powerful that it governs everything in the universe except enlightened beings or those who recognize their basic original nature. Upon enlightenment, the round of cause and effect loses its significance, just as samsara, or the round of birth and death, ceases with enlightenment. Since basic or original nature transcends all duality and is ultimate, there is no one to receive the effect, whether it is good or bad, and no one to whom any effect can apply. This unique explanation by the Buddha of the nullification of the Law of Karma is very important.

H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has said, “Thus, only through learning from the Buddha, cultivating the conduct of the Buddha, and ultimately becoming a Buddha can we thoroughly liberate ourselves from the karma (cause and effect) that binds us to the cycle of reincarnation. Cause and effect still exists when one becomes a Buddha. However, cause and effect can not affect a Buddha. For example, the Buddha saw mountains of swords and seas of fire in the hell realm. The mountains of swords and seas of fire continued to exist as extremely painful means by which living beings undergo karmic retribution. When the Buddha suddenly jumped into the mountains of swords and seas of fire in order to undergo suffering on behalf of other living beings, the mountains and seas immediately transformed into a lotus pond of nectar. They transformed into a wonderful state. With respect to a Buddha, all bad or evil karmic conditions turn into the manifestation of good karma. Not only is there no suffering, there is instead a manifestation of great happiness.”

However, until we become enlightened, we must remember that it is as Dharma King Tsongkhapa said, “the things I’ve done, the white or black and what these deeds will bring to me, follow always close behind, as certain as my shadow.”

Understanding Karma


#DorjeChangBuddhaIII #HHDorjeChangBuddhaIII  #DharmaKingTsongkhapa #Karma #causeandeffect #AhwangNobuPamu

Be the Person Who Creates Miracles

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on

Christmas Lottery

A company had a tradition of holding an annual party on Christmas Eve, and held a lottery. The lottery rule was this: each employee $10 US dollars to the fund. The company had a total of three hundred employees. In other words, a total of three thousand dollars could be raised, and the lucky winner would take all the money home.

On the day of the lottery, the office was filled with a lively atmosphere. Evervone wrote their names on a piece of paper to put into the lottery box. However, a young man hesitated when writing his name. This was because he had thought of the company’s cleaning lady. Her frail and sick son had recently needed surgery, but she did not have money to pay the operation costs. So she was very troubled. Although he knew the chance of winning the lottery was slim, only a I in 300 chance, the man still wrote the name of the cleaning lady on his piece of paper.
The moment of suspense arrived, the boss stirred the lottery box and finally took out a piece of paper. In his heart, the man had been constantly praying, “I hope the cleaning lady can win”. Then the boss carefully declared the winner’s name. A miracle had happened!
The cleaning lady had really won! The office burst into cheers. The cleaning lady quickly went forward to accept the award. She was so happy that she almost cried and said, “I am really lucky! With this money, my son has hope!”
The party began. The man while thinking about the “Christmas miracle”, paced around the lottery box. He took out a piece of paper and inadvertently opened it to take a look. Written on the paper was also the cleaning lady’s name! The man was very surprised. He then drew out several more pieces of paper. Although the handwriting was not the same, all the names were the same. All were the cleaning lady’s name! The man teared up, he understood that the world really has Christmas miracles. However, the miracles will not fall from the sky, they are created by people themselves.

Rotten Vegetables

One afternoon, I went to the suburbs with a friend to take a walk. Suddenly. an old man wearing very worn clothing came over carrying a bag of vegetables to sell.
Those vegetables looked poor. They were yellowed and withered, and even had insect bites. But my friend did not say anything and bought three bags. The old man was also very embarrassed and explained, “I planted the vegetables myself. A while back there was a heavy rain and they became rotten. They do not look very good. I am really sorгу.”
After the old man left, I asked my friend, “Are you really going to eat these vegetables when you get home?”
Without thinking he replied, “No, these vegetables can’t be eaten anymore.”
“Then why did you buy them?”
That is because no one will buy these vegetables. If I don’t buy them, then the old man probably won’t have any income.”
Impressed by my friend’s benevolent act, I caught up with the old man and also bought some of the vegetables. The old man said joyfully, “I have been selling the entire day, and only you two have been willing to buy them. I am very thankful to you.”
A few vegetables that I can’t even eat allowed me to learn a valuable lesson.
When we are at a low, we hope that a miracle will come upon us. Yet, when we are capable, will we be willing to do that miracle?

Be the Person Who Creates Miracles


#Kindness # Miracle #Lottery #Christmas #Vegetables

Why Kumarajiva Swallowed Needles

Great Master Kumarajiva

Once, I had the privilege of listening to a pre-recorded dharma discourse by the esteemed H.H.  Dorje Chang Buddha III. During this enlightening session, His Holiness shared a captivating story that left a profound impact on my mind. It was the tale of Kumarajiva, a legendary figure who demonstrated his profound inner realization by consuming needles. Intrigued by this extraordinary account, I felt compelled to delve further into the remarkable life of Kumarajiva.

Kumārajīva was a Buddhist monk, scholar, missionary and translator from the Kingdom of Kucha (present-day Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang, China). Kumārajīva is seen as one of the greatest translators of Chinese Buddhism. According to Lu Cheng, Kumarajiva’s translations are “unparalleled either in terms of translation technique or degree of fidelity”.

Kumārajīva settled in Chang’an during the Sixteen Kingdoms era. He is mostly remembered for the prolific translation of Buddhist texts written in Sanskrit to Chinese he carried out during his later life.

At Chang’an, Kumārajīva was immediately introduced to the emperor Yao Xing, the court, and the Buddhist leaders. He was hailed as a great master from the Western regions, and immediately took up a very high position in Chinese Buddhist circles of the time, being given the title of National Teacher. Yao Xing looked upon him as his own teacher, and many young and old Chinese Buddhists flocked to him, learning both from his direct teachings and through his translation bureau activities.

Kumārajīva appeared to have a major influence on Emperor Yao Xing’s actions later on, as he avoided actions that may lead to many deaths, while trying to act gently toward his enemies. At his request, Kumārajīva translated many sutras into Chinese. Yao Xing also built many towers and temples. 

Yao Hsing was so impressed with Kumarajiva’s political acumen, intellectual talent and spiritual depth that he was impelled to try a eugenic experiment. He insisted that Kumarajiva move out of the monastic community into a private house staffed by female attendants. Yao Hsing believed that the offspring of Kumarajiva and carefully selected maidens would be as brilliant and talented as their father. Although Kumarajiva was repelled by the experiment, he refused to jeopardize the welfare of the translation centre by refusing to obey his emperor. He complied with Yao Hsing’s orders but was concerned about the effect his actions might have on the monastic community. He likened himself to a lotus growing out of the mud and enjoined the monks to attend to the lotus and ignore the mud.

However, it is widely understood that monks are expected to adhere strictly to the rules and precepts, diligently purifying their bodies and minds while maintaining purity in their six senses. Deviating from these principles, particularly by engaging closely with women and disregarding the precepts, can hinder the attainment of positive outcomes. Consequently, doubts began to arise among the Sangha regarding Kumarajiva’s integrity, leading to a decline in the commitment of some disciples to uphold the essential Buddhist rules.

When Kumarajiva became aware of the troubling trend spreading among the monks, he could not afford to be complacent. In response, he summoned all his disciples to gather before him, determined to address the issue head-on.

Before the perplexed audience, Kumarajiva unveiled a bowl filled with silver needles, their sharpness and gleaming appearance catching everyone’s attention. The monks were left wondering about the purpose behind Kumarajiva’s display.

In a solemn tone, Kumarajiva addressed his disciples, saying, “Not every monk is qualified to enter into worldly attachments and establish households. If you can swallow these silver needles as I do, then I will consider granting you permission to marry and have children. However, if you are unable to do so, you must never attempt to follow in my footsteps.”

Having spoken these words, Kumarajiva proceeded to place each silver needle into his mouth, consuming the entire bowl with a composed ease. The supernatural power exhibited by Kumarajiva left the assembled monks awe-struck, their eyes widened in astonishment. In the end, they were all convinced by Kumarajiva’s demonstration, believing him to be the true successor endorsed by the Buddha.

With this act, Kumarajiva showcased the potency of the correct Buddha Dharma. Consequently, no one dared to criticize him from that point forward. Instead, they committed themselves to diligent practice, upholding the precepts, engaging in self-cultivation, and abandoning any fantasies of pursuing worldly desires.

The community perceived Kumarajiva’s actions as an exemplification of self-sacrifice in the pursuit of the Bodhisattva Ideal, despite the disappointment he experienced due to the children of Yao Hsing’s experiment falling short of his grand expectations.

Why Kumarajiva Swallowed Needles


#DorjeChangBuddhaIII#HHDorjeChangBuddhaIII #Kumarajiva #Buddhist #BuddhaDharma #SwallowNeedles #ChangAnChina #YaoxingEmperor #KuchaKingdom #InnerRealization #BuddhistPower #Monk


JinBa Pui Chu Yee Rinpoche a World-class “Children’s artist”

JinBa Pui Chu Yee Rinpoche Predicted She Would be a World-class “Children’s artist” in Five Months

During the visit of a reporter on February 29, 2004, Jinba Pui Chu Yee Rinpoche made a prediction that she would become a world-class “Children’s artist” in just five months. The setting for the meeting was a solemn Buddhist mandala, and Jinba Rinpoche was dressed in traditional Tibetan Rinpoche’s robes, adorned with the seven treasures. Her appearance was slim and graceful, with a natural wisdom reflected in her features. Her sharp eyes exuded both compassion and wisdom.

During the interview, Jinba Rinpoche revealed that her father was none other than the great Dharma King (H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III), who was not only a spiritual leader but also a talented artist. While Jinba Rinpoche had always been drawn to art, she had never attempted landscaping art before and was unfamiliar with the materials used in such work. Nevertheless, she expressed a strong desire to explore this art form and shared that her father would transmit the Manjushri wisdom and enlightenment dharma to her the day after the interview. With this newfound knowledge, Jinba Rinpoche aimed to publish a book of her landscaping art within five months. When asked about the content of the book, she confidently replied that it would feature a special collection of her own works. Her conviction and determination were evident.

When asked about the level of achievement she aimed for, Jinba Rinpoche, with the poise of a seasoned leader, declared that she aimed for nothing less than world-class status. This was no small feat, given that producing even a few works of landscaping art within five months was a world miracle that most people could hardly fathom, let alone publishing a book. The reporter was understandably curious about her confidence and asked how she could be so sure. Jinba Rinpoche replied that her father, the great artist and spiritual leader, was none other than the Vajra Dharma King, whom she held in the highest regard. She was certain that with his guidance and the teachings of the Tathagata Dharma, she could create stunning landscapes in no time. For her, making landscaping art was a piece of cake.

Despite Jinba Rinpoche’s young age, the reporter was struck by her gravitas and sincerity, leaving no room for doubt about the authenticity of her words. However, as a journalist, he had to ask the questions that the public might raise. Jinba Rinpoche responded with utmost solemnity, “Doubt is intrinsic to all sentient beings, for without doubt, what is sentience? As a Rinpoche, lying is not an option, for it would mean falling into hell. Why would one choose to fall into hell by lying? If I lie to others, I would deserve such a fate. As a Rinpoche, why would I want to end up in hell because of lying?” Her response not only demonstrated her commitment to honesty and integrity but also revealed her deep understanding of the Buddhist principles she espoused.

Her prediction of course came true. The New York Academy of Art evaluated her sculpture landscapes. On May 11, 2004, that Academy issued a certificate to Jinba Pui chu Yee signed by its Executive Director, Mr. Stephen Farthing. That certificate contained the following evaluation: “It have been a great pleasure for both e as Executive Director, and my Faculty at the New York Academy of Art, to get to know the artwork of such an internationally acclaimed artist as Ms. Pui Chu Yee. Her unique approach transports the viewer beyond taste and fantasy to a point where enchantment and contemporary art meet. Her work is a great achievement.”

She has published a book featuring a collection of her landscape compositions, which can be reviewed and purchased at the Hua Zang Si temple in San Francisco. Additionally, some of her artworks are on display in the grand hall of the temple.

Jinba Rinpoche creating art work with special vajra painting on her face

Tibet Plateau
Holy Saint

Mountains and Mirror lake

Signature created by Jinba Rinpoche

The Source and Flow of Life
This Is a Place by the Lake Where Wild Deer Gather
man and Warrior Performs Prodigious Feats on a Cliff

JinBa Pui Chu Yee Rinpoche a World-class “Children’s artist”


#DorjeChangBuddhaIII #HHDorjeChangBuddhaIII#DorjeChangBuddha#JinbaRinppche#NewYorkAcademyofArt #Children’sArtist #WorldClass #Art#Artist #Landscapes#HandMoldedLandscapes#Tibet #HuaZangSi#Temple #Buddhist#Buddha #BuddhaDharma#PuiChuYee #DharmaKingJinBa

Learn to forgive others’ faults

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There was an elementary school teacher who taught in a remote town.
One day, he asked the little children in his class, “Do you have anyone you hate?”
After thinking it over, some of the little children remained silent while others nodded with great force.
The teacher then passed a bag to everyone and said, “Let’s play a game.
Now, all of you think about who has offended you and what hateful things have been done to you in the past week. Once you have them in mind, go find a rock by the riverside on your way home after school.
“Paste a little paper note, written with the person’s name, on the rock. If his fault was big, then find a bigger rock; if his fault was small, then find a smaller rock.
“Every day, place what you have collected in a bag and bring it with you to school and show me!”
All the students felt that it was very interesting and new.
After school, every one rushed to the riverside to find rocks. Early next morning, all the students brought their bags, filled with pebbles to school, and discussed about it happily.
With the passing of one day passed, two days, and three days, some of the students’ bag grew larger and larger. It had become a burden.
Finally, someone protested and said, “This is so tiring!” The teacher smiled but did not respond. Immediately, someone picked the conversation and continue to complaint, “Exactly! Carrying all these rocks to school is so tiring!”

At that moment, the teacher spoke up and said, “Now put down these rocks which represent the faults of people who have offended you!”
The students were all surprised, so the teacher explained, “Learn to forgive others’ offenses. Do not keep them as treasures in your mind, nor bear them on your shoulders. No one can stand it overtime.”
That week, the students of the class learned an extremely precious life lesson.
The greater the number and the bigger the rocks held in the bag, the deeper the tired accumulated in the mind, and the heavier the burden. If you have rocks written with others’ names, you should know what to do.

Learn to forgive others’ faults


#Forgive #Burden #Offenses #Rocks #Hate

Example of a Right Mindset

A true story about a female worker who was saved from being locked inside a freezer at work, due to her having a modest and respectful mind.
A lady worked for a food processing factory. One day, at the end of her work, she routinely walked into the freezer for a final check. Suddenly, an unfortunate moment happened, the door accidently closed behind her and she got locked inside the freezer. Although she exhaustedly screamed and pounded on the door, no one could hear her crying voice, she was totally out of people’s sight. All the workers were off from factory at this moment and no one could hear what had happened inside. Five hours later, when she was at the brink of death, the security guard of the factory opened that door and miraculously saved her.
Afterwards she asked the security guard why he would open the door since that was not his daily job.
He explained, “I have been working at this factory for 35 years. Every day there are several hundred workers who enter and walk out: however, you are the only one who greet me with “How are you?” in the morning and say “Goodbye, see you tomorrow.” in the evening.
Many people do not see me as if I were transparent. Today, you came to work in the morning as usual and asked me “How are you?”, but at the end of the work day, I did not hear you say to me “Goodbye, see you tomorrow.”
As a result, I decided to take a look inside the factory. I anticipated your “Hi” and “Goodbye”, because these words remind me of who I am and make me very happy. Without hearing your word of goodbye, I knew something might have happened. That was the reason why I searched for you in every corner of the factory.”

He who loves others is constantly loved by them; he who respects others is constantly respected by them. Helping others is truly helping ourselves.

Example of a Right Mindset


#Love #Respectful #kind #help #RightMindset #MoralStory

Longmen Grottoes

Splendid Night Scene of Longmen Grottoes, By Jack Sparrow

The Longmen Grottoes, a Buddhist cave complex located 13 kilometers south of Luoyang in China’s Henan province, form some of the most significant and exquisite representations of ancient Chinese stone art. Created over the course of approximately five centuries beginning in 493 CE, these grottoes, along with the statues and inscriptions carved within, provide a window into the political, cultural, and artistic circumstances of the late Northern Wei and Tang periods. The caves were carved into the steep limestone cliffs of Mount Longmen and Mount Xiang which face one another along a one kilometer stretch, forming a valley through which the Yi River flows. This site, with its appearance of a natural gate, was historically referred to as Yique or “Gate of the Yi River.” After Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty built an imperial palace in Luoyang at the beginning of the 7th century CE with its southern gate aligned to the cliffs of the site, the name Longmen or “Dragon’s Gate” came into use (the dragon served as an emblem of the power of the emperor).


Mt. Longmen as seen from Manshui Bridge to the southeast

In total, more than 2,300 grottoes and niches, 100,000 Buddhist statues, ranging in size from several centimeters to over 17 meters, and over 2,800 inscriptions were carved into the cliffs at the site, making it the largest such complex in China. A majority of the caves were carved into the face of Mount Longmen, on the west side of the Yi River. Such is the density of grottoes and niches there that they give the cliff face an incredible, honeycomb-like appearance when viewed at a distance. Whereas those grottoes on the west side were used for ceremonies which honored the dead, the caves carved on Mount Xiang to the east were home to a large community of Buddhist monks of various sects.

View of the West Hill Grottoes from the east bank of the Yi River. Charlie – Own work



The carving of grottoes into remote mountainsides to serve as Buddhist temples was a practice which originated in India c. 3rd century BCE. Buddhism, along with the practice of grotto carving, passed to China along the silk road, influencing the creation of Buddhist grottoes at Yungang near Pingcheng (modern day Datong), the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty, in the middle of the 5th century CE. When Emperor Xiaowen, who contributed to the carving of the Yungang Grottoes, moved the capital from Pingcheng to Luoyang in 493 CE, he shifted his energy to beginning grotto construction at Longmen.

Many of the statues within the oldest grotto carved there, Guyang Cave, were ones which members of the royalty, who followed Emperor Xiaowen to Luoyang, vowed to build. Over 1,000 niches and 800 inscriptions are contained within the cave, making it one of the richest at Longmen and significant as a reflection of the late Northern Wei style of both sculpting and writing. The central statues of Sakyamuni Buddha and two Bodhisattvas (those on the path to enlightenment) each take on a somber appearance and a slender silhouette, contrasting the earlier, broad-shouldered style found at Yungang. Inscriptions attached to statues within Guyang Cave include 19 of the 20 inscriptions designated as exemplary forms of Northern Wei calligraphy and are critical in helping to identify the origins of each work.

Sakyamuni Buddha and two Bodhisattvas at Guyang Cave

Fengxian, or Feng Xian Si (奉先寺), or Li Zhi cave is the Ancestor Worshipping Cave, which is the largest of all caves carved on the west hill built between 672 and 676 for Empress Wu Zetian. The carvings are claimed to be the ultimate in architectural perfection of the Tang dynasty. The shrine inside the cave measures 39 m x35m. It has the largest Buddha statue at the Longmen Grottoes. Of the nine huge carved statues, the highly impressive image of Vairocana Buddha is sculpted on the back wall of the Fengxian. The image is 17.14m high and has 2 m long ears.An inscription at the base of this figure gives 676 as the year of carving. The Bodhisattva on the left of the main image of Buddha is decorated with a crown and pearls. Also shown is a divine person trampling an evil spirit. The main Vairocana image’s features are plumpish and of peaceful and natural expression. Each of the other large statues are carved with expressions matching their representative roles. These were carved at the orders of Empress Wu Zetian, and are considered uniquely representative of the Tang dynasty’s “vigorous, elegant and realistic style.” The huge Vairocana statue is considered as “the quintessence of Buddhist sculpture in China.”

Attendants at FengxiaSi Cave Uploaded by Benjamin Oswald

The Vairocana statue also provides at its base the names of the artisans who worked here, the name of the Emperor Gaozong, who was the donor, and also honors Wu Zetian. It is said that Wu Zetian donated “twenty-thousand strings of her rouge and powder money” to complete this edifice. Hence, it is conjectured that the Vairocana Buddha was carved to resemble the Empress herself and termed a “Chinese Mona Lisa, Venus or as the Mother of China”. All the images here, which remain undamaged, project character and animation. Statues of Kasyapa and Ananda, the two principal disciples of Vairocana, and of two Bodhisattvas with crowns flank the main statue, in addition to numerous images of “lokapalas (guardians or heavenly kings), dvarapalas (temple guards), flying devas and numerous other figures.

The Big Vairocana of Longmen Buddha Grottoes
Vairocana (Lu SheNa) Buddha, By Anagoria – Own work, CC BY 3.0,


In addition to Guyang and Fengxiansi Caves, several others are particularly worthy of mention. The set of three Binyang Caves (North, Middle, South), carved shortly after the Northern Wei capital was moved to Luoyang, was donated by Emperor Xuanwu in honor of his father, Emperor Xiaowen, and mother, Empress Wenzhao. Unlike figures in Guyang Cave, those in the Binyang Caves are of an earlier Northern Wei style, closer to that found at Yungang Grottoes. Work began on Yaofang Cave in the intervening period between the Northern Wei and Tang dynasties and came to include the engraving of 140 Tang era medical prescriptions – practical remedies to ailments ranging from cholera to hysteria. These treatments, which spread to Japan in the 10th century CE, reveal the degree to which medical science advanced during the Tang Dynasty.

Offering Procession of the Empress as Donor with Her Court, Chinese, from Longmen, Binyang Central Cave, Henan Province, ca. 522 C.E., Northern Wei Dynasty

This Offering Procession of the Empress as Donor with Her Court, was taken off from the original place for reasons. And now you can see it in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art  in Kansas City, US. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a much-loved institution. Many americas may not know, though, is that the Nelson also has a world-renowned reputation among artists and scholars of Asian art. With more than 7,000 works spanning 5,000 years, the museum boasts one of the most celebrated collections of Asian art in the West.

Wanfo Cave, which was completed shortly after the completion of Fengxiansi Cave, was created in honor of Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian and purportedly contains 15,000 small, sitting Buddha figures carved within the vast grids of tiny niches which blanket several walls. Prominent patrons of the cave included a female court official and a palace chapel nun. The largest grotto on the east side, Kanjingsi Cave, unlike many other large caves, lacks the grouping of large, carved Buddhist statues. In their place is a procession of life-sized Arhats (those far advanced along the path to enlightenment) stretching around the perimeter of the cave, each with a unique expression, carved in relief in the evocative and highly-detailed style found at other Tang era grottoes.

Wanfo Cave, part of the Longmen Grottoes, containing 15,000 Buddha figures, Uploaded by Benjamin Oswald, published on 21 August 2017


One can only imagine the splendor of the grottoes at Longmen during the Tang Dynasty, with thousands of recently completed carvings painted in a brilliant array of colors. Unfortunately, a number of natural and human forces have detracted from, although in many cases by no means destroyed, the intention of the original artists. Among the natural causes of damage are corrosion due to acid rain, wear from wind exposure, and naturally occurring fissures of the limestone, exacerbated by plant growth and water seepage.

The caves, stone statues, steles and inscriptions scattered in the East Hill and West Hill at Longmen have been well preserved. The property area and buffer zone retain their natural landscapes and the ecological environment that have existed since the late 5th century. The works of humans and nature have been harmoniously unified and the landscapes possess high integrity.

In the continuous evolution of Longmen Grottoes, the aesthetic elements and features of the Chinese cave temples’ art, including the layout, material, function, traditional technique and location, and the intrinsic link between the layout and the various elements have been preserved and passed on. Great efforts have been made to maintain the historical appearance of the caves and preserve and pass on the original Buddhist culture and its spiritual and aesthetic functions, while always adhering to the principle of “Retaining the historic condition”.

As with pilgrims of ages past, who visited Longmen to worship or to gain merit through the dedication of a Buddhist image, these grottoes afford modern visitors the chance to take a step closer to the lives of people from a different era, and to stand in wonder at the ability and determination of humankind.

Longmen Grottoes


#Travel #ChineseCulture #LongmenGrottoes #BuddhistStatues #Art #Carvings #AsianArt


The Woodcutter and Dragon Snake

Photo by Tobias Aeppli on

Once there was a poor woodcutter who found a wounded dragon snake in the mountains. The woodcutter kindly nursed the dragon snake back to health and later released it into a hole in the mountain. There, a precious ganoderma lucidum grew, which the dragon snake protected day and night.

One day, the emperor fell ill and needed ganoderma lucidum to cure his disease. He offered a heavy reward for anyone who could provide it. The woodcutter remembered the dragon snake and went back to the mountain to find it. The dragon snake, grateful for the woodcutter’s kindness, gave him the ganoderma lucidum. The woodcutter presented it to the emperor, who gave him a lot of gold and silver as a reward.

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The woodcutter now lived a life of luxury but was not satisfied. He wanted to become an official and saw an opportunity when the queen lost her sight. The emperor announced that whoever could restore her sight with the eye of a dragon snake would become the prime minister. The woodcutter remembered the dragon snake again and begged for its help. The snake allowed the woodcutter to take one of its eyes with huge pain, which the woodcutter presented to the emperor. The queen’s sight was restored, and the woodcutter was made prime minister.

However, the woodcutter’s greed was insatiable. When the princess fell ill, and the dragon snake’s liver were needed to heal her, the woodcutter asked for the dragon snake once again. The dragon snake, wanting to repay the woodcutter’s kindness, allowed him to cut a small piece of its liver. But the woodcutter, overcome by greed, he went inside dragon snake’s stomach and took a large piece, causing the snake unbearable pain. The snake closed its mouth in agony, and the woodcutter was trapped inside.

This story shows that the woodcutter’s downfall was entirely due to his own actions, driven by his insatiable greed.

The moral is: The wages of avarice is death.

The Woodcutter and Drangon Snake


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The inspiring story of Eddie Jaku – The happiest man on earth

I stumbled upon a video by Eddie Jaku, titled “The happiest man on earth” at TEDxSydney 2019, and it moved me deeply. Eddie shared his story of love, survival, and happiness. His holocaust survival story spanned 12 years, from Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 until liberation in 1945. Despite experiencing unimaginable horrors and facing death every day, Eddie is a truly happy person, and his story changed my concept of happiness.

Eddie Jaku was born Abraham Jakubowicz in Germany in 1920. His family considered themselves German, with Jewish heritage coming second. However, on the night of November 9, 1938, known as Kristallnacht, Eddie returned home from boarding school to find an empty house. Nazi soldiers burst in, beat him, and took him to Buchenwald. Eddie was released and escaped to Belgium with his father, but was soon captured and sent to a camp, and then to Auschwitz.

On his way to Auschwitz, Eddie managed to escape back to Belgium and lived in hiding with his parents and sister. However, in October 1943, the family was arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where Eddie’s parents were both murdered. Eddie was sent on a “death march” in 1945, but he managed to escape and hid in a forest, surviving on slugs and snails until he was finally rescued in June 1945.

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After the war, Eddie Jaku moved to Australia and started a new life. He married his wife, Flore. However, Eddie’s past experiences continued to haunt him, and he struggled to find happiness in his new life.

It wasn’t until his first son, Michael was born that Eddie began to feel truly happy again. He was overcome with joy and gratitude for his son’s arrival, and it reminded him of the importance of love and family.

In his book, “The happiest man on earth,” Eddie writes, “With Michael’s birth, I began to feel happy again. I realized that I had a responsibility to be a loving and caring father to him, and that gave me purpose and meaning in life.”

Michael became a source of immense pride and joy for Eddie, and he dedicated himself to being the best father he could be. He taught Michael about the importance of resilience, compassion, and kindness, and instilled in him a deep appreciation for life and family.

Eddie’s love for his sons and his commitment to being a positive force in the world is a testament to his resilience and strength of character. His story is a powerful reminder that no matter what challenges we face, we can always find happiness and meaning in life through love and connection with others.

Another remarkable aspect of Eddie Jaku’s story is his attitude towards hate and forgiveness. Despite all the suffering and loss he endured during the Holocaust, Eddie refuses to hold on to hate or anger towards anyone.

In fact, Eddie has spoken publicly about his belief that hate is a disease that only causes more pain and suffering. He believes that hate can lead to violence, discrimination, and even genocide, as he experienced firsthand during the Holocaust. Eddie has made it his life’s mission to spread the message of love, compassion, and forgiveness. He believes that the only way to overcome hate is with love, and that the best way to combat discrimination and prejudice is through education and empathy.

Eddie Jaku’s story is truly inspiring. His message of love, happiness, and resilience is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Eddie’s story reminds us that no matter what challenges we face, we can always find happiness within ourselves. His warm and wise words become my daily prayer to my family, friends and all people on earth: May you always have lots of love to share, lots of good health to spare, and lots of good friends that care.

The inspiring story of Eddie Jaku – The happiest man on earth

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