Seven Treasures of the Noble

The Buddha said “Monks, there are these seven treasures. Which seven? The treasure ofconviction, the treasure of virtue, the treasure of conscience, the treasure of concern, the treasure of listening, the treasure of generosity, the treasure of discernment.

“And what is the treasure of conviction? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones has conviction, is convinced of the Tathagata’s Awakening: ‘Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.’ This is called the treasure of conviction.

“And what is the treasure of virtue? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking life, abstains from stealing, abstains from illicit sexual conduct, abstains from lying, abstains from taking intoxicants that cause heedlessness. This, monks, is called the treasure of virtue.

“And what is the treasure of conscience? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones feels shame at [the thought of engaging in] bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. This is called the treasure of conscience.

“And what is the treasure of concern? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones feels concern for [the suffering that results from] bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. This is called the treasure of concern.

“And what is the treasure of listening? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones has heard much, has retained what he/she has heard, has stored what he/she has heard. Whatever teachings are admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end, that — in their meaning and expression — proclaim the holy life that is entirely complete and pure: those he/she has listened to often, retained, discussed, accumulated, examined with his/her mind, and well-penetrated in terms of his/her views. This is called the treasure of listening.

And what is the treasure of generosity? There is the case of a disciple of the noble ones, his awareness cleansed of the stain of stinginess, living at home, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in being magnanimous, responsive to requests, delighting in the distribution of alms. This is called the treasure of generosity.

“And what is the treasure of discernment? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising & passing away — noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. This is called the treasure of discernment.”

Aguttara-nikāya, Sattaka-nipāta, No. 5

New York City Museum Celebrates the Culture of Earthquake-Ravaged Nepal

The Rubin Museum of Art opened an installation of Nepalese art today to launch its Honoring Nepal programming series, which celebrates the culture of the earthquake-devastated country. The death toll from last month’s disaster is now over 6,800, with 14,000 injured and thousands missing, and the cultural loss of centuries-old temples, shrines, and historic sites that were damaged or destroyed is still being assessed.

The Honoring Nepal lobby installation is free and open to the public during museum hours, showcasing 13 artifacts selected from the roughly 600 Nepalese objects in the Rubin’s collections. “As we all confront both the loss of life and the destruction of many cultural sites caused by the recent earthquake, our mission to connect museum visitors with the ideas, art, and culture of the Himalayas has become especially relevant,” Jan Van Alphen, director of exhibitions, collections, and research, told Hyperallergic. “Even though Nepal is far away from New York geographically, our world is increasingly smaller, and we hope this installation, along with the other initiatives happening at the museum, brings our visitors closer to the people of Nepal and honors their dynamic and vibrant culture.”

An 11th-century sandstone Ganesha rests in one niche, with visitors this morning placing coins in his hands and a dollar bill in the curl of his trunk. Nearby, smaller gilt copper alloy sculptures include an elegant rendering of Maitreya, the One of Loving Kindness, from the 15th-16th century, and a 19th-century donor figure kneeling in prayer. There are also 19th-century paintings on cloth, a towering 13th-century stupa adorned with semi-precious stones, and a 17th-century wood carving from the Kathmandu Valley of Apsara holding a garland aloft. That area was especially hard hit by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, and without contrasting the beautiful works on display to current photographs of rubble, the Rubin evokes the rich cultural heritage in peril through these examples of its history in Buddhist and Hindu art.

In the galleries, the Rubin is highlighting Nepalese art and artifacts with the label “#HonorNepal,” which it is also using on social media to promote Nepal’s cultural significance. For example, the exhibition Becoming Another: The Power of Masks features a shamanistic mask dating to the 19th-20th century from Nepal. Through the museum’s online Honoring Nepal site, vetted organizations are listed that are on the ground in the South Asian country offering help to its communities. Additional programming includes biweekly education tours and evening events each Wednesday. This week’s events include a free concert with sarangi player Shyam Nepali and madal player Raj Kapoor, both members of the Nepali cultural community. Finally, the Rubin is offering a large discount for renting its facility to any relief organizations interested in hosting benefits.

THE SIGNS AS BUDDHIST QUOTES

Aries: “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”

Taurus: “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

Gemini: “There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”

Cancer: “To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

Leo: “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

Virgo: “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”

Libra: “The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

Scorpio: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Sagittarius: “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”

Capricorn: “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.”

Aquarius: “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

Pisces: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Nepal: Buddhist Monasteries, Figures Check in on Social Media

Chaos and confusion loom large in the Kathmandu Valley as the region tries to recover from the destruction, injury, and ever-increasing casualties caused by a massive earthquake on Saturday, April 25. Fortunately, the Internet remained an option for many, and so Buddhist teachers and communities both inside and outside the region have made use of it to keep in touch with concerned followers.

Accompanying Dilgo Khyentse Fellowship – Shechen‘s photo of the Boudnath Stupa (pictured here), as sent on Saturday, was this statement: “A strong earthquake was felt a few hours ago in Kathmandu Valley which has affected many buildings. Thankfully Shechen Monastery has no reported injuries and everyone is safe. Please make prayers and dedicate its merits to the people seriously injured, and especially for the devastated families of those who died.”

A couple hours later, an update from the social-media account of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, at Kopan Monastery, reported that he “and all at Kopan Monastery and Nunnery are fine after the strong earthquake that hit Nepal today. There has been some minor damage in Kopan but it is not bad. Please hold all those who have been affected by the earthquake in your prayers.”

That message was followed by one from Thrangu Monastery Canada, written on behalf of Kathmandu’s Thrangu Monastery, established by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche: “Hello Dharma friends,” the update reads. “A large 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck near Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. Kabje Thrangu Rinpoche and all the Thrangu monks in Nepal are fine. We pray and hope everything goes without harm.” Next came a message from the Facebook account of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, stating that he “and the Tek Chok Ling nunnery are unharmed.”

Mid-Saturday afternoon, a message was issued from the Facebook account of Tsoknyi Rinpoche: “We have heard from reliable sources in Kathmandu that Rinpoche’s family, the nuns at Chobar Hill and Muktinath Monastery, and monks and nuns at K-Nying (Chokyi Nyima’s monastery) are also unharmed. The new buildings at Chobar have withstood the main tremors, but of course will need to be inspected for potential damage. For those of you who know Brady Hogan, we have heard she is also safe and in no danger. Rinpoche is teaching in Europe and was out of harm’s way. We hope to post more later this afternoon as we gather updated information and further news.”

This was followed shortly by a message on behalf of the aforementioned Chokyi Nyima: “Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche is sending his heartfelt good wishes to all victims of the earthquake that has happened today in Nepal. Rinpoche is praying for all of them and is asking all of you to keep them in your prayers as well.”

Additional messages came later on Saturday:

Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche: “A tragic 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal today. Rinpoches and our sangha are safe but hundreds have died and thousands have been injured and lost their homes and livelihoods, including our sangha’s families as well as the many local Nepali community who have been supporting our lamas and monasteries for many years.” (This update went on to include information on a relief fund; see “How you can help,” below.)

And from His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa: “Today, in the morning of the 25th of April, in Nepal, the land where Lord Buddha was born, there occurred a devastating earthquake. Many thousands of people have been killed or injured, and historic buildings and private homes have been turned into ruins. As soon as I learned of this painful and distressing situation, I made my deepest aspiration prayers and dedications for all the people affected, and continue to do so. Especially at times when we are faced with such a desperate situation, we cannot sit idle, unfeelingly. We must join forces and carry the burden of sorrow together. It is important that each one of us light the lamp of courage. Additionally, it is important that each of the Karma Kagyu monasteries in Nepal, while looking after their own pressing needs for immediate protection, also extend any and all aid and protection they can to the public in their surrounding communities. From my own side, I will make every effort to come personally in the near future to offer my solace and support as well.”

Then, on Sunday:

In the morning, the Dalai Lama’s letter to Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala was released: “The people of Nepal and Tibetans have been neighbours throughout history and many Tibetan refugees live in Nepal. I offer my condolences to you and to those who have lost members of their families, friends and their homes in this tragedy. As a token of solidarity with the people of Nepal, I have asked the Dalai Lama Trust to make a donation towards rescue and relief efforts.”

Dilgo Khyentse Fellowship – Shechen also shared a Sunday update reflecting the morning’s major aftershock: “Everyone at Shechen Monastery is fine and safe, camping in the monastery grounds. The main Gompa and some other buildings were severely damaged and mobile phones are not working. Please keep Nepal in your prayers.”

The Central Tibetan Administration issued a press release on Sunday, and announced a contribution to relief efforts. The release read, in part: “In an emergency meeting of the Kashag held today, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has expressed its deep shock and sadness at the horrific devastation to life and property caused by the massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal, the northern parts of India and Tibet on 25 April 2015. […] While expressing his grief and sadness, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of the Tibetan people, said, “At this dark and painful time, words fail to convey how deeply we feel for the people affected in Nepal, Tibet and India.” Read the whole release here.

Later Sunday morning, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche posted: “I am thinking about all the people in Nepal and my prayers are with everyone there. It is a deeply tragic situation and extremely shocking and saddening to watch all the lives that have been lost and all the damage that has happened to the structures, like to the great stupa and monasteries, and also to the ancient structures that have stood for centuries. As devastating as this is, I feel hope and confidence that the people of Nepal and the country as a whole will recover from this with great strength and spirit.”

Sakyong Mipham issued a letter informing the Shambhala community that “The Rigon Tashi Choling monastery in nearby Pharpeng sustained minimal damage and no one in the Ripa family or monastery was injured in any way. The situation in Nepal is very difficult and communication with the rest of the world is still sporadic. We ask that you all hold the Nepalese and Tibetan community in your hearts and personal practice during the coming weeks.” Read the rest of his letter here.

Monday afternoon saw another message from Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, writing, “Our main monastery, Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling, is still standing but the buildings have suffered severe damage” and asking readers to consider making a donation to Shedrub Development Fund, toward “rescue efforts, rebuilding homes, and assisting those in need. This is our recommended fund for all donations to help repair the monastery and nunnery and provide wider assistance in Nepal. We will take full responsibility for ensuring that the funds donated reach those in greatest need.”

BUDDHISM VS. HINDUISM: A SIMPLIFIED SUMMARY OF BELIEFS

Buddhism

  • Buddhists believe that the Supreme is completely transcendent and can be described as Sunya, a void or state of nonbeing.
  • Buddhists believe in the Four Noble Truths:
    • 1. that suffering exists;
    • 2. that desire is the cause of suffering;
    • 3. that suffering may be ended by the annihilation of desire;
    • 4. that to end desire one must follow the Eight-Fold Path.
  • Buddhists believe in the Eight-Fold Path of right belief, right aims, right speech, right actions, right occupation, right endeavor, right mindfulness and right meditation.
  • Buddhists believe in dharma (the way), karma (cause and effect), reincarnation, the sangha (Buddhist monastic community) and the passage on earth as an opportunity to end the cycle of birth and death.
  • Buddhists believe that life’s aim is to end suffering through the annihilation of individual existence and absorption into nirvana, the Real.
  • Buddhists believe in the “Middle Path,” living moderately, avoiding extremes of luxury and asceticism.
  • Buddhists believe in the sanctity of the Buddha and in the sacred scriptures of Buddhism: the Tripitaka (Three Baskets of Wisdom) and/or the Mahayana Sutras.
  • Buddhists believe in the greatness of self-giving love and compassion toward all creatures that live, for these contain merit exceeding the giving of offerings to the Gods.
  • Buddhists believe that man’s true nature is divine and eternal, yet his individuality is subject to the change that affects all forms and is therefore transient, dissolving at liberation into nirvana.
  • Buddhist believe that just as one food will not appeal to everybody, one religion or one set of beliefs will not satisfy everyone’s needs, and that all genuine religious paths deserve tolerance and understanding.

Hinduism

  • Hindus believe in a One, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
  • Hindus believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture. These primordial hymns are the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end.
  • Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
  • Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.
  • Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.
  • Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.
  • Hindus believe that a spiritually awakened master, or guru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation.
  • Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practiceahimsa, “noninjury.”
  • Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God’s Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.

We know this is greatly oversimplified and that these beliefs might not apply to every Hindu and every Buddhist. This is simply to provide a general overview of these two religions.

The Ajanta Caves: Discovering Lost Treasure

The Ajanta Caves, 30 spellbinding Buddhist prayer halls and monasteries carved, as if by sorcery, into a horseshoe-shaped rock face in a mountainous region of India’s Maharashtra state, 450km (280 miles) east of Mumbai, were ‘discovered’ by accident in 1819.

Unknown for more than 1,000 years except to wild animals, insects, flood waters, prodigious foliage and perhaps the local Bhil people, this magnificent work of art, architecture and contemplation, was abandoned by those who created it as long ago as AD 500. In 1983 it was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.

John Smith, a young British cavalry officer, was on a tiger hunt when he spotted the mouth of a cave high above the Waghora (Tiger) River that could only have been man made. Scrambling up with his party, Smith entered the cave and, branding a flaming grass torch, encountered a great vaulted and colonnaded hall, its walls covered in faded paintings. Beneath a dome, a timeless praying Buddha fronted a mound-like shrine, or stupa.

Smith carved his name on a statue of a Bodhisattva, a figure representing one of the past lives of the Buddha before he achieved Nirvana, or union with the divine spirit. Since then, thousands of people have added their names as the Ajanta caves – a gallery of the oldest and some of the finest of all Buddhist art – has gained fame and become a compelling tourist attraction.

News of Smith’s find spread quickly. In 1844, Major Robert Gill was commissioned by the Royal Asiatic Society to create reproductions on canvas of the wall paintings. This was the beginning of measures to reveal and document the prayer halls (chaityagrihas) and monasteries (viharas) that had, it seems, been hewn from solid rock in two phases, the first – five prayer halls – between the 1st  and 2nd  centuries BC and, the second – 25 monasteries, or monks’ lodgings – in the 5th Century AD.

Gill worked in truly difficult conditions. Not only was it often unbearably hot, but this was still tiger country, and the fierce Bhil people had never come to terms with invaders, whether Hindu or Moghul emperors or 19th Century British military.

Lost to time

What Gill and other visitors saw, having climbed ropes and ladders, to reach the caves – the original stone stairs had long gone – was architecture of a very high order and sculpture and paintings that took the breath away. Here, Buddhist monks had gazed on thousands of lustrous images of the lives the Buddha – Siddhartha Gautama – had lived before this 6th Century Indian prince took up teaching and inspired a way of thinking and being practiced by hundreds of millions around the world today.

Between images of the Buddha, were sensuous representations of glamorous princes and princesses, of animals, palaces, silks, jewellery, of lovemaking and life in all its mortal richness. Some of the images shocked Victorian sensibilities and are still condemned by religious zealots unable to comprehend that what these Indian artists saw was a joyous vision of natural fecundity and divine beauty.

Along with the1st Century AD architecture, these paintings showed remarkable affinities to classical Greek art. This was not coincidence, but evidence of a Greco-Indian culture that had spread from the 4th Century BC expeditions of Alexander the Great. It stretched through Hellenistic kingdoms and trade routes from the Mediterranean to Persia, Afghanistan and India – with Ajanta along the way – to distant China and Japan.

Twenty-seven of Gill’s canvases were displayed in the Indian Court of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, south London; in 1866, 23 were destroyed by fire. Newly armed with a camera as well as brushes, Gill set to work again. Meanwhile, the Royal Cave Temple Commission founded by the Royal Asiatic Society in 1848 had led to the foundation in 1861 of the Archaeological Survey of India. Concern for the treasures of Ajanta grew, as did the number of intrepid experts and treasure hunters, some of whom did more than carve their names on statues: they scraped paintings from walls which crumbled into dust. One of the few known surviving paintings to have left Ajanta intact is in the care of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts today. It had been sold in 1924 for £1,000 at Sotheby’s in London.

The Government of Bombay commissioned new copies of the Ajanta cave paintings in 1872 from John Griffiths, principal of the Bombay School of Art. Griffiths and his students produced 300 paintings, only for a third to go up in flames at London’s Imperial Institute in 1885. In 1909, Lady Herringham, suffragette and art patron, began further copies with help from the Calcutta School of Art, and from the late 1920s the Indian art historian Ghulam Yazdani made a comprehensive photographic survey of the art of Ajanta, published in four volumes between 1930 and 1955.

That was the year the surviving Griffiths paintings were put in store by the Victoria & Albert Museum. Inaccessible and forgotten for half a century, in 2005 81 were uncovered and restored.

Searching for understanding

Since 1999, a team led by Rajdeo Singh of the Archaeological Survey of India, using new methods developed in Japan, have revealed the intense colours and sheer beauty of many of the 1st Century AD portraits along with the subtlety of their artists’ use of perspective, shading and other three-dimensional techniques including the use of bright stones, notably lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.

Their meticulous restoration raised anew questions asked many times over the past 200 years. How did the artists paint so well, with such precise use of colour, in the dark recesses of these rock-carved prayer halls and monasteries? Just how many architects, masons, sculptors and painters would have been at work between from circa AD 460-500 when so much of this glorious place, paid for by merchants and courtiers during the reign of the Vakataka dynasty emperor Harisena, was created? And, in those brief years before the fall of the Vakataka empire and its patronage of Buddhist art, could this really have been a place of quiet contemplation when it must have been one vast building site?

The many archaeological ventures over the past two centuries seeking to answer these questions, as well as to uncover, document and conserve this feast of Buddhist creativity have added immeasurably to Ajanta’s fame, along with the tramp of ever increasing tourists. In 2013, four replica caves, created by the Mumbai-based designer Rakesh Rathod, were opened at the visitor centre 4km (2.5 miles) from the rock face. The idea was to reduce numbers heading to the precious chaityagrihas andviharas.

The fake caves, however, have not been a success: evidently, visitors want the real thing even though many clearly revel in the shopping bazaar and food stalls greeting anyone making pilgrimages to Ajanta today.

And, yet the serenity of the sleeping Buddha lying in one of the caves, the summer and winter solstice sunlight illuminating statues of the praying Buddha, the spellbinding architecture and the compelling beauty of the wall paintings lift Ajanta above such worldly concerns. This might be a tourist magnet, yet thanks to generations of conservationists, Ajanta remains a gateway to Nirvana.

Ajanta caves ; Aurangabad ; Maharashtra ; India Caves, Buddhist monastery (5th century), UNESCO World Heritage site, Ajanta, India Sculpted reclining buddha figure inside Ajanta caves, Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra state, India

On the Scene… Thailand’s Annual Poi Sang Long Festival

Thailand’s annual Poi Sang Long Festival, which occurs in the first week of April, celebrates the ordination of ethnic Shan boys to the Theravada Buddhist Order. For three days, these sang long, or “jewelled sons,” are dressed in bright colors and adorned in flowers and make up, and then carried on the shoulders of relatives to the Wat Pa Pao Temple in Chiang Mai, where they will adopt the monk’s traditional saffron robes. the ritual is meant to mimic the Buddha’s renunciation of his life of material luxury as Prince Siddhartha.

tha-2 thai-3 thai-4 Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai thai-6

Buddhist Temple Offers High-Tech Death Care In Japan

The Ruriden, operated by the Koukokuji Buddhist temple, took two years to build and houses 2046 futuristic alters with glass Buddha statues that correspond to drawers storing the ashes of the deceased. An IC card allows the owner of the alter to access the building and lights up the corresponding statue. The ashes are stored for 33 years before being buried below the Ruriden, currently 600 alters are in use and another 300 are reserved.

temple-3 temple-2

Study Finds Being Exposed to Buddhist Concepts Reduces Prejudice and Increases Prosociality

Researchers from Belgium and Taiwan have found that being exposed to Buddhist concepts can lead to increased prosocial behavioral intentions and undermine prejudice towards others.

Buddhism contains a variety of teachings and practices – such as meditation – intended to help individuals develop a more open-minded and compassionate personality. Unlike the three dominant monotheistic religions, it does not draw a sharp line between believers and unbelievers.

In three separate experiments of 355 individuals, the researchers found that being exposed to words related to Buddhism could “automatically activate prosociality and tolerance, in particular among people with socio-cognitive open-mindedness.”

The study adds to a growing body of research about priming, a phenomenon in which merely being exposed to certain words or concepts changes the way people think or behave. It was published in the April issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

When Westerners familiar with Buddhism read religious words like “Dharma” and “Nirvana” – which they were exposed to under the guise of completing a word puzzle – they reported lower negative attitudes toward outgroups compared to participants exposed to positive non-religious words like “freedom.”

Westerners with a Christian background also became more tolerant after being exposed to Buddhist concepts, though only among those with a predisposition for valuing the welfare of all people and an aversion towards authoritarianism. Implicit association tests showed that these participants were less prejudiced against African people and Muslims than participants exposed to Christian concepts or neutral concepts.

Westerners with a Christian background also scored higher on measures of prosociality after being exposed to Buddhist concepts. Surprisingly, participants did not score higher on measures of prosociality after being exposed to Christian concepts.

The effect of being exposed to Buddhist concepts was not restricted to cultures in which the religion was seen as particularly exotic, the researchers said. Being exposed to Buddhist concepts also fostered increased tolerance and prosociality, compared with neutral and Christian concepts, among participants living in Taiwan.

“To conclude, we think that this work provides, for the first time, experimental evidence in favor of the idea that in both the East and the West, across people from both Christian and Eastern Asian religious traditions, Buddhist concepts automatically activate positive social behavioral outcomes, that is, prosociality and low prejudice, in particular among people with personal dispositions of socio-cognitive openness,” the researchers wrote.

“Unlike Christian and other monotheistic religious systems that paradoxically seem to encourage not only prosociality but also prejudice, Buddhist ideas favor both prosociality and outgroup tolerance, and these ideals seem particularly efficient (in leading to action) for people with relevant personality dispositions.”

“Emotional (compassion) and cognitive (tolerance of contradictions) mechanisms explain, to some extent, how Buddhist concepts, across cultural and religious contexts, enhance prosocial and tolerant attitudes and behavioral tendencies. Religious and cultural characteristics ‘travel’ and influence people’s attitudes and behavior in a globalized world even at the implicit level of consciousness,” the researchers concluded.