Buddhism

Higher Human Forms: Corpse of a Buddha

Higher Human Forms: The Self-Mummifying Monk

The practice lasted from about 774 C.E. until the 20th century, and aside from 19 mummified members of the 12th century Fujiwara clan, it constitutes the only mummification rite in Japanese culture.

Art Spotlight: Beating the Ghost

Cosmic Canvas: Starships of The White Temple

Art Spotlight: The Wheel of Samsara

Explore reincarnation and the Wheel of Samsara.

Reincarnation Blues

The metaphysics of reincarnation are nothing short of enthralling, from the notion of an immortal soul drifting through myriad life forms to the intimidating Wheel of Samsara with its heavenly and hellish realms. Why does this version of immortality appeal to us? And what, if anything, can science tell us about the survival of the soul? Join Robert and Julie for a rich discussion on the reincarnation. Image source: Godong/Universal Images Group/Getty

Mandala: Memory Palace and Simulated Worlds

A world simulated in the mind, where fortresses of bone rise above a sea of blood. Where a pantheon of wrathful and serene deities assemble in precise arrangement. Where multi-limbed beings dance, cyclopean architecture looms high and a mountain bridges Earth to the cosmos. That's the rich world of the Mandala (Sanskrit for "circle"), an artistic visualization tool that allows Tibetan Buddhism 's most advanced psychonauts to enter heightened states of meditation. It's essentially an imagined palace, not unlike the dreamscape architects in the sci-fi film "Inception," or the famed "memory palace" mnemonic device that emerged in ancient Rome.

Depressed in the West: Cultural Neuroscience Chimes In

Grasping: Buddhism has decried it as the source of all human suffering for millennia while the West built an entire culture around it. We want more money. We want more life. We live our self-centered lives with the demon of impermanence breathing down our neck. The idea that we might feel better if we forgot about ourselves for a little bit should seem like a no-brainer.