On Translation

IdeasMagazine | On Translation

How the Buddha Got Ism-ed

Dwight Eisenhower, a president not particularly remembered for his wit, once remarked that “all isms are wasms.” He was presumably referring, rather presciently, to the largely forgotten isms that were once perceived as a threat to…

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

IdeasMagazine | On Translation

The Semantics of Samadhi

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. —Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) With all your science can you tell how it is, and whence it is that light comes into the soul? —Henry…

By James Austin

TeachingsMagazine | On Translation


We all know what happens when a fire goes out. The flames die down and the fire is gone for good. So when we first learn that the name for the goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana…

By Thanissaro Bhikkhu

TeachingsMagazine | On Translation

“That’s Very Zen”

“The Zen of what?”“Harmonica,” she said.“That’s what I thought you said.”   I was standing outside the door of a classroom at a New Age center in New York. The woman in question had just emerged…

By Clark Strand

TeachingsMagazine | On Translation

Mother of the Buddhas

THE PRAJNAPARAMITA SUTRA is considered the originating text of Mahayana Buddhism. Scholars agree that it began to emerge into prominence in India from about 100 B.C.E., about four hundred years after the final nirvana of Shakyamuni…

By Lex Hixon

IdeasMagazine | On Translation

What’s in a Name?

SO MANY DIFFERENT NAMES exist for the Buddha that one might, in the course of perusing ancient texts or contemporary literature, easily assume that Gotama and Gautama and Shakyamuni and Siddhartha were the best of friends…

By Stuart Smithers

calligraphy of the bodhisattva vows

TeachingsMagazine | On Translation

The Bodhisattva Vows

  The Great Vows, known as the Bodhisattva Vows, probably originated in China around the sixth century and may have been derived from an earlier Sanskrit gatha (a four-line verse that sums up an aspect of…

By Robert Aitken

Buddha Bowed Out

IdeasMagazine | On Translation

When the Buddha Bowed Out

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar. This was not a very encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got…

By Stuart Smithers

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