Buddha is Everywhere

Some Impressions from Mannheim, Germany

The following pictures were taken during two short walks through my hometown Mannheim where I spent the Christmas holiday. Wherever I went, yet another Buddha manifested. It almost seemed as if they were following me. After some time, I started to take pictures of them...

This lovely head of a Buddha is situated next to a small café in the center of the town. Quite a strange idea to have a Buddha carry a flower pot on his head...

The following Buddha was spotted at Fressgasse, inside the squares. Mannheim is a quite unusual German town in that the layout of its center follows a grid pattern. It is therefore also known as "Quadratestadt" or "the city of squares". (Note: the name is not suggestive of the population being particularly square-headed)...

These two pictures were taken through the window of a carpet shop.


The Sūtra of the Three Bodies

Truly Wonderful! 
Our translation of the Trikāyasūtra called "The Sūtra of the Three Bodies" features in 84000's eNews of December 2013. Having had the honor of being the responsible translator for this wonderful short text by our team, it is a great joy to know that so many people will have access to itAnyone can read (and soon also download) it for free.

About 84000
84000 is a symbolical number in Buddhism representing the entirety of the Buddha's teachings. "84000 - Translating the Words of the Buddha" is a very ambitious nonprofit initiative to translate the entire Buddhist canon into Western languages. It was started by the Khyentse Foundation but has recently matured into an independent organization. 84000 is a truly incredible undertaking, a global collaborative of Buddhist scholars, translators, academics and Buddhist practitioners.


Buddhist Christmas

What does Buddhism have to do with Christmas?

Not much of course. Nevertheless, while Christmas becomes more and more visible through all kinds of merchandise articles in Eastern countries, it still plays a very important role for Western Buddhists. Most grew up in an environment where Christmas was the major event of the year. Even if one had parents that were no regular churchgoers, they would not miss out the mass of Christmas eve.

Whether pious Christians like it or not, Christmas isn't any longer only a celebration for the religious in the West. It is an event that is celebrated by the masses regardless of its religious content. For many, it will certainly still be one of the religious highlights of the year, but for the growing non-religious mass, it is equally important as a general festival. Many of the European countries which have a purely Christian ancestry since centuries, many customs and traditions can't be separated anymore from their religious background. Whether one belongs to a specific creed or no, Christmas is certainly the most important event of the year in Europe.

No-one wants to miss out on the great celebration of love when family and friends come together or have to celebrate it alone. You bake Christmas cookies, sing Christmas songs , eat together, go to mass, and enjoy the special festive atmosphere. It is only natural that many Western Buddhists like to celebrate it as well, and why shouldn't they? Even many of my Muslim friends celebrate it.


Buddhist studies, Part 1 - Why Buddhist Studies?

Taking the decision to engage in Buddhist studies is a step with far-reaching consequences. If you happen to live in a Western country without a traditional Buddhist background, you should be prepared for the following question: 

“Buddhist studies – Wow! But what do you do with that once you are finished! Can you live from that”

You might want to have some good responses at hand, because you will be confronted with this question as soon as you inform your relatives and friends about your decision to engage in Buddhist studies. Here is my favorit suggestion:

“True. There is not much jobs out there for Buddhologists. Luckily, there isn’t that many of us either and so it is a fair match. “

The following answer is of course possible as well:

“There is no answer to this, because the question is already wrong. There is actually no end to Buddhist studies, because they go on and on.”

That is very true indeed. Buddhist studies are a life-long enterprise, but isn’t that great? Anyway, here’s another possible answer:


Lumbini Shrine

Recently, there has been some really interesting news report on a newly discovered shrine in Lumbini.
It is indeed a very interesting find and can maybe add some new information on the ongoing academic debate about the date of the Buddha.
See here for the reports:
News report on the Lumbini shrine
Further report in the New York Times

It is of course fascinating to hear that there was an even older temple underneath the temple that is said to commemorate the Buddha's birth, and that the older structure might stem from the 6th century. The shrine centers around the remains of a tree, and one might be tempted to think that it stood for the tree (or even was the very tree) that the Buddha's mother held onto while giving birth to Prince Siddhartha.



The old Indian philosopher Nagarjuna has taught that emptiness is the source of all possibilities. This statement is quite true in many ways. With respect to this blog, it implies that I should be able to fill it up with my random notes. Where the journey will lead me, or rather if it will lead me and the blog very far, I do not know, but I will try to give the two of us a chance. In case you are interested to see what will happen to us, feel free to visit us from time to time...

Why such a blog? Well, why not? It might be a good way of self-reflecting things that happen to me, and who knows, maybe these things might be equally interesting or relevant for others.

Why "Buddhism"? Well, Buddhism has played a very dominant role in both my private and professional life since more than 20 years now. Whatever I encounter will naturally be viewed and assessed through this lens to some degree.

Why "and More"? Good question. I assume I didn't want to give the impression that I was just going to discuss everything exclusively through borrowed Buddhist ideas. It will certainly include observations based on common knowledge and judgment, and things that happen to me in daily life which I consider meaningful.