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My Name Is Heracles, And I Have Father Issues

My Name Is Heracles, And I Have Father Issues

The story of Heracles is considered one of the oldest of the Greek myths . Heracles’ popularity stretched from the western world to the far reaches of northern India. His likeness has appeared as...
The head of a Buddha statue. Credit: Richard / Adobe Stock. Inset: Fragments of a birch bark manuscript from ancient Gandhara. Credit: British Library (public domain)

Scholars Get Closer to Words of Buddha as They Unravel Oldest Buddhist Scrolls in the World

The oldest Buddhist scrolls ever discovered were made on birch bark and spent two millennia folded in clay pots, in a cave, situated along the northern border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and now...
Lord Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama: How The Father of Buddhism Walked From Suffering to Enlightenment

Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha or “Enlightened One,” is probably one of the most influential individuals to come out of India through the incidental founding of Buddhism . Siddhartha...
The ruins of Bavikonda, Andhra Pradesh, India.

The Sacred Bavikonda Monastery: Vestiges of the Buddhist Golden Age in India

Of all the countries in the world, India has some of the finest examples of Buddhist history and heritage. One of the noteworthy sites is the sacred monastery of Bavikonda in Andhra Pradesh . It is...
Two small figures guard the table holding the Buddha’s relics. Are they spearmen, or robots?

Robots Guarded Buddha’s Relics in a Legend of Ancient India

As early as Homer, more than 2,500 years ago, Greek mythology explored the idea of automatons and self-moving devices. By the third century BC, engineers in Hellenistic Alexandria, in Egypt, were...
Bojjannakonda Buddha

Bojjannakonda, India: The Hill of the Buddha Where Kings and Nobles Donated Countless Treasures

Buddhism is one of the most well-known spiritual traditions in India and its long history in the country has resulted in many spectacular and significant Buddhist sites and ruins. These include...
Buddhist Monastery Swat Pakistan.

Ancient Gandhara Kingdom Was A Melting Pot That Left Its Legacy in Art

Gandhara was an ancient kingdom located in what is the region that is today northwestern Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan. The history Gandhara can be traced all the way back to the Vedic period...
The Dharma Wheel.

Understanding the Dharma Wheel: This Ancient Symbol Holds Secret Meanings

The Dharma Wheel is an Ashtamangala, or one of ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’, a set of sacred symbols found in Indian religions. Although the Dharma Wheel is found also in Hinduism and Jainism, it is...
The Bodhisattva Gautama (Buddha-to-be) undertaking extreme asceticism before his enlightenment.

Asceticism Across the Faiths: Many People in the Major World Religions Have Done it

Asceticism is a way of life marked by the voluntary abstinence from worldly pleasures. This way of life is most often associated with religion and spirituality, and its practitioners usually aim to...
Leshan Giant Buddha is the world's largest stone-carved Buddha

The Leshan Giant Buddha: Largest Stone Buddha in the World

Not far from the city of Chengdu in Sichuan Province, China, sits the Leshan Giant Buddha statue. Carved into the side of Mt. Lingyun, the colossal statue is over 1,300-years-old and is considered to...
Khmer temple ruins at Phnom Kulen, a sacred mountain range in Cambodia.

Phnom Kulen: Sacred Mountain and Hidden Temples Hold Forgotten Treasures in Cambodia

In Cambodia, some 40 kilometers (24.85 miles) northeast of Angkor, is the mountain range of Phnom Kulen. This sandstone plateau is a sacred site to Hindus and Buddhists. In addition to a giant statue...
Excavations at Bhamala Archaeological Complex in Pakistan

500 ancient artifacts uncovered at the remarkable Bhamala Archaeological Complex in Pakistan

The Bhamala Buddhist Archaeological Complex in Pakistan has revealed a wealth of history and treasure dating back 2,000 years. Excavations have uncovered more than 500 “terracotta artifacts, stucco...
A view of the Ancient Pagoda in the Ayuthaya World Heritage park.

The Powerful Past of the Former Siamese Capital Revealed in the Splendor of 400 Temples

Long ago, the city of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya was a global center of economics and commerce. Within a few centuries of being founded, the city grew to having a population of one million inhabitants...
Mummified buddhist master Liuquan. Statue (L), CT scan (R). (Photos: Drents Museum)

The mummified monk inside a Buddha statue

A study on a Chinese Buddha statue carried out in the Netherlands revealed a startling discovery - the statue contains the mummified remains of a Buddhist monk. Irish Archaeology reports that the...
Sappho and Alcaeus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1881)

Gender Equality in the Ancient World?

In discussions about gender in the ancient world, women seldom seemed to be portrayed in a good light. In Ancient Greece, women were described as dogs, demons and degenerates. Semonides of Amorgos (...
Abaqa On Horse, Arghun Standing, Ghazan As A Child. Mongol rulers Arghun and Abaqa were Buddhists. From the 14th century Universal History by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani.

Adapting Buddhism: Ancient Disciples of Siddhartha Gautama in Afghanistan and Iran

Buddhism, in the first few centuries following the death of the Buddha, spread from India mainly to China, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia. One place where its presence is less studied, in some ways...

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