International Epic on Karma to raise funds for the West's most comprehensive Museum of Buddhism and Yoga

By Rahul Bhikshu

Jan 23, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) As the Pew forum recently verified, a majority of 65 % of Americans subscribe to Indian spiritual practices like Yoga and meditation and several studies show Buddhism to be the fastest growing religion among Westerners worldwide. This explains why the Sanskrit word ‘Karma’ has become extremely popular among all Western demographics.

In this context, the first international epic on “Karma Yoga: The New Revolution” has been filmed in landmarks across the globe and highlights how Westerners are increasingly using Karma Yoga to overcome many of life's challenges from cancer to strokes. It is presented by Zenji Acharya who hails from the oldest Buddhist lineage of India and has been dubbed "Deepak Chopra meets Tony Robbins" by the media for combining the profound substance of Indian spirituality with the high-octane excitement of Western motivational speaking.

In fact, Zenji (Sankrit: Dhyanacharya) is the only Western expert in Buddhism to hail from an unbroken line of sages that built dozens of temples near the Buddha's home in Magadha during the Pala Empire -- the last Buddhist empire of India under which Mahayana Buddhism reached its zenith. The temples maintained the tradition of honoring Buddhist deities including Amitabha, Shakyamuni, Lokeshwara, Tara, Maitreya and Dharmapala Vajrapani long after Buddhism disappeared from India. They also maintained monasteries for monks who promoted Buddhism down the Silk Road to China from where it moved on to Korea and Japan. Referenced by famed Chinese historians including Huen Tsang and Fa Hein, these monks taught at the most important Buddhist Centers in history including Nalanda and Vikramashila which is why the temples bear a striking similarity to the architecture of these great universities. Furthermore, these monks brought the secrets of the Vajrayana to Tibet where it became known as Tibetan Buddhism.

While lamenting the disappearance of Indian Buddhism at Bodh Gaya, Zenji made a vow to the memory of his fallen ancestors to do all he could to strengthen the Dharma for future generations. He also immersed himself in research into the original Buddhist traditions of India as well as the earliest Buddhist traditions of Asia and realized that a great deal of what passes off for Buddhism in the West is really different from what his ancestors had intended. As a result he is launching the Western world’s most comprehensive and interactive museum of Buddhism and Yoga as well as a Center that will conduct classes on all aspects of Buddhism – be it Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana but from an original and authentic Indian perspective.

The Museum will feature the rarest masterworks from the Gandhara, Gupta and Pala dynasties of India’s Golden Age as well as famed Buddhist artists of Japan who inspired the likes of Europe’s Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. They include such giants of Asian art as Sesshu, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Hakuin, Takuan, Ikkyu, Rengetsu, Obaku Kosen, Namtembo and even Musashi – the famous Samurai Zenmaster. There will also be a rare collection of Hindu deities who all evolved into Guardians of the Buddha and collectibles of Gandhi, Tagore, Shankara and Vivekananda who all adored Lord Buddha with the latter even dubbing Buddha “the greatest karma yogi of all time and his ishta deva”.

As the only Western acharya to share lineage with Indian Buddhist visionaries like Sariputra, Maudgalyayana, Bodhi Dharma, Padmasambhava, Atisa, Nagarjuna, Buddhaghosha, Shantideva, Shantarakshita and their peers, Zenji Acharya feels a duty to honor the legacy of his ancestors by bringing Buddhism out of the classrooms and monasteries and into the mainstream. Instead of a monk’s robe, he wears a sleek suit and uses new media like film and art conservation to preserve the ancient wisdom of India’s heritage by presenting it in a cool and yet convincing manner to the global youth and young at heart, who embody the future. He is also determined to build a bridge to unite all Buddhists, Hindus, yoga practitioners and spiritualists worldwide to follow the path led by Mahasamrat Ashoka many millennia ago.

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