August 02, 2007
The title of this post is very dark, but that's just because this situation in Thailand could use more attention. Here are some brief notes from around the infobahn:
The powers that be in Gujarat have decided that Buddhism and Jainism are not merely branches of Hinduism. This ruling happened because of the recent and continuing conversions of dalits. The nationalist Hindu government wanted to say that the conversions weren't actually conversions. But maybe the law saying that Buddhism didn't exist would paradoxically protect Buddhists from persecution? Funny how India keeps trying to swallow up its problem child.
“If Buddhists are treated as part of Hinduism, then all its followers in China, Japan and much of South-East Asia become Hindus,” said Girish Patel, a noted social activist.
More death and mayhem in southern Thailand. Does this make it on the news in Europe and other parts of Asia? Because I sure haven't seen anything in the American media about it, except the occasional buried article in some of the bigger dailies. But then again nothing about Africa except a few bits about Darfur make it through the Iraq filter here either.
And here's a cool exhibit at the Rubin Museum: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama. (Pictured: a blow-up reclining Buddha from the exhibit.) In case you didn't realize it, the Dalai Lama equals Buddhism. Also, every article that mentions the Dalai Lama has to compare him to Pope Benedict, to the latter's detriment. I don't think this happened as much with John Paul II. I think people expected more from Benedict, that he would wake the church up to the modern world. The next Pope should be from Latin America or Africa. Interesting process, picking the Pope. And the Dalai Lama. We'll see what kind of mainstream press Buddhism gets when that happens. Maybe the kid gloves will come off.
- Philip Ryan, Webmaster