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September 16, 2008

Dorje Shugden: Deity or Demon?

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a lot of activity on this blog and elsewhere around the Buddhist web relating to the Dorje Shugden controversy. While we take no position on this rather arcane sectarian dispute, we have covered it in the past. In order to shed some light on the controversy, we reproduce here the opening two pages of a special section from the Spring 1998 issue with links to the section's contents, including interviews with Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, leader of the New Kadampa Tradition, and Thubten Jigme Norbu, the recently deceased brother of the Dalai Lama. Click on the images below to see larger versions of the opening spread, and the links below that to read the articles themselves. - The Editors More »
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September 16, 2008

Aung San Suu Kyi accepts food; Burma event in NYC

Aung San Suu Kyi accepts food for the first time in a month. The Burmese junta has asked for foreign help in reviving the crucial rice-growing region that was ravaged by the cyclone. There's a PEN-sponsored fundraiser for Burma soon in New York City: Kiran Desai, Siri Hustvedt, Joseph Lelyveld, Orhan Pamuk, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Salman Rushdie, and special More »
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September 15, 2008

Kindness

From my viewpoint, Buddhism is not about getting enlightened—it’s about being kind. If I have a chance at the time of my death to take an accounting of what I’ve done, I won’t be asking how enlightened I’ve become, I’ll be asking how much kindness I’ve shown to others. This is how the Buddha began, who set out walking the earth not in quest of enlightenment but in search of a means to end the suffering he saw all about him. If I ever hope to realize a generous, loving, merciful, nonviolent human society, I too must carry on the daily practice of generosity, love, mercy and nonviolence that the Buddha set in motion. This is the practical and ordinary work of the bodhisattva. And yet the capacity for kindness is an invariable consequence of enlightenment, for enlightenment and compassion are not merely mutually reinforcing but one and the same, two movements of one understanding. And that understanding is the direct knowing that nowhere does there exist a single separate self. More »
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September 13, 2008

Dalai Lama calls for Talks on Tibet

The Dalai Lama calls for a meeting of Tibetan leaders to discuss the ongoing peace talks with China. Will he find a serious partner for peace and an end to political repression in Beijing? The New York Times reviews Tibet: Beyond Fear: “Tibet: Beyond Fear,” on Saturday on the satellite channel Link TV, is advocacy filmmaking at its most brazen: it ends with a direct appeal from the Dalai Lama for the free-Tibet cause. More »
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September 12, 2008

The paradox of choice

Why does having so many choices make us unhappy? Barry Schwartz explains. More »
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September 10, 2008

Dalai Lama Back in Dharamsala

His Holiness receives a warm welcome at his home away from home. Doctors in Mumbai say he has nothing to worry about. And The American Conservative sputters about how liberals love Tibet: The driving force behind Tibetophilia today is not political solidarity with the Tibetans and certainly not any positive argument for full democratic equality, but rather a sense of disgust with Western life. In Rawson’s words, “the West perceives some lack within itself” and seeks to find fulfilment in the ostensibly preserved “pure East.” Ironically, then, Free Tibet activism has a colonial bent to it: wealthy Westerners pursuing emotional occupation. More »
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September 10, 2008

Tough times in Korea and Thailand

It's not a great time to be running Korea -- either Korea. Kim Jong-Il reportedly had a stroke and then surgery. South Korea and the world watch anxiously. And more from restive Thailand, which just ousted its Prime Minister: More than an attack on the sitting government, the protests grow out of deep political and social divides that have hardened over the past three years and threaten the stability of Thailand. The protesters who are now camped in the mud at Government House represent the latest turn in a long-running struggle between democratic ideals and a traditional, hierarchical society that feels disenfranchised by democratic change. This time, whatever the outcome of the confrontation, analysts say democracy is likely to suffer. More »
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September 09, 2008

Is Kim Jong-Il Unwell?

Why else would he miss the party for the 60th anniversary of North Korea? North Korea did not stage a massive military parade for its 60th anniversary on Tuesday and its top leader, Kim Jong-il, failed to attend a scaled-down celebration. The unexpectedly subdued ceremony came amid news reports that Mr. Kim, 66, might be seriously ill. For the 50th and 55th anniversaries of his country’s founding, Mr. Kim attended elaborate parades in which columns of armored vehicles and rocket launchers rumbled through Pyongyang’s main plaza as legions of goose-stepping soldiers saluted him. Although 60th anniversaries are important milestones in Korea, Tuesday’s parade featured only civil defense militia groups and ordinary citizens, according to Yonhap, South Korea’s main news agency, which monitors North Korean news. More »
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September 09, 2008

Thai P.M. ousted by courts

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej was finally forced out of office not by protests but by the Courts: Samak, 73, a self-proclaimed foodie, hosted a popular television cooking show -- ''Tasting and Complaining'' -- for seven years before becoming prime minister. But he also made several appearances after taking office, breaking a constitutional prohibition on private employment while in office. This isn't the end of Thailand's political problems b a long shot, and they still have an active insurgency in the South. More »
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September 08, 2008

President Lee to express regret over anti-Buddhist bias

South Koren President Lee Myung-bak will express regret over the perceived pro-Christian bias in his administration. And the Beckhams have joined Amy Winehouse on the Who's Buddhist Now? rumors circuit. More »
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September 08, 2008

Burmese authorities deny Aung San Suu Kyi is on hunger strike

Her own National League of Democracy disagrees. Neoconservative Robert Kaplan says the U.S. should focus more on Burmese minorities in its pursuit of American interests. Why do neoconservatives care about Burma? Because of the nation's close relationship with China of course. Sri Lanka bars foreign aid workers from visiting the rebel-held north: Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said Monday the government decided to order all foreign aid workers from the territory under rebel control for their own protection. "We can't assure the security of these people," Rajapaksa told The Associated Press. "We are taking precautions." More »
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September 08, 2008

Takster Rinpoche, Dalai Lama's oldest brother, passes away

The 86-year-old retired teacher passed away in his Indiana home. He didn't always agree with his brother: While the brothers were close, they held different views about Tibet's future. The Dalai Lama advocates a "middle path" policy that espouses "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet, rather than the full independence that some activists are seeking. But Rinpoche, a retired professor of Tibetan studies at Indiana University, "wanted nothing but full independence for Tibet. More »
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September 06, 2008

Bhutanese art visits the U.S.

With pretty pictures. More »
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September 04, 2008

Dalai Lama to return to work soon; British and American pro-Tibet protesters tortured during Olympics

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is recovering well and will soon return to work, according to an aide. The 73-year-old DL was treated for exhaustion in an Indian hospital after his travels during the Olympics. Britain's Telegraph reports that pro-Tibet British and American protesters were tied to chairs and deprived of sleep during interrogations by Chinese police while the Olympics went on. China has unblocked the iTunes store after a Tibtan activists' song left the front page. Subtle. The store was blocked for two whole weeks. More »
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September 04, 2008

Thai Protests

Could this be because the junta wouldn't let anyone else help?: The Burmese authorities were by far the greatest providers of medical assistance to its population after cyclone Nargis despite the widespread international criticism of a poor response by the military junta, according to an analysis released on Wednesday. A report summarised in the latest issue of the World Health Organisation’s Bulletin says government doctors, nurses and midwives were far more active in offering treatment and medicines to cyclone survivors than non-governmental organisations and individual volunteers. And many of those who protested a year ago are still in prison. Chaos continues in Thailand as More »
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September 03, 2008

Aung San Suu Kyi refuses doctors

From Reuters by way of Danny Fisher: Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi refused to see U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari last month and may be on a hunger strike to protest the regime's  intransigence. She says she is well and does not want to see a doctor. More »
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September 03, 2008

Tibet Today

The Dalai Lama is out of the hospital and recovering. But what will happen when he eventually dies? asks Benjamin Kang Lim. Kevin Deluca in the Salt Lake City Tribune urges Western journalists to cut the pro-Tibet bias and can the free Tibet talk: Amid cries of "free Tibet" and calls for religious freedom, the question is what does freedom have to do with Tibet? Under the Dalai Lama, was there religious freedom? Was there any freedom? Actually, no. We would recognize the Dalai Lama's Tibet as a medieval religious theocracy with a small elite class served by a large and oppressed serf population. The Dalai Lama ruled a region with no religious freedom, no political freedom, indeed, no human rights of any kind. The rulers were ruthless. More »
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September 02, 2008

Painting Elephants

If you haven’t heard of them already, these painting elephants will blow you away. The Asian Art and Conservation Project, a New York based non-profit dedicated to protecting the diminishing Asian elephant, works with domesticated elephants to raise funds for these elephants’ welfare, for the conservation of wild elephants, and for certain surrounding communities.  Employing art as a means of charity and service to humans and elephants alike, The Asian Art and Conservation Project is innovative in its vision and approach, and really worth exploring. If you aren’t “terrified” like my friend, Ben, you will most likely find yourself in awe and inspired. Painting Elephant Video More »
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September 02, 2008

Who's Buddhist Now?

This may be the only blog post you read today not about Sarah Palin. But it's something just as substantial: Amy Winehouse turns to Buddhism to battle her demons. (Advice from Tsultrim Allione in the pages of Tricycle on this.) It's Nichiren Buddhism Winehouse is interested in, supposedly. More »
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September 01, 2008

Keeping up the pressure in Korea

Protesters are prepared for the long haul. Ten thousand temples rang their bells simultaneously and held a service praying for peace and unity. On the fringes of the protest, a monk even slashed himself to draw attention to the protesters' demands. More »