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November 24, 2008

More Grotesque Miscarriages of Justice in Burma

It's getting a bit repetitive talking about arrests in Burma but the world needs to keep condemning the junta for human rights violations such as this outrage: A regional human rights body has condemned the Burmese military rulers for arbitrarily sentencing two lawyers, who were acting as defence counsels for political activists and called for their immediate release. Could there be a more grotesque mockery of due process than jailing defense lawyers? More »
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November 24, 2008

Dalai Lama may appoint regent to succeed him

It seems the Dalai Lama may appoint a regent to succeed him: The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, is considering appointing a regent to lead the Tibetan movement after his death until his reincarnation is old enough to take over. The idea was discussed this week at an unprecedented meeting of 600 Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala, the northern Indian town where the Dalai Lama set up his government in exile after fleeing Tibet in 1959. It is the latest proposal intended to ensure a smooth succession after the death of the Dalai Lama, who is 73 and has been suffering recently from ill health. More »
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November 20, 2008

Architecture for Tibet

John Ullman, president of the nonprofit Architecture for Tibet, recently got in touch with Tricycle about his organization’s efforts to construct an academic center in Tawang, Northeast India. The academic center will be built as an addition to the Majushree Orphanage, which lies close to the Tibetan border and is home to 108 children, many of whom are a part of the diaspora. Solar India Solutions will engineer and install a geothermal heating system—the first green technology in the region—providing much-needed warmth in this mountainous locale. Architecture for Tibet needs funding and support to execute its extraordinary vision. Check out the group's website and this press release: More »
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November 20, 2008

Dharma on No Dollars a Day; Peter Matthiessen

These uneasy times and a plunging Dow Jones (and longer -- or is it shorter -- skirts?) made me think back to a special section Tricycle put out way back in 1996 called Money: The Mirror of Mind. Why is money the mirror of mind? José Reissig writes in A Visible Illusion: The Truth About Money: As things stand now, whenever money enters the picture, whenever a transaction is mediated by it, our obstinacy in seeing it as separate tends to prevail: instead of a link we find disconnection. The web develops a gap. More »
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November 20, 2008

Dalai Lama Manga

Thanks to the incredibly talented and prolific Frank Olinsky for sending over this cool link -- the Dalai Lama, plus Aung San Suu Kyi and other luminaries, in manga! More »
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November 19, 2008

Recycling takes a hit

You've seen a great example of recycling at work with the Buddhist temple made from beer bottles (pic above.) But it seems that with the world economic downturn, piles of paper and other goods that China used to buy are piling up in the U.S. and Europe. That's an unexpected result of the recession -- and isn't it depressing that it seems to be cheaper to kill trees than recycle paper? Until it's cheaper, what hope does it have? More »
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November 19, 2008

UN condemns Burma's arbitrary "justice system"

According to the BBC, a UN group that includes human rights experts condemns the recent "trials" by Burma's courts. More »
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November 19, 2008

Big Mind

Dennis Genpo Merzel discusses Big Mind in the latest Tricycle. [Image: Buddha del Sol, Chris Cosnowski, 2005, oil on panel, 18 x 15 inches. © Chris Cosnowski, courtesy of the artist and Lyons Wier Ortt Gallery, NYC, in private collection] More »
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November 19, 2008

Sangha Appears Naturally in Daily Life

Sangha is a Sanskrit word that in its narrowest sense has as its referent the community of those who follow the Buddha’s teaching. As limited as this application of the term might be, the community of Buddhist followers nonetheless consists of a vast network of sangha within sangha arranged like concentric rings of mutual inclusion. The Chico Zen Sangha, for example, which I once founded and teach is a sangha in its own right. But it is as well a sangha within the larger sangha of both Soto and Rinzai Zen, having established formal affiliation with both traditions. But the Zen tradition itself is in turn a sangha within the larger sangha of the whole Buddhist community. Whether it be Tibetan, Theravada, Insight Meditation, Pure Land, or whatever, the community of those who follow the Buddha’s teaching constitutes one vast world-wide sangha. But it doesn’t end there, for it is taught that Buddha nature pervades the whole universe, a concept descriptive of a virtually limitless sangha comprised of the intimate and intricate interweaving of all beings into one seamless whole. This being so, what is there to exclude? What stone, what drifting feather, what clot of earth or sky, what soiled and drunken soul sleeping in the doorway of the convenience store, what cranky or cheerful clerk at the checkout stand, what mother, father, child, what family rich or poor, hungry or full, what being of any sort, anywhere, at any time, is not sangha? More »
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November 18, 2008

Agent Orange's Toxic Legacy Lives on in Vietnam

More than thirty years have passed, and Vietnamese people of all ages are still suffering. Children who weren't even born when the war ended were exposed either though their parents or through environmental contamination. The government of Vietnam cannot afford to help the many dioxin victims. Many U.S. veterans have received money from the several companies that produced Agent Orange, but will the Vietnamese ever see any compensation or help? More »
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November 17, 2008

Young Tibetans split from Dalai Lama and call for civil unrest

After years -- or lifetimes -- of frustration with China, some young Tibetans are not satisified with the way the Tibetan leadership is handling things. And it's happened before. More »
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November 17, 2008

Karen Armstrong on Compassion

The eminent religiologist (not a real word) Karen Armstrong writes about a Charter of Compassion -- this is all over the Buddhist blogs (and sure is geting some nasty comments from people who feel that their particular faith isn't properly reflected in the blog.) Well, seems like a nice enough idea, who doesn't like compassion? So a Yes vote for compassion (and wisdom too, if you have any to spare.) But the whole charter idea seems to wither in the light of the very serious challenges religions face these days. The nasty commenters will fill you in when you visit. More »
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November 17, 2008

More on Tibet and Burma

None of this will cheer you up. More »
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November 17, 2008

Talks in Tibet

Tibetan exiles have gathered in Dharamsala to discuss the future -- and the past. The Dalai Lama has been ill, he has expressed disappointment with China regarding talks about Tibet, and suggested that the office of the Dalai Lama will not last forever -- nothing does. But for anyone with a shred of sympathy for a free or autonomous Tibet, the picture is a bit gloomy. More »
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November 13, 2008

Petition from US Campaign for Burma

Danny FIsher has a petition from the U.S. Campaign for Burma for you (that means you) to sign urging UN Secretary General to visit Burma and give the junta a kick in the pants about human rights violations. More »
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November 13, 2008

13 More Pro-Democracy Burmese Dissidents Arrested

From the AP by way of the New York Times: The junta has no shame. Time for Mr. Green, the U.S. special envoy to Burma, to get to work. Buddhist Art News discusses Vaishali. More »
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November 12, 2008

The war on food miles

More on the war on food miles. Ronald Bailey from the conservative reasononline argues that air freighting food accounts for a small fraction of the CO2 emitted in getting food from farm to our plates, and that we're better off growing food where it's cheapest to do so. Of course, this is capitalism's answer for everything, and explains why it's cheaper to make New York City's manhole covers in India. More »
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November 12, 2008

More on "Buddha Boy"

Ram Bahadur Bamjan, known in the press as "Buddha Boy" emerged from the jungles of southern Nepal to teach for a week. He is said, by whom is unclear, to be the reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha. The reincarnation of the Buddha? There is of course some controversy to his claims: However, as word of Bamjan's claimed feats spread worldwide several reports raised doubts over his authenticity. At the height of his fame, a French journalist filmed him nibbling on a piece of fruit while supposedly midway through his mammoth fast. More »
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November 12, 2008

"Fuel-price protestors" arrested in Burma

And given de facto life sentences: A Burmese court has sentenced 14 prominent dissidents to 65 years' imprisonment each for leading peaceful protests against a fuel price rise that spiralled into the widespread Buddhist monk-led demonstrations crushed by the military junta last year. The sentencing to de facto life imprisonment of the second tier of leaders of the 88 Generation students was described by one diplomat as "political revenge" against activists who helped shine a global spotlight on the political repression and economic stagnation in military-ruled Burma. "This is not a criminal justice system," said a Bangkok-based western diplomat, who monitors developments in Burma. More »
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November 12, 2008

Bush names special envoy and policy chief for Burma

Michael Green. He's known as a neocon and hawk and is also intended to keep an eye on ASEAN and China and push U.S. (Bush administration) policy in south and southeast Asia generally. Ah, memories of SEATO. US President George W. More »