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February 23, 2008

Buddhism in Vietnam and England; Buddhist Center in Kashmir

Buddhism has had rocky times in communist Vietnam, but now the state-sanctioned church is flexing its muscles at the expense of Catholics. But it's very different in London, where Cambodian Buddhists use a two-bedroom flat as their temple and community center. They now have no place to gather, after a recent fire. In India, the government set up a Buddhist center in Kashmir and cited the religion's influence on Mahatma Gandhi, and value as an antidote to the extremism that plagues the region. And in gratuitous celebrity news, Orlando Bloom's squeeze Miranda Kerr discusses the couple's mutual love of Buddhism. More »
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February 23, 2008

Beijing vs. the Tibetan language

The Tibetan language is said to be under siege by deliberate Chinese policy: The Chinese government is neglecting and actively undermining the Tibetan language as part of continuing efforts to dilute the region's unique culture, a human rights group said on Thursday. Schools are forcing Tibetan children to learn China's national language, Mandarin, at a younger and younger age and are failing to support use of Tibetan in official fields, the Free Tibet Campaign said in a new report. "China's insistence on Chinese language in Tibetan schools has failed a generation of Tibetans who now lag behind the rest of China in terms of basic literacy," the group's Matt Whitticase said in an emailed statement. Beijing hits back. More »
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February 22, 2008

On Being and Not Being a Buddhist

Woodmoor Village points us to this post on the Washington Post's On Faith section. I am not a Buddhist. I've never told anyone that I am a Buddhist and have in fact denied the title on more than one occasion. Even though I have been circling around the stupa for the last ten years, I have never made any formal or official commitment to the Buddha sāsana. I've never sown a rakusu or received a "dharma name." I am, as of this moment, a freelance wanderer through the six realms of samsara. More »
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February 22, 2008

Bhutan in National Geographic; Burma News

National Geographic has a piece in the current issue about Bhutan, with pretty pictures. Burma fights back at Rambo. Lonely Planet is criticized for its Burma guidebook. The Boston Globe on the world's conscience and Burma. More »
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February 21, 2008

Urgent Appeal for Burma Protest Leaders

From Amnesty International. Danny Fisher has the details. More »
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February 21, 2008

Major U.S. Religion Survey to be Released Monday

A major Pew Research Center study on religion is coming soon: On Monday, Feb. 25, at noon, the Pew Forum will release the first report of a landmark survey that details the religious affiliation of the American public and explores the remarkable dynamism taking place in the U.S. religious marketplace. Based on interviews conducted in English and Spanish with a representative sample of more than 35,000 adults, the survey includes detailed information on religious affiliation and provides estimates of the size of religious groups that are as small as three-tenths of 1 percent of the adult population. More »
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February 21, 2008

Ram Dass on Knowledge

Information is just bits of data. Knowledge is putting them together— wisdom is transcending them. - Ram Dass, One Liners A Manual for a Spiritual Life More »
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February 20, 2008

Killing the Buddha

2001: KtB: The Buddha is dead. 2008: The Buddha: KtB is dead. Vaya con dios. More »
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February 20, 2008

"Dive-bar Dharma" in Salon

Salon has an interesting article called Dive-bar Dharma about Ethan Nichtern and Noah Levine and the new generation of Buddhists (or at least one of the new generations) in New York. The article mentions the graying of American dharma centers, and we should note this is true of all -- or maybe we should most -- churches and religions across the industrialized world, so the solution to this problem is by no means unique to Buddhism or even Buddhism in the West. More »
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February 20, 2008

Makha Bucha Day, Wat Dhammakaya, and the Metta Center

Makha Bucha Day is a major holiday in Thailand and it falls tomorrow, February 21. According to Buddhist scriptures, nine months after Siddharttha Gautama attained enlightenment, on the full-moon day of the third lunar month, a total of 1,250 disciples of the Buddha from various places spontaneously assembled at Veluvan in Magadha to pay respect to the Buddha. This meeting is considered very significant in Buddhist history because first, it was done without previous appointment and was therefore a miracle, and secondly, all the disciples had been ordained by the Buddha himself and had attained sainthood and become arahants. Wat Dhammakaya's website will let you experience Makha Bucha from the comfort of your own home. More »
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February 20, 2008

Bombs in Burma; Buddhist Burned Alive in Thailand

Several small bombs were set off in a hotel in northern Burma, while violence continues in southern Thailand, ignored by the world. This time the victim was a 46-year-old Buddhist man who was shot then burned alive. Another man was also shot but managed to escape the militants. More »
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February 20, 2008

Burma's New Constitution will exclude Aung San Suu Kyi from government (again)

Burma finishes up a draft of their new constitution and not surprisingly Aung San Suu Kyi won't be allowed to run for election in 2010. This is part of their faint pretense at moving toward democracy. ASEAN, criticized for lack of action throughout the Burmese crisis, expresses concern. Burma's junta could give two figs what the world think, but China cares, and China controls the purse strings. So when the junta kicks, make China, specifically the effort to mount the Berlin 1936 Bejing 2008 Olympics, feel it. More »
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February 20, 2008

More on Shinjo Ito in New York

Some more on the Shinjo Ito exhibition now in New York (the start of a world tour, apparently.) Several people I have spoken to have expressed surprise that the art is so recent. Here's the New York Times and artdaily.org. [Photo: The "Great Parnirvana" sculpture by Shinjo Ito, depicting Buddha on his deathbed, is prepared for a show of the artist's works, which opens Thursday in Chelsea. Michael Nagle for The New York Times] More »
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February 20, 2008

Invasive Species

Invasive species are a serious and growing problem. The Telegraph (UK) describes the situation around the world and in Britain, where they are now worried about the infamous snakehead fish, which has also been found in the U.S. This is the monster-movie nightmare fish that can survive out of water for extended periods of time, walk on its fins, and apparently, if big enough, kill people. An editorial in the New York Times describes the common practice of ships dumping their ballast water in-harbor rather than out at sea, whichis largely responsible for carrying invasive species across oceans. Global warming may also play a role. More »
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February 20, 2008

Oprah and Pema

lotusinthemud tells us Oprah and Pema got together. With audio. More »
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February 19, 2008

The Beef Industry, faked photos in Tibet, and Gambari Heads Back to Burma

You may have heard about or seen the sickening video from the Westland/Hallmark meatpacking plant in California. It's been all over the news. James at the Buddhist Blog has a great post on it. 143 million pounds of beef were recalled due to cruelty and slaughtering sick animals at this plant. Do a little bit of reading on the beef industry, just a tiny bit. It will make you sick and it will make you angry. U.N. More »
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February 18, 2008

Gambari in China, the Ajanta Caves

Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N. special envoy to Burma, is now taking the good fight to China. Maybe he'll bring up the Olympics. And the BBC has a special report from Burma as the six-month mark after the protests approaches. More love for Rambo: Burmese refugees in Connecticut saw the film and say "It's true."Interesting but pictureless description of the Ajanta Caves. Two 32-year-olds killed in more violence in southern Thailand. More »
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February 15, 2008

Burma News 2/15/08, Autonomy for Thailand's South? Sri Lanka's Civil War Expands

Danny Fisher follows up on Burma with a depressing report from avaaz.org. An unlikely pairing: Amnesty International and John Rambo. Quick: what's the capital of Burma? The zoo is being moved there. The Karen National Union, a rebel group on Burma's border with Thailand, saw their leader Mahn Sha assassinated recently. More »
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February 15, 2008

Sylvia Boorstein Stops By

Sylvia Boorstein, author of the new book Happiness is an Inside Job, dropped by the Tricycle office this afternoon to say hello. Your humble correspondent snapped this pic, and talked her into doing a Q & A on tricycle.com! Look for it next month. She showed us her cool new website, which has pictures of the author / meditation teacher/ psychotherapist as a young lady in Brooklyn. Her husband Seymour, whose picture is on the site, was with her. More »
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February 15, 2008

Shinjo Ito in New York

If you're going to be in New York City, check out The Vision and Art of Shinjo Ito at the Milk Gallery starting February 21st. More about it here. More »