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October 20, 2008

Land-Use Reform in China; 365 Days of Trash

Rural reform is a big part of communism -- take the huge estates, break them up into plots for small farmers to work, and so on, but the state owns the land. China is moving in the opposite direction and starting to re-privatize the land. (In North Korea, where people are starving, this would have a big impact. Fields that people own seem to produce more.) China's communism is very pragmatic and based on money these days rather than ideology. Money will keep them in power. Beijing wants farmers to consume: Increasing incomes in the countryside is a major part of the government’s effort to raise China’s domestic consumer spending at a time the overall economy is slowing. More than 700 million people are still designated rural inhabitants, yet their spending is minimal. More »
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October 17, 2008

With more monks safely in jail, China lures tourists back to Tibet

In Tibet, more monks are going to jail: Eight Buddhist monks convicted of bombing a government building in Tibet during an anti-government uprising in March have been sentenced to prison, two of them for life, a judge said Tuesday. The monks were sentenced at the People's Court in Chamdo, a Tibetan prefecture, after being convicted of setting off a bomb at the building in Gyanbe township, said Gang Weilai, the judge who presided over the case. Gyanbe is about 855 miles (1,375 kilometers) east of Lhasa, Tibet's capital, where peaceful protests against Chinese rule erupted into violence in March. Gyurmey Dhondup and Kalsang Tsering were sentenced to life in prison while the others received sentences of between five and 15 years, Gang said in a telephone interview. More »
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October 17, 2008

Burma: "Poverty and hunger, climate change and politics"

The illegal hunting of wild cats is flourishing in Burma. The biggest buyer of wild cat parts is China. TRAFFIC [the wildlife trade monitoring network] called on the Burmese authorities to clampdown on the illicit trade by: • Closing down markets where the parts are on sale and prosecuting the dealers. • Working with other neighbouring countries to end the international trade. • Trained staff being more vigilant at airports and border points. • Regular and systematic monitoring of markets by NGOs working with the authorities. • Revising existing laws and enforcing all CITES regulations. • Clarifying the status of the Fishing Cat, Leopard Cat and Jungle Cat. It is a difficult issue to get moral about except as it concerns governments. More »
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October 17, 2008

Friendship

A friend endowed with these three qualities is worth associating with. Which three? He/she gives what is hard to give, does what is hard to do, endures what is hard to endure. A friend endowed with these three qualities is worth associating with. - Anguttara Nikaya, III.133, trans. by Thanissaro Bhikkhu More »
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October 16, 2008

The Hidden Costs of Eating Meat

Ezra Klein, who blogs so often and well on food-related issues, discusses feedlots, where most of our meat comes from, the subsidization of meat which hides its true cost, and Michael Pollan's food proposals for our next president. Overconsumption of meat imposes huge costs on both the environment and on public health. And that's to say nothing of the indefensible cruelty that characterizes CAFO operations. Yet we spend billions to subsidize ever cheaper meat. And billions more to treat the ill health that results from our meat-heavy diets. And we will pay billions, even trillions, more, to handle the environmental damage that eventually results from these policies. More »
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October 16, 2008

Prison Chaplains are struggling

Precious Metal points us to a piece from The Yomiuri Online's series on capital punishment. This one is about the struggles of prison chaplains, specifically those chaplains dealing with death row inmates. Tricycle does its own small part to help prison chaplains and prisoners with our online Prison Project, and our partnership with Prison Dharma Network, but with prison rates as shockingly high as they are in the United States, there is much much more to be done More »
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October 16, 2008

Tensions High in South Korea; Beginner's Guide to Zen

There's more uproar over religious discrimination in South Korea. More »
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October 16, 2008

Gary Snyder in the New Yorker

A profile by Dana Goodyear and poetry. There's a blogpost about the profile, which isn't online. More »
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October 15, 2008

Temple at the Heart of Border Dispute

Cambodia and Thailand are having border skirmishes over Preah Vihear, a 900-year-old mountaintop temple, and the surrounding land. At least two soldiers have died and several more were wounded. The area is studded with landmines and as in the hands of the Khmer Rouge until a decade or so ago. More »
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October 14, 2008

Suicides Resulting from the Financial Crisis

Whatever we may think of the financial industry, we don't want to see stockbrokers jumping out of widows like it's 1929. And even though many western Buddhists talk about the romance of being poor, no one wants to see people have their homes taken away from them. This article on the suicides or attempted suicides resulting from the current financial crisis makes very sad reading: Notes left on the table revealed months of planning. She'd picked out her funeral home, laid out the insurance policy and left a note saying, "pay off the house with the insurance money." Integral Options Cafe has a video with Bob Thurman on whether Buddhism can save you from the financial crisis. More »
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October 14, 2008

Sharon Salzberg guest-lecturing at the ID Project

Sharon Salzberg is guest-lecturing at the Interdependence Project tomorrow in New York on lovingkindeness: Lovingkindness is a meditation that cultivates our natural capacity for an open and loving heart. It is traditionally offered with meditations that enrich compassion, and joy in the happiness of others, and also deepen our own sense of peace. These practices lead to the development of concentration, connection, fearlessness, and genuine happiness. Sharon Salzberg will introduce these teachings and support us in our own experience and cultivation of these qualities through direct instruction and guided meditation using classical techniques in a modern idiom. There will also be opportunities for questions. More »
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October 14, 2008

Ancient Monastery Discovered in Gujarat - Updated

From the Times of India: Gujarat State Archaeological Department has discovered a small size Buddhist monastery in Gujarat's Vadnagar, which dates back to 1,900 years. According to a report in Desh Gujarat, the walls of the discovered monastery were built using bricks. The 55 by 55 ft size monastery had a total of 12 cells for residual purpose of monks, with its entrance on the Northern direction. "This Buddhist monastery probably belongs to 2nd to 4th century era. More »
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October 14, 2008

Buddhist San Francisco

The New York Times visited it. More »
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October 12, 2008

Dalai Lama's Surgery Successful

He had some gallstones removed and he's going home. More »
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October 12, 2008

Thousand of Dalits Embrace Buddhism

"Not by birth is one an outcast; not by birth is one a brahmin. By deed one becomes an outcast, by deed one becomes an brahmin." - Sn 1.7, Vasala Sutta "Nearly 10,000" dalits take refuge near the anniversary of Ambedkar's mass conversion. They certainly have the incentive to leave the caste system -- one was killed recently for entering a temple in Bihar. (But in the world's largest democracy, they have the vote.) Are dalits the future of Buddhism? More »
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October 10, 2008

Buddha gets a manicure

This is great. From Barbara's Buddhism Blog by way of Danny Fisher. More »
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October 09, 2008

Threat to Democracy, and "The Snow Leopard" Returns

There's been a lot of talk about all the new voters added to the rolls for November's U.S. election, but: ... for every voter added to the rolls in the past two months in some states, election officials have removed two, a review of the records shows. Help others register to vote, or register yourself. No, not the animal itself, but the Peter Matthiessen book. Unfortunately the New York Review of Books article is subscriber-only. The Pico Iyer review says, "If you visit the high plateaus of the Himalaya... you have entered, as The Snow Leopard shows us, a realm of allegory." More »
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October 09, 2008

Dalai Lama Undergoes Medical Check-up (Updated)

His doctors say: "There's nothing wrong." UPDATE: Dalai Lama hospitalized for abdominal pains and may undergo surgery tomorrow. 1.2 million Buddhists are expected converge on Nagpur in central India to commemorate Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din, Dr. Ambedkar's  conversion of thousands of dalits to Buddhism on October 14th, 1956. Harvard professor Anne Harrington discusses the relationship between Buddhism and the brain sciences. Click here to watch. More »
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October 08, 2008

Troubled Thailand

There's no end in sight to the strife that has torn up the country for three years. It's tycoon and former PM Thaksin Shinawatra versus the traditional elites, with the king (and the people) in the middle. Meanwhile in the south, which has endured an active Muslim insurgency for years, rebels met with the government in Jakarta and seemingly hammered out a deal. But intermittet brutal violence still occurs, such as Tuesday's beheading. More »
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October 07, 2008

Twin Quakes in Tibet

A pair of earthquakes near Lhasa -- Reports indicate 10 killed and 34 injured so far. More »