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    Gustaaf Houtman, Kate Wheeler, Joseph Goldstein, and Michael Caine Paid Member

    Here's a great interview with anthropologist Gustaaf Houtman, an expert on the big, messy world of the Burmese military. It's from Irrawaddy News Magazine. Quick take: Q: But surely, secular politicians, such as Aung San, never approved of Buddhism as a political instrument? A: Approving of Buddhism as a political instrument is one thing: understanding by means of Buddhist concepts how disorder arises and order may be established, and what kind of political intervention might be necessary, are another. To proclaim that Buddhism here serves as a political instrument would be to grossly oversimplify what has been going on. In raising fuel prices to unaffordable levels, the regime has made it impossible for the laity to support Buddhist monastic practice and so has politicised Buddhism. More »
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    Masterpieces of Buddhist Art, Burma deadlock, Traffic jams in Tibet Paid Member

    An exhibition of Korean Master Jin Hyung Lee's Buddhist sculptures is happening in L.A. at Silk Roads Design Gallery, 145 North La Brea Ave., until December 16, 2007. The event is co-sponsored by Korea Sah International Buddhist Temple, 500 N. Western Ave. Check it out if you're in the area. This seated Bodhidharma (Korean: Dalma) caught my eye, but there are more than thirty pieces in the exhibition, all as beautiful as this one. I love the chest hair on the "blue-eyed barbarian." (Sculpture is gilded bronze, 46 x 39 x 29 inches.) More »
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    We've Lost the War on Terror Paid Member

    Danny Fisher has a post about waterboarding and our shameful (and now inevitable) Attorney-General-to-be, Michael Mukasey. Add waterboarding to extraordinary rendition and I think it's fair to say we've left "American values" far behind us and perhaps we'll never return. NBC Nightly News (or one of those shows; I get them confused) was in Culpepper, Virginia lately. It seems like a nice quiet town, but the general mood there, according to anchor Brian Williams (or somebody), was anxiety. And not anxiety over oil prices, internet predators, or the weakening dollar, but anxiety over how some Arab's gonna blow up the schoolbus. More »
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    The Art of Reality Paid Member

    You may have read Bruce Wagner's essay "The Art of Reality" in the pages of Tricycle or on (Bruce also had something to say about the fires in and around L.A. and San Diego in the pages of the New York Times not long ago.) In response to a recent letter to the editor regarding his essay on Dr. Castaneda, "which seems to have raised an eyebrow in one reader," Mr. Wagner had this to report: "At the invitation of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, several practitioners of Tensegrity who worked directly with Carlos Castaneda recently conducted a sold-out workshop at the Shambhala Mountain Retreat in Colorado. More »
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    Burma needs PR help, among other things Paid Member

    David Steinberg, described as being something of a PR consultant to the Burmese government, visited recently and spoke with government officials. He told them they were losing what little legitimacy they have in international eyes, but acknowledge later that his visit seemed to have little effect, much like everything else the world is doing on Burma. More »
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    U.N. Official Ordered out of Myanmar Paid Member

    Charles Petrie, the top-ranking U.N. official in Myanmar (at least until special envoy Gambari arrives Saturday) was ordered out of the country by the ruling junta. Why? he wrote a letter criticizing the "deteriorating humanitarian situation" in the country, thus "acting beyond his capacity" according to the junta. [The letter] concluded with a reference to the mass protests that were brutally suppressed. “The concerns of the people have been clearly expressed through the recent peaceful demonstrations, and it is beholden on all to listen,” the statement said. On Oct. More »