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    New Year, Burma, Iowa Paid Member

    It's the new year and many of us have the great state of Iowa on the brain today. But the Voice of America is reporting on Burma and the incredible poverty there that guarantees the tensions between the people and the "government" will not go away anytime soon. And Claude Arpi wonders whether 2007 was an annus horribilis or an annus mirabilis for the Dalai Lama, and for Tibet. But is there even anything new to the new year? Ethan Nichtern says the new year is a perfect opportunity to assess our path. More »
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    Not Giving Up on Burma Paid Member

    Well, you gotta hand it to Washington. Our government, which has given up on combatting (or even admitting) human-influenced climate change, is not giving up on Burma, at least rhetorically (It helps that Iran seems to be off the table for now.) Congress is finally pushing a bill through the gridlock that will cut off some finances for the junta. About time! And Bush promises more sanctions. On another note Danny Fisher points out we can sign a petition to tell the world we don't support the Bush administration's obstruction vis a vis the Bali talks. More »
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    Atheism, Vietnam, Sarkozy, and Holiday Stress Paid Member

     Why is atheism so hot right now? The Nation's Katha Pollitt: There's no question in my mind that horror at militant Islam and fear of Muslim immigration lie behind at least some of the current vogue for atheism--you don't make the bestseller list by excoriating the evils of Lutheranism or Buddhism. The problem is that the more scorn one feels for religious belief, the less able one is to appreciate "reformed" or "moderate" variants of the faith. After all, pro-gay Episcopalians and liberation theology Catholics still believe in Christ, the afterlife, sin; reformed Jews still find wisdom in the Old Testament. Strictly speaking, an atheist should have no truck with any of it. But if all you can offer people is reasons to quit their religion--which also often means their community, their family, their support system and their identity--you're not going to have many takers. More »
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    Gil Fronsdal, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Dalai Lama on Parade, and Meditation Tips Paid Member

    Insight meditation teacher Gil Fronsdal has answered the top three questions from visitors to They're here. BURMA: A very brief piece says Aung San Suu Kyi is ready to cooperate with the government "in the interest of the nation." Boycott Chevron. More »
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    Trouble in Thailand continues; Who's meditating now? Paid Member

    BURMA: Imprisoned leader Aung San Suu Kyi is set for talks with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari. What will they talk about? She reportedly has some health problems. The junta will gladly let her leave for treatment, but getting back in might be a little trickier. More »
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    Meditation: What do the numbers tell us? Paid Member

    Kudos to Jeff Wilson, whose blog post at the end of December continues to inspire lively discussion. It’s a good bit of information to keep in mind that most Buddhists do not meditate; just like many of our Asian counterparts, we are often ignorant of other forms of Buddhist practice. Tibetans never referred to their dharma as “Tibetan dharma”; nor did Sri Lankans consider their dharma anything but dhamma. It is Western historical scholarship that began the study of comparative religion, and it is in the West where we find most forms of Buddhism thriving side by side. So it’s an excellent point Jeff makes: The forms of Buddhism most common among Western converts make up only a very thin slice of the global Buddhist pie. More »