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    Findings shed light on when the Buddha (might have) died Paid Member

    (RNS) Scientists have uncovered the first physical evidence showing when the great religious leader known as the Buddha passed away, a date crucial to scholars and adherents of Buddhism. Excavations in 2011 and 2012 at a site known as the Buddha’s birthplace imply he died—or, more accurately, experienced his “great passing away”—in the 6th century B.C., roughly 100 years earlier than the scholarly consensus. The debate over the timing is not just academic: Buddhist countries such as Thailand use a dating system pegged to the year of the Buddha’s death, and some of his prophecies imply no one will achieve enlightenment a certain number of years after his passing. More »
  • S. N. Goenka, Pioneer of Secular Meditation Movement, Dies at 90 Paid Member

    S. N. Goenka, leader of an enormously popular worldwide insight meditation (vipassana) movement, died on September 29 of natural causes in Mumbai, India. He was 90 years old. More »
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    Editors' Comment on Recent Naval Yard Shooting Paid Member

    It appears that Aaron Alexis, the gunman in the massacre at the Washington Navy Yard, was a Buddhist. In the Washington Post a headline reads, "Buddhist community ponders apparent link between their faith and Navy Yard shooter." More »
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    A Closer Look at the Navy Yard Shooter Paid Member

    (RNS) The man who shot and killed 12 people had his problems. But friends who worked and lived beside Alexis say they don’t recognize the man who went on a shooting rampage Monday at a military complex in Washington, DC, and eventually was shot dead in a gunfight. Alexis’ life ended in Washington, where he lived in a Residence Inn in the southwest part of the city and worked as civilian contractor for the military. But much of his story is centered in Fort Worth, where he seemed to be an easygoing guy who practiced Buddhism, meditated for hours, and hung out with friends who spoke Thai, as he did. “He was a good guy to me,” said Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, who met Alexis three years ago at Wat Busayadhammavanaram, a Fort Worth Buddhist temple. The two became good friends. More »
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    Nepal battles misconceptions over Buddha’s birthplace Paid Member

    (RNS) Quick: Where was the Buddha born? To hear many Indians talk, you’d think it was India, where he attained enlightenment and gave his first sermon. But the people of Nepal know better—and they are eager to correct misconceptions about the Awakened One, one of the world’s most revered figures. Next month, Nepal will circulate a new 100-rupee note with the imprint, “Lumbini: The Birthplace of Lord Buddha.” The currency is part of the government’s most recent effort to correct the record. It comes amid protests following a promotional video on the private Indian channel Zee TV, which claimed the Buddha was born in India. More »
  • Physicians group blames government for Burma religious strife Paid Member

    (RNS) Buddhists are killing Muslims in Burma with impunity because the government failed to stop the attacks, New York-based Physicians for Human Rights reported amid fresh assaults that left more Muslims homeless. During the past year, scattered clashes across Buddhist-majority Myanmar, also known as Burma, have left more than 240 people dead, most of them Muslims. A mob of about 1,000 Buddhists burned more than 35 Muslim homes and a dozen shops on August 24 in Kanbalu in Burma's central Sagaing Division after hearing rumors that a Muslim man sexually assaulted a young Buddhist woman, police told The Associated Press. More »