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    Buddhism Caught up in India-China Rhetoric, and Boom Goes the Baht Paid Member

    More on China and India's tug-of-war over Buddhism here. I don't know why I find China's rhetoric on this issue interesting / amusing. Am I alone on this? The article says China is trying to project a Buddhist-friendly image because of Tibet: "Having destroyed Tibetan Buddhism and put in its place a state-sanctioned version of Buddhism, Beijing is making grand gestures to shore up its Buddhist credentials. It wants to soften its image for East and Southeast Asia but, more importantly, Tibet," said the official. "Hence Beijing's bonding with Buddhism." More »
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    Meditation in the Classroom; Angry Buddhas (and Buddhists) Paid Member

    Buddhism hits the mainstream this week, with the New York Times running an extensive piece about mindfulness as it is now being taught in public schools--mostly on the West Coast, unsurprisingly enough, although one program has taken root in Lancaster, PA. Asked to define mindfulness, one Oakland fifth grader replied: "Not hitting someone in the mouth." We couldn't have put it better ourselves. When embarking on multimillion dollar construction projects in Hong Kong, be careful--apparently, the Buddha has become incensed over the placement of a nearby cable car route, which, feng shui consultants warned, would disturb the tranquility of the infamous Big Buddha statue and the nearby Po Lime monastery. Thankfully, the car on which he vented his anger, tossing it 13 stories to the ground, was empty, so no precepts were broken. More »
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    Clouds over Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites Paid Member

    According to NewsPost India, Nepali Maoist are supposed to be enforcing an "indefinite shutdown" of Kapilavastu, the city where the Buddha's father, King Suddhodana, reigned. (That would be "indefinite" in terms of length of time, presumably.) I'm not sure if this includes Lumbini or other Buddhist sites in Nepal, or if there is a Kapilavastu town that is identical with the archaeological site. I don't suppose a ruin would be much worth occupying under normal circumstances, unless it had extraordinary political significance. This article mentions that you can still see "ramparts" of Suddhodana's palace which, to put it politely, strains one's credulity. (I haven't see the word "credulous" in print lately. More »
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    No to State Buddhism, Yes to Kashmiri Buddhism Paid Member

    The Thai political system, already confusing and chaotic in the aftermath of the 2006 military coup, took a dramatic turn Monday when the Constitution Drafting Committee rejected a proposal by Thai Buddhist monks to make Buddhism the official state religion. About 95% of Thais are at least nominally Buddhist, but Squadron Leader (!) Prasong Soonsiri nonetheless declared that "As for the issue of Buddhism as the state religion, Buddhism, which is the religion of the majority of Thai people, as well as (all) other religions, must be protected and promoted equally." Thailand has never established an official state religion in its 500+ year history as an independent political identity. More »
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    Misery and Merton Paid Member

    What makes us happy? Misery, according to the BBC. Well, not really. But pay attention now: Pursuing unrealistic goals leads to suffering... has the BBC gone Buddhist? Maybe all of Britain? That's what years and years of a special relationship with the United States will do to you. Let go and go Buddhist. The article cites a study that recommends mindfulness and meditation as a way to cope with suffering. Hmm, interesting idea. The article is really about relationships, and is in the Health section. (Would that mean that this article pertains to my mental health, or the effect that suffering and unhappiness can have on my physical health? When you think about things that generally, every piece of news is essentially about Me and My Health. . . . More »
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    More Dalit Mass Conversions Paid Member

    Buddhism took another step towards reintroducing itself to its birthplace last Sunday when Dalit leader and writer Laxman Mane led one of India’s famed “mass conversions.” These controversial events, in which thousands or even hundreds of thousands of low-caste or Dalit Indians take refuge formally in the Dharma, have been drawing more and more attention as they gradually spread through the low-caste population of the subcontintent. More »