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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 »
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    Dalai Lama's Visit Down Under Runs into Controversy Paid Member

    When the Dalai Lama set up his trip to Australia way back when, he might have known he would run into some trouble. China is tightening its vice-like grip around the world because capitalism is designed to deliver the best products at the cheapest possible cost, which means using the cheapest (i.e. slave) labor. People will argue back and forth about globalism, protectionism, the free market, etc., but meanwhile, as the world's richest democracy spends precious lives and lots of money in a certain Middle Eastern country, the world's richest dictatorship grows richer selling cheap products to the democracies of the world. (China's also wisely developing closer relations with Africa.) More »
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    Thai Monks Call for Buddhism to be Declared State Religion Paid Member

    Buddhist monks are planning to stage a rally in central Bangkok on April 25th to pressure the Constitution Drafting Committee to enshrine Buddhism as the state religion. The military regime currently controlling Thailand is resisting this move, and urging all involved to carefully consider what they are asking. The monks involved do not seem to represent the Buddhist leadership in Thailand, nor are they explicitly involved with a political group. More »