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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 »
  • Buddhists expelled from Malaysia for praying in Muslim hall Paid Member

    (RNS) The government of Malaysia expelled a group of Singaporean tourists for chanting Buddhist prayers inside an Islamic prayer room where they erected a large Buddhist painting on the wall facing Mecca. The government also revoked the permanent resident visa of the businessman who allowed the Buddhists to pray at his beach resort in Johor state, about 185 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Muslim-majority Malaysia. The government’s response is the latest in a series of crackdowns on behavior deemed disrespectful of Islamic traditions and beliefs. A Malaysian human rights group, Lawyers for Liberty, protested the action. More »
  • Makeshift Bomb Detonates in Buddhist Temple in Indonesia's Capital Paid Member

    On Sunday evening a bomb blast rocked the Ekayana Buddhist Centre, a temple for Jarkarta’s Chinese Buddhists in the western area of Indonesia’s capital, leaving three members of the 300-person congregation with minor injuries. A second explosive device was found undetonated, smoldering in a bucket, with a note that read, “We respond to the screams of the Rohingya.” Although loaded with “buckshot, batteries, and other materials,” the explosives were incapable of a major blast, a police spokesman told the Wall Street Journal, noting that the explosion failed to break the glass of a nearby door. More »
  • A Moral Politics Paid Member

    For months members of the House of Representatives wrangled over how much in cuts they would make to the nation’s food stamps program in the new Farm Bill they were drafting. On July 11th, by a vote of 216 to 208, the House finally passed a bill, and guess what? The bill does not include any funding for food stamps. Opposition to the bill was strong—all Democrats joined by twelve Republicans voted against it—but the majority prevailed, reflecting the agenda of Tea Party ideologues and conservative deficit hawks who dominate in the House. More »
  • Robert Bellah, Sociologist of Religion, Dies at 86 Paid Member

    Preeminent sociologist of religion and Tricycle contributor Robert N. Bellah has passed away after complications following a minor surgery. He was 86. Bellah had most recently served as the Elliot Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at the University of California at Berkeley. Through his teaching and writing throughout his post there, his ideas spread far beyond the academy to greatly impact our understanding of religion and spirituality in the culture at large. In 2000, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton in recognition of his accomplishments. More »