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  • Tricycle Pilgrimage to India, January 2008 Paid Member

    The Tricycle pilgrimage to India was an eventful one, with so many sites visited we were all a bit winded by the end of it. This year, our unflappable Indian guide, Shantum Seth, took us down to the stone-temple caves of Ajanta and Ellora--truly spectacular. Stephen Batchelor and Shantum led mediations and teachings, and most memorable for me--after Ajanta and Ellora--was our visit to Sanchi, in Madhaya Pradesh. Sanchi is the site of some of the most well-preserved stupas and examples of Buddhist architecture. Stone structures spanning centuries are perched high on a hill overlooking the plains below. The great thing about Sanchi is that it spans a period from the third to the twelfth centuries. The earliest structures show no representation of the Buddha at all, in keeping with the tradition's focus on the teachings, not the man. More »
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    Overcoming Caste Paid Member

    An article on dalit oppression in India from the Washington Post, via Going for Refuge. Not so long ago, in the back of a tin-roofed restaurant, Ramu, a teenage dishwasher, spent his nights chained to a radiator. That's how his employer kept him from running away. Ramu wanted to flee because his boss, who was from a higher, more privileged caste, constantly berated him for showing an interest in learning to read. The boss believed Ramu had to get used to a life of cleaning up after other people because as a Dalit, a member of India's lowest and most shunned caste, he could never amount to anything. Then a foreigner who ran a private school and home for Dalit children noticed Ramu. He enrolled him in classes. More »
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    Burmese Monks, Thai Monks, Bhutanese Politicians Paid Member

    Burmese monks taking refuge in Thailand wait, and hope for the best. More on the Thai monks networking online, including some -- to cynical Western ears -- fairly mild quotes: One user who called himself "Monk Chat" sent a message to a woman that said "(I) miss you," reported Thai Rath, Thailand's top-selling newspaper. Bhutan prepares to join the wonderful world of participatory democracy, with all that that implies (including a primary season that may last right up to the convention!) More »
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    China trying to crack U.S. computer network? Paid Member

    This story seems quite inflammatory. Cyberwars are already happening, so this would mean declaration of cyberwar by China (in the year of their Olympic triumph) if true. But remember it's all according to a Pentagon annual report. And to put it as mildly as possible, opinions vary on the trustworthiness of reports from Bush's Pentagon. More »
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    WNYC's Gift to Bhutan Paid Member

    Andrea Bernstein of WNYC spent a week in Bhutan, training local reporters to cover the nation's first-ever election on March 24th. Bernstein blogged her interesting and amusing experiences here. Hmmm, some gift. Welcome to the wonderful world of political journalism, Bhutan! A free and disinterested press is very important, of course. But there's little enough of that on these shores when it comes to covering the current U.S. campaign. More »
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    Panchen Lama Too Young for Politics, Burmese and Sri Lankan News Paid Member

    China has apparently changed its mind and now says Beijing's Panchen Lama is too young for politics. The Dalai Lama's choice for Panchen Lama remains hidden somewhere, probably under arrest. having undergone years of "re-education." U.N> special envoy Ibrahim Gambari heads back to Burma. Will he diplomatically express his dissatisfaction with Burma's "roadmap to democracy?" India, the world's largest democracy, is tightening ties with Burma. They are neighbors after all. Can India use its considerable leverage to ameliorate the situation? Time will tell, but first the money has to start flowing. Imagine your next-door neighbor beats up his wife. But he sells you lots of things you want very cheaply and lets you park your RV in his driveway. More »