• Buddha Buzz: Big Business Buddhism Paid Member

    China has finally broken its silence about the recent Tibetan immolations, releasing several official statements. But considering that these statements are by and large depressing—one made by a Communist Party secretary in the Miami Herald was that "public complaints about cultural repression do not exist. On the contrary, Tibetan culture is flourishing"—it seems like a better idea to ignore all of these "official" statements and instead enjoy this interesting interview with Ran Yunfei on the New York Review of Books blog. Yunfei is a Chinese intellectual and popular Tweeter who was released from house arrest last month after running afoul of the Chinese government. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: A Blond Dalai Lama? Paid Member

    Does anyone remember when Hungary withdrew official recognition for all religious organizations in the country except 14? Well, good news. They've added 18 more, 5 Buddhist groups among them. Of course, that still leaves over two hundred religious sects that aren't recognized, but at least Hungary is acknowledging that Buddhism (and Islam, and Jehovah's witnesses, apparently) exists within its borders. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Buddhist History in Danger Paid Member

    Sad news from the Maldives this week, an islands-nation that lies southwest of India. The Maldives, though now strictly Islamic, was Buddhist until the 12th century. In recent political turmoil, during which the first democratically elected president in the country's history resigned (he says he was forced to), six men entered the National Museum and smashed almost 30 Buddhist statues, some of which were over 1,500 years old. A New York Times article reports on the loss:   More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Burma, Uganda, and a Rare Genetic Mutation Unleashed Paid Member

    A few weeks ago on the Tricycle blog we featured the guest post Burma in 2012: A Political Report Card, by Deborah Weinberg. The post spoke of freedom, hope, and progressiveness, but Weinberg expressed enough skepticism of Burma's government to end with the line, "We’ll find out in the coming months if the progress is real and a genuine road to freedom."  It was cheering, then, to read this piece of news from yesterday: Monastic Council Restores Status of Released Monks. From the article: The official body that governs Buddhist monastic affairs in Burma has restored the status of three monks who were released from prison last month after serving more than four years behind bars for their involvement in the 2007 Saffron Revolution. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Religious Freedom, Swastikas, and the Giving High Paid Member

    We're starting off this week's Buddha Buzz with a pretty clear example of religious intolerance in Hudson, Wisconsin. Don Chering, a Buddhist, put up an American flag and a string of Tibetan prayer flags on the day that his son left for U.S. Army basic training. The flags stretch across the front of his house and over his garage door. Soon, his landlady contacted him with an order from the Homeowners Association in charge of the housing complex where Chering lives to remove the flags (it's unclear as of yet if they are requesting that the American flag be removed as well).  More »
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    Buddha Buzz: Bartending Monks and Hungary's New Constitution Paid Member

    On January 1, Hungary's new constitution was passed—one that many say removes a system of checks and balances on the central government and also endangers constitutional rights.  One of these violations of constitutional rights was a withdrawal of official recognition for over 300 religious denominations that exist in Hungary. In fact, only 14 organizations—3 Jewish and the rest Christian—were granted official status (you can read the full list here, on page 17). This means that all other religions, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many other Jewish and Christian denominations have lost their tax exemptions and state subsidies.  More »