Burma

  • Theravada Buddhism’s Muslim Problem Paid Member

    Buddhist and Muslim leaders meet to discuss peace initiatives at the Yogyakarta meeting in Indonesia, March 2015.  Buddhist radicalism is on the rise in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Since 2012, both countries have witnessed severe violence against their Muslim minorities. Attacks take place in an atmosphere of strong anti-Muslim rhetoric put forward by certain monk-led nationalist groups, and the (largely unknown) orchestrators and perpetrators of these attacks operate with impunity. More »
  • Not Playing Nice Paid Member

    Myanmar's parliament building It’s election year in Myanmar, the big test for the country’s aspiring democratic transition. Among the spirited national debates there are four controversial pieces of legislation currently under consideration in Myanmar’s Assembly of the Union parliament (the Pyidaungsu hluttaw). These reportedly aim to protect race and religion. But in truth, the bills represent a setback for religious freedom and women’s rights and—if adopted—are likely to deepen existing religious divides, threaten the reform agenda, and stir violence prior to the elections. More »
  • Myanmar's Cosmic Theater Paid Member

    Buddhist Art of MyanmarFebruary 10–May 10, 2015Asia Society, New York A Pyu period copper statue of a seated Buddha from the 8th or 9th century. Four years ago, Burma, now known as Myanmar, ended its decades-long isolation from much of the world. Now the Asia Society has mounted the first-ever museum show of Burmese Buddhist art in the US. The works included are fantastically varied in appearance, and for good reason. Until British rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the region comprising present-day Myanmar was a collection of separate kingdoms whose names, borders, and populations changed over the centuries. Providing a common thread among these disparate cultures was Buddhism, still practiced by 90 percent of the population of Myanmar. More »
  • Buddhism’s Fundamentalist Streak Paid Member

    BANGKOK (RNS) To many Americans, Buddhism is about attaining enlightenment, maybe even nirvana, through such peaceful methods as meditation and yoga. But in some parts of Asia, a more assertive, strident, and militant Buddhism is emerging. In three countries where Buddhism is the majority faith, a form of religious nationalism has taken hold: 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 »
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    Buddhist monk blames Muslims for Myanmar bombing Paid Member

    (RNS) A radical Buddhist monk in Myanmar said a bomb that exploded near him, wounding five devotees, came after a death threat by a “Muslim religious leader” who wanted to silence his campaign to prevent Buddhist women from marrying Muslim men. Ashin Wirathu’s portrait appeared on the July 1 cover of Time magazine’s Asia edition, above the headline, “The Face of Buddhist Terror: How Militant Monks are Fueling Anti-Muslim Violence in Asia.” “Since their plan to fight me via Time Magazine has failed, they are now targeting my ‘dharma’ (Buddhist teaching) events, and the devotees, with explosive devices,” Wirathu told the respected Irrawaddy magazine. More »