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    It Takes A Village Paid Member

    It's the third Thursday of the month in Hua Rin, northern Thailand, a day when villagers bring offerings of candles, incense, and lotus blooms to the local temple. But in the temple’s community hall, something unusual is unfolding. In one corner, a nurse takes villagers’ blood pressure and gives advice on medication. Nearby, a group sits in half-lotus around a monk who gives dharma instruction and counseling. A chatty group sprawls in front of the altar, carving sandalwood into flowers to adorn coffins of the dead.It’s the meeting of an HIV support group that has been gathering monthly at the temple, Wat Hua Rin, for nine years. Its over forty-five members come for free health checks and treatment advice, and especially for spiritual counseling from the orange-robed man who helped make this all possible: Abbot Luang Pi Daeng. More »
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    Awakening the Sleeping Buddha Paid Member

    Hair swirls into a bun at the back of the head. A small, narrow nose intersects deep eye sockets and round jowls, and the eyelids rest softly, closed. The right palm supports the head, which, in keeping with Buddhist tradition, faces southwest. The body reclines fully on its right side. The forty-two-foot clay statue “Sleeping Buddha” was first unearthed by Soviet archaeologists in 1966, but for thirty-five years it lay scattered in seventy-two unwieldy fragments at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences in Dushanbe, the capital of the former Soviet Republic of Tajikistan. The statue remained in pieces during the Soviet war in neighboring Afghanistan, during the collapse of the Soviet Union, and then during the civil war that followed Tajik independence in 1991. It wasn’t until 2001 that the Buddha once again became whole. More »
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    The Bodhi Tree Express Paid Member

    For all its recent growth, the Buddhist pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya, in northeastern India, remains a relatively quiet place where one can still watch farmers plowing their fields with oxen, and the most reliable method of travel remains the railway system. It was with considerable surprise then that on a recent October afternoon I heard the unmistakable sound of a large jetliner landing nearby. Although there has been talk for some time of a new airport near Bodh Gaya, most of us who are familiar with the pace of events here had some question about when such a project would actually be completed. More »
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    Organ Dana Paid Member

    When my mother suddenly became ill, I rushed to her side at the hospital in Kandy, the pre-colonial capital of Sri Lanka, where she was being operated on. It was a close call, but thanks to the excellent skills and care of Dr. Harischandra, the country's leading kidney surgeon, my mother's life was saved. During that trip, when I spent most of my time in the public hospital, my eyes were opened to a spectrum of human pain, suffering, compassion, and generosity in a more compelling way than during all my previous visits home. More »