Rebel Group in Bangladesh Prevented Christmas Worship

Bangladesh One of the two main political parties of the indigenous people in Bangladesh’s southeastern hill tracts prevented Christians from celebrating Christmas, sources said.

The United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF), which has demanded that Christian converts return to Buddhism, threatened tribal Christians of at least seven churches in Khagrachari district, some 300 kilometers (180 miles) southeast of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. [Read more...]

Balance spiritual and secular, Dalai Lama urges

Scientists and religious practitioners can learn a lot from each other and should work together to find a productive balance between spirituality and secular research, the Dalai Lama said Sunday.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader’s comments came at a news conference kicking off his three-day visit to Emory University in Atlanta. During his visit, he plans to teach, lecture and receive an update on the development of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative.

The Dalai Lama is a presidential distinguished professor at Emory — the only university appointment he has accepted.

The Dalai Lama said he has long been interested in scientific knowledge — particularly in the areas of cosmology, neurobiology, physics and psychology, which he says are mentioned in Buddhist texts. [Read more...]

Afghan archaeologists find Buddhist site as war rages

Archaeologists in Afghanistan, where Taliban Islamists are fighting the Western-backed government, have uncovered Buddhist-era remains in an area south of Kabul, an official said on Tuesday.

“There is a temple, stupas, beautiful rooms, big and small statues, two with the length of seven and nine meters, colorful frescos ornamented with gold and some coins,” said Mohammad Nader Rasouli, head of the Afghan Archaeological Department.

Some of the relics date back to the fifth century (AD). We have come across signs that there are items maybe going back to the era before Christ or prehistory,” he said. [Read more...]

Possible Successor to Dalai Lama Under Virtual House Arrest in India

At the end of a cold Himalayan December in 1999, a 14-year old monk made a phenomenal escape from a monastery in Tibet where his every move was patrolled by the Chinese. Fleeing by car, on foot and by horseback, he crossed some of Nepal’s most forbidding terrain and found his way to India, where he settled at the feet of the Dalai Lama, seeking teaching.

Since then, he has been under virtual house arrest by the Indian government, circumscribed in his movements, and now banned from travel to the West, where he has a large following—and to the seat of his Tibetan sect in Sikkim, a once-independent Tibetan Buddhist kingdom that India undermined and incorporated in 1975. The reason for India’s denial of the monk’s freedom of movement seems plain. In a word: it’s China.

Young and strong, he already has a wide audience among Tibetans as a protégé of the Dalai Lama and could, however unwittingly, inspire Tibetan youth to revive their dreams of stronger resistance to the Chinese, a course the Dalai Lama has told them repeatedly would be suicidal. More important, the Karmapa is rapidly becoming a fresh new face for Tibetan Buddhism internationally.

For the time being, India, which preaches religious freedom and a special relationship with Buddhism, seems to be doing Beijing’s will at keeping the Karmapa out of global view. [Read more...]

South Caroline Town Becomes Buddhist Pilgrimage Site

Hundreds of Buddhist devotees gathered at a rural spot in Spartanburg County on Saturday for the dedication ceremony of a new pilgrimage site.

Members of the Cambodian community completed construction last week on a three-story Buddhist shrine, called a stupa. It’s located beside the Wat Sao Sokh San Temple at 841 Shiloh Church Road outside the city limits of Wellford, South Carolina.

It’s the first Cambodian Buddhist stupa in the United States. The dedication ceremony designates the Spartanburg County site as holy. [Read more...]