The Karmapa’s comeuppance?

The Karmapa has been questioned by the Indian police after huge amounts of cash—the equivalent of $1.6m in some reports—in various currencies, including Chinese yuan, were seized from the monastery he occupies.

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.

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.

Bangladesh Christians Captured, Forced to Return to Buddhism

Bangladesh Buddhist extremists held eight Chakma Christians for four days to force them to return to Buddhism.

The captives were all forced to wear Buddhist robes, shave their heads, bow down before a statue of Buddha and clean the temple; they were also threatened with beatings and even death if they tried to escape.

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.

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.

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.

Nepal’s “living goddess” gets a pay rise

Nepal has increased the monthly stipend it gives its “living goddess” by a quarter, a top official said on Thursday, to help the schoolgirl revered by thousands of Hindus and Buddhists beat double-digit inflation.

The girl called Kumari is considered holy and is an attraction for the many tourists who visit the Himalayan nation every year, Reuters reports.

Critics of the centuries-old Kumari tradition say the girl is denied basic human rights as she cannot lead a normal life during the time she serves as the “goddess.”

White elephant is good omen for Bhuddists

A rare white elephant has been captured in the jungles of northwestern Myanmar, a mostly Buddhist country where the animals are considered good omens, state media reported Tuesday.

Monk quizzed after filming naked women

A Cambodian court has questioned a defrocked monk accused of filming women who were bathing naked in sacred water at a Buddhist temple, national media reported Tuesday.

Supreme Patriarch Non Nget Non Nget said he could not understand why the women were naked at the pagoda in the first place, and said such practices should not reoccur.

The Dalai Lama on violence

The Dalai Lama has sent a message of support for Armed Forces Day, which is next Saturday. In it, he writes of his admiration for the military. That is perhaps not so surprising. As he explains, there are many parallels between being a monk and being a soldier – the need for discipline, companionship, and […]

Tensions rise as police question monk’s followers

Thich Nhat Hanh Followers of an internationally known Buddhist monk say tensions are rising at a monastery in Vietnam’s Central Highlands after local officials accused them of trying to “sabotage” Vietnam’s communist government.

An angry crowd gathered outside the Bat Nha monastery on Monday and local police conducted late-night searches of the rooms, said Brother Phap Tu, speaking by telephone Tuesday from the compound in Lam Dong province.

AP says the monks and nuns there are followers of Thich Nhat Hanh, an exiled Vietnam-born monk who has sold more than 1 million English-books in the West and is now based at the Plum Village monastery in southern France.

Buddhist Bhutan warns felling trees a threat to happiness

Bhutan Buddhist prayer flags THIMPHU, Bhutan (Reuters) – Bhutan has warned its citizens over cutting down thousands of young trees every year to make prayer flags, a threat to the tiny kingdom’s lush scenery and the government’s duty to bring “Gross National Happiness“.

Himalayan Buddhists put up prayer flags for good luck or to help the dead find the right path to their next life. The more flag poles put up for the departed the better, and Buddhist monks say fresh poles must be used each time.

See: Hi-resolution Smithsonian picture of prayer flags in Bhutan

In the Arizona desert, Buddhists will embark on a three-year silent retreat

Buddhism Several dozen Buddhists hope to find enlightenment in the silence, a gift they plan to share when they emerge from their long seclusion. They know that outsiders might dismiss them as eccentrics on a strange utopian trip, but their resumes suggest otherwise. Among them are an airline pilot, a dermatologist, a retired biochemist and a former television editor.

Buddhist kingdom pushes notion of Gross National Happiness

Bhutan In the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, high in the Himalayan mountains, under a new Constitution adopted last year, government programs — from agriculture to transportation to foreign trade — must be judged not by the economic benefits they may offer but by the happiness they produce.

Now, the Bhutanese are refining the country’s guiding philosophy into what they see as a new political science, and it has ripened into government policy just when the world may need it

Buddhism roundup: Dalai Lama; Dharma Punx; Buddhism and Psychology

Buddhism • A primer on the Dalai Lama  • Dalai Lama inspires reverent silence, cheers at stadium  • The Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society practices a unique incarnation of Buddhism infused with punk rock’s anti-establishment ethos  • The similarities between ancient Buddhism and modern psyschology: both practices are focused on releasing followers from suffering, and both aim for emotional health. But…

Buddhist group protests, symbolically seals Buddha Bar in Indonesia

Buddha Bar About 200 Buddhist students held a peaceful protest rally outside an outlet of the international franchise Buddha Bar in the Indonesian capital on Thursday, accusing it of defaming their religion.

Avoiding alcohol and other intoxicants is the fifth of the “Five Precepts” that form the basic moral code of Buddhism.

Meanwhile the secretary-general of the Indonesian Pandita Sabha Buddha Dharma Foundation, said sealing off the bar was not the Buddhist way of seeking a solution. “Our way is never to force anything. A dialogue is needed,” he said.

Buddhism sees its role in Japanese culture start to decline

Buddhism When it comes to funerals the Japanese have traditionally been inflexibly Buddhist – so much so that Buddhism in Japan is often called “funeral Buddhism,” a reference to the religion’s former near-monopoly on the elaborate, and lucrative, ceremonies surrounding deaths and memorial services.

But that expression also describes a religion that, by appearing to cater more to the needs of the dead than to those of the living, is losing its standing in Japanese society.

Buddhist sect, woman reach settlement over ‘purification’ sex assault by priest

On four different occasions from December 2005 to May 2006, the old priest performed indecent acts on the woman, using the excuse of her needing to undergo purification to rid her body of eczema that was plaguing it and feeling her up.
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