Buddhism

rynner2

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Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World

Bettany Hughes visits seven of the most famous ancient and modern Buddhist locations in the world: seven wonders that give an insight into the long and rich history of Buddhism.

Buddhism began 2,500 years ago when one man had an amazing internal revelation underneath a peepul tree in India. Today it is practised by over 350 million people worldwide, with numbers continuing to grow year on year.

In an attempt to gain a better understanding of the different beliefs and practices that form the core of the Buddhist philosophy and investigate how Buddhism started and where it travelled to, Hughes visits some of the most spectacular monuments built by Buddhists across the globe.

Her journey begins at the Mahabodhi Temple in India, where Buddhism was born; here Hughes examines the foundations of the belief system - the three jewels.

At Nepal's Boudhanath Stupa, she looks deeper into the concept of dharma - the teaching of Buddha, and at the Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka, Bettany explores karma, the idea that our intentional acts will be mirrored in the future.

At Wat Pho Temple in Thailand, Hughes explores samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death that Buddhists seek to end by achieving enlightenment, before travelling to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to learn more about the practice of meditation.

In Hong Kong, Hughes visits the Giant Buddha and looks more closely at Zen, before arriving at the final wonder, the Hsi Lai temple in Los Angeles, to discover more about the ultimate goal for all Buddhists - nirvana.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... ist_World/
 

Kondoru

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Me too, but it has some rather exteeme views and a bad public image
 

Mythopoeika

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Kondoru said:
Me too, but it has some rather exteeme views and a bad public image
Does it? I wasn't aware of that.
Does it have a worse rep than Christianity or Islam?
 

Kondoru

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Hard to say.

I always got the impression that behaivior that would be regarded as OTT in the vast majority of Xtian and Islamic cultures was accepted as normal in Bhuddist ones.
 

Xanatic_

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I thought it had a very good public image, better than it deserves I would say. Look at how popular happy uncle Dalai Lama is.
 

Ghostisfort

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There are many that don't consider Buddhism to be a religion, just a philosophy.
What is the definition of a religion? Where is the line drawn between the two?
 

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Ghostisfort said:
There are many that don't consider Buddhism to be a religion, just a philosophy.
What is the definition of a religion? Where is the line drawn between the two?
Can't answer your second & third questions fully but I'd say Buddhism is a philosophy rather than a religion. It has no basic religious tenets and religions seem to attach themselves to Buddhism.
 

Yithian

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Kondoru said:
Me too, but it has some rather exteeme views and a bad public image
I'm going to assume this is sarcasm; Buddhism has probably the best 'public image' of any religion in the world today. While you're right that Buddhists do hold extreme views, they are a) completely misunderstood by a huge majority of non-Buddhists, and b) metaphysical, ontological and ethical extremes, very unlikely to damage the world or other beings in it.
 

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18030813

The leader of South Korea's biggest Buddhist order has apologised after monks were filmed apparently gambling illegally.

Six leaders of the Jogye order offered to resign on Thursday after the secretly-filmed footage emerged.

Film apparently showing monks playing poker at a luxury hotel, some smoking and drinking, was aired on television.

Gambling is illegal in South Korea, apart from in designated places such as casinos catering mostly to tourists.

Gambling is also a violation of the code of conduct for monks of the Jogye order.

The six members of the order's executive committee offered to resign on Thursday to take responsibility for the incident.

Leader Master Jinje also said he would "self-repent" on behalf of the monks concerned.

The order says it has more than 10 million followers - about 20% of the population of South Korea.

But it has reportedly been hit by feuds and factional infighting.

Local media reports said that the footage was thought to have been shot by a monk from the same order described as an opponent of the current administration.
Well, even Buddhist monks have to take a break every once in a while, right?
 

rynner2

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Long but interesting article:

What do I really fear? Being eaten by sharks
A love of guns, bouts of anger, a devious assassination plot – the Dalai Lama is full of surprises. And then there is his lifelong interest in science, for which he is being awarded the £1m Templeton Prize.
By Dean Nelson
7:00AM BST 13 May 2012

...

At the end of the line, the Dalai Lama stoops to meet the gaze of 81-year-old Lhakchung, a wheelchair-bound tailor now dying of cancer. He looks intently into his eyes. There are tears running down the old man’s lined cheeks – he knows this will be the last blessing before he dies and he is looking for comfort, perhaps even hope. Instead, the man regarded by Tibetans as a living incarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, places a traditional white scarf around his shoulders and urges him to come to terms with his fate. It is at once moving and hard, religious and scientific. “I have nothing to give. I told him to pray. We all have to die,” he explains afterwards, matter-of-factly.

...

Despite Beijing’s countless efforts to discredit him, the Dalai Lama has become one of the world’s most revered leaders, praised for the non-violent way he has led his people, and has a rockstar-like following (tickets to next month’s lecture tour of Scotland, for instance, sold out within hours). Along with his close friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he remains one of the last great surviving 20th century icons of peace.

Tomorrow he will be in London to receive the Templeton Prize at St Paul’s Cathedral. The honour is awarded annually to someone who has encouraged common ground between science and religion – Mother Teresa was its first recipient – and, with its £1.1 million purse, is by some measure the world’s largest prize. The Dalai Lama will announce how he is to spend the money during the ceremony. The award follows the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to non-violence, and highlights his championing of science as a vital element in religious life.

...

He believes his popularity worldwide is due to his focus on common human desires for happiness and contentment. “Human beings – we are all physically, emotionally, the same. And importantly, everybody wants a happy life. We need money, it’s useful, but if we put all our hopes on these things, it’s wrong. We must look at our inner values, that’s the main thing to bring inner strength, self-confidence and inner peace. The ultimate source of happiness is within ourselves.”

He cites Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu (“a very close friend; always joking”), Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein as people who inspire him, but says he has been most heavily influenced by the second-century Indian Buddhist monk Nagarjuna. “He said that there is a huge gap between appearances and reality. Appearance is something absolute, but reality is not that way – everything is interdependent, not absolute. So that view is very helpful to maintain a peace of mind because the main destroyer of a peaceful mind is anger.”

...

The greatest single thing in life, he says, is the intelligence of human beings. “With the help of human intelligence, we have the ability to develop infinite love and infinite compassion.”

It is what drives his dedication to others, and inspires his favourite prayer from an eighth century Indian Buddhist master. “So long as space remains and suffering of sentient beings is there, I will remain to serve,” he recites. “That prayer really gives me inner strength.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... harks.html
 

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UK soldiers to be sent to meditate at Buddha tree
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 74258.html
RAHUL BEDI, in New Delhi

Wed, Dec 12, 2012

Over the next 12 months more than 4,000 war-weary British army soldiers will seek to de-stress by meditating under the holy tree in eastern India where Buddha achieved enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago.

The troops, who are all practising Buddhists, will start arriving at Bodh Gaya in Bihar state in January. They will come in batches of 100 to 150, and will spend a week at Buddhism’s holiest spot.

The soldiers have all had extended battle engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan or both.

State officials said the soldiers, some of whom reportedly have post-traumatic stress disorder, would also spend a day in nearby Sarnath, the deer park where Buddha first preached his Dharma.

“The visit to Bodh Gaya and Sarnath is aimed at providing the British troops peace after their experiences on the battleground,” Bihar tourism minister Sunil Kumar Pintu, who organised the visit, told the Mail Today newspaper.

Mr Pintu said the state tourism department had reached an agreement with the British army through an international travel agent at the World Tourism Market in London last month.

It was Bihar state’s first time at the tourism fair, and it was there that British army officials contacted state officials with their request.

The descendant of the sacred ficus religiosa “Bodhi” tree, under which Buddha attained enlightenment after 49 days of meditation, is about 115 years old.

It is located behind the ancient Mahabodhi shrine.

The sixth-generation tree is sacred to Buddhists, who visit it on pilgrimage from around the world.
 

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Buddhist soldiers? I'd have thought that was something of a contradiction.
 

Kondoru

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There is nothing contradictory to budhism and millitary service.

After all, where do the martial arts come from?

(But I did think that must be a oddly large percentage of the MOD)
 

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Sri Lanka bars Buddha tattoo Briton for 'disrespect'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21812855

Sri Lanka has denied entry to a British tourist at Colombo's international airport because he showed a lack of respect for Buddhism, reports say.

An immigration official told a local newspaper that when the man was asked about a tattoo of Buddha on his arm he had spoken "very disrespectfully".

Such views would have been a "threat to his own safety" in Sri Lanka, he added.

The authorities are tough on perceived insults to Buddhism - the religion of the island's majority ethnic Sinhalese.

Last year, three French tourists were given suspended prison sentences for taking photographs that showed them pretending to kiss a statue of Buddha at a temple.

In 2010, the American R&B star Akon was refused a visa after protests over one of his music videos, which featured scantily-clad women dancing in front of a statue of Buddha.

An official at Bandaranaike International Airport told AFP news agency that the report of Friday's incident involving the British tourist was correct.

More than 100,000 British citizens visited Sri Lanka in 2012, accounting for 10% of the total number of tourists. The UK is also the country's second-largest trading partner after India.
 

Kondoru

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What would Christmas Humphries say?
 

rynner2

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Another sign of the end times...

Why are Buddhist monks attacking Muslims?
By Alan Strathern, Oxford University

Of all the moral precepts instilled in Buddhist monks the promise not to kill comes first, and the principle of non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. So why have monks been using hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs that have left dozens dead?

This is happening in two countries separated by well over 1,000 miles of Indian Ocean - Burma and Sri Lanka. It is puzzling because neither country is facing an Islamist militant threat. Muslims in both places are a generally peaceable and small minority.

In Sri Lanka, the issue of halal slaughter has been a flashpoint. Led by monks, members of the Bodu Bala Sena - the Buddhist Brigade - hold rallies, call for direct action and the boycotting of Muslim businesses, and rail against the size of Muslim families.

While no Muslims have been killed in Sri Lanka, the Burmese situation is far more serious. Here the antagonism is spearheaded by the 969 group, led by a monk, Ashin Wirathu, who was jailed in 2003 for inciting religious hatred. Released in 2012, he has referred to himself bizarrely as "the Burmese Bin Laden".

March saw an outbreak of mob violence directed against Muslims in the town of Meiktila, in central Burma, which left at least 40 dead.
Tellingly, the violence began in a gold shop. The movements in both countries exploit a sense of economic grievance - a religious minority is used as the scapegoat for the frustrated aspirations of the majority.

On Tuesday, Buddhist mobs attacked mosques and burned more than 70 homes in Oakkan, north of Rangoon, after a Muslim girl on a bicycle collided with a monk. One person died and nine were injured.

But aren't Buddhist monks meant to be the good guys of religion?
Aggressive thoughts are inimical to all Buddhist teachings. Buddhism even comes equipped with a practical way to eliminate them. Through meditation the distinction between your feelings and those of others should begin to dissolve, while your compassion for all living things grows.

Of course, there is a strong strain of pacifism in Christian teachings too: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," were the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

But however any religion starts out, sooner or later it enters into a Faustian pact with state power. Buddhist monks looked to kings, the ultimate wielders of violence, for the support, patronage and order that only they could provide. Kings looked to monks to provide the popular legitimacy that only such a high moral vision can confer.

The result can seem ironic. If you have a strong sense of the overriding moral superiority of your worldview, then the need to protect and advance it can seem the most important duty of all.
Christian crusaders, Islamist militants, or the leaders of "freedom-loving nations", all justify what they see as necessary violence in the name of a higher good. Buddhist rulers and monks have been no exception.
So, historically, Buddhism has been no more a religion of peace than Christianity.

One of the most famous kings in Sri Lankan history is Dutugamanu, whose unification of the island in the 2nd Century BC is related in an important chronicle, the Mahavamsa.
It says that he placed a Buddhist relic in his spear and took 500 monks with him along to war against a non-Buddhist king.
He destroyed his opponents. After the bloodshed, some enlightened ones consoled him: "The slain were like animals; you will make the Buddha's faith shine."

Burmese rulers, known as "kings of righteousness", justified wars in the name of what they called true Buddhist doctrine.

In Japan, many samurai were devotees of Zen Buddhism and various arguments sustained them - killing a man about to commit a dreadful crime was an act of compassion, for example. Such reasoning surfaced again when Japan mobilised for World War II.

Buddhism took a leading role in the nationalist movements that emerged as Burma and Sri Lanka sought to throw off the yoke of the British Empire. Occasionally this spilled out into violence. In 1930s Rangoon, amid resorts to direct action, monks knifed four Europeans.

More importantly, many came to feel Buddhism was integral to their national identity - and the position of minorities in these newly independent nations was an uncomfortable one.

In 1983, Sri Lanka's ethnic tensions broke out into civil war. Following anti-Tamil pogroms, separatist Tamil groups in the north and east of the island sought to break away from the Sinhalese majority government.

During the war, the worst violence against Sri Lankan Muslims came at the hands of the Tamil rebels. But after the fighting came to a bloody end with the defeat of the rebels in 2009, it seems that majority communal passions have found a new target in the Muslim minority.

In Burma, monks wielded their moral authority to challenge the military junta and argue for democracy in the Saffron Revolution of 2007. Peaceful protest was the main weapon of choice this time, and monks paid with their lives.

Now some monks are using their moral authority to serve a quite different end. They may be a minority, but the 500,000-strong monkhood, which includes many deposited in monasteries as children to escape poverty or as orphans, certainly has its fair share of angry young men.

The exact nature of the relationship between the Buddhist extremists and the ruling parties in both countries is unclear.
Sri Lanka's powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was guest of honour at the opening of a Buddhist Brigade training school, and referred to the monks as those who "protect our country, religion and race".

But the anti-Muslim message seems to have struck a chord with parts of the population.

Even though they form a majority in both countries, many Buddhists share a sense that their nations must be unified and that their religion is under threat.

The global climate is crucial. People believe radical Islam to be at the centre of the many of the most violent conflicts around the world. They feel they are at the receiving end of conversion drives by the much more evangelical monotheistic faiths. And they feel that if other religions are going to get tough, they had better follow suit.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22356306
 

ramonmercado

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'Earliest shrine' uncovered at Buddha's birthplace
By James Morgan
Science reporter, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25088960

Archaeologists Robin Coningham (left) and Kosh Prasad Acharya direct excavations within the Maya Devi Temple, while Thai monks meditate

The remains lay buried beneath the present day Maya Devi Temple

Archaeologists digging at Buddha's birthplace have uncovered remains of the "earliest ever Buddhist shrine".

They unearthed a 6th Century BC timber structure buried within the Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini in Nepal.

The shrine appears to have housed a tree. This links to the Buddha nativity story - his mother gave birth to him while holding on to a tree branch.

Its discovery may settle the dispute over the birth date of the Buddha, the team reports in the journal Antiquity.

Radiocarbon
Every year thousands of Buddhists make a holy pilgrimage to Lumbini - long identified as the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha.

Continue reading the main story
Lumbini

Located in the south-western Nepali plains 300km from Kathmandu and very close to India's border
Birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who later become the Buddha
Designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1997
Surrounded by large zone in which only monasteries can be built and no commercial premises
The site has a number of ancient ruins of monasteries, a sacred Bo Tree and a bathing pool
Lumbini: What happened to 'Buddhist Mecca'?
Buddhism at a glance
Yet despite the many texts chronicling his life and teachings, it is still uncertain when he lived.

Estimates for his birth stretch as far back as 623 BC, but many scholars believed 390-340 BC a more realistic timeframe.

Until now, the earliest evidence of Buddhist structures at Lumbini dated no earlier than the 3rd Century BC, in the era of the emperor Ashoka.

To investigate, archaeologists began excavating at the heart of the temple - alongside meditating monks, nuns and pilgrims.

They unearthed a wooden structure with a central void which had no roof. Brick temples built later above the timber were also arranged around this central space.

To date the buildings, fragments of charcoal and grains of sand were tested using a combination of radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence techniques.

"Now, for the first time, we have an archaeological sequence at Lumbini that shows a building there as early as the 6th century BC," said archaeologist Prof Robin Coningham of Durham University, who co-led the international team, supported by the National Geographic Society.

Thai monks inside the Maya Devi Temple meditate over the remains of the oldest Buddhist shrine in the world
The holy site remained open for meditation while archaeologists excavated
"This is the earliest evidence of a Buddhist shrine anywhere in the world.

"It sheds light on a very long debate, which has led to differences in teachings and traditions of Buddhism.

"The narrative of Lumbini's establishment as a pilgrimage site under Ashokan patronage must be modified since it is clear that the site had already undergone embellishment for centuries."

The dig also detected signs of ancient tree roots in the wooden building's central void - suggesting it was a tree shrine.

Tradition records that Queen Maya Devi gave birth to the Buddha while grasping the branch of a tree within the Lumbini Garden.

The discovery could aid conservation efforts at the holy site - which has been neglected despite its Unesco World Heritage status.

"These discoveries are very important to better understand the birthplace of the Buddha," said Ram Kumar Shrestha, Nepal's minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation.

"The government of Nepal will spare no effort to preserve this significant site."

Monks within the Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini in Nepal
Archaeologists hope their discovery will aid conservation efforts at the site
 

ramonmercado

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More beastly Buddhists.

Burma mobs 'kill 30 Rohingyas'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25866350

In this Sept. 14, 2013 photo, Muslims travel past a road barrier next to a security checkpoint in Maungdaw, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar.

The attacks were said to have taken place near the town of Maungdaw

More than 30 Rohingya Muslims were killed in attacks by Buddhists last week in Burma's Rakhine state, the BBC has been told.

Two international aid officials who were granted access to the area in the far west of the country said they had found evidence of a mass killing.

Human rights group Fortify Rights claims a series of attacks took place over five days last week.

The government and local officials have strongly denied claims of a massacre.

Revenge attacks
The latest development follows reports of clashes between Rohingyas and the police in the Maungdaw township over the past month.

Map
It is thought tensions initially arose amid reports that several Rohingyas had been killed trying to flee over the border into Bangladesh.

Things escalated after a local policeman was reported missing, presumed killed.

Local Rakhine Buddhists aided by the security forces are then reported to have taken part in bloody revenge attacks in and around the village of Du Char Yar Tan.

The death toll of 30 is thought to be a conservative estimate, says the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Burma, which is also known as Myanmar.

Some reports say as many as 70 people - including women and children - were killed.

The UN's humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has called on the government to allow aid workers into the area and to "immediately launch an impartial investigation" into the events.

The Rohingya people are considered stateless and are rejected by both Burma and neighbouring Bangladesh, our correspondent says.

At least 200 people were killed in fierce clashes between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine state in 2012.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims remain displaced in the wake of that violence, many still living in camps.

Sporadic outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence continued throughout 2013 in other parts of Burma as well.
 

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Beastly Buddhists bash aid workers

Buddhist mobs 'target aid workers' in Myanmar's Rakhine
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26763083

File photo: Rakhine state

Rakhine state has been the site of outbreaks of violence mostly affecting the Muslim Rohingya minority

Police in Myanmar's Rakhine state have fired warning shots in an attempt to disperse crowds gathered outside offices of international aid workers.

Hundreds of Buddhists threw rocks at homes and offices in the capital, Sittwe, starting on Wednesday.

They were angry after a foreign aid worker was alleged to have handled a Buddhist flag with disrespect.

Rakhine state has in recent months seen violence mostly affecting the Muslim Rohingya minority.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya remain displaced in Rakhine in the wake of brutal clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims in 2012 that left about 200 people dead.

NGOs blocked
The unrest comes ahead of a census that some fear could further raise tensions between Rakhine Buddhists and the Rohingya.

The Rakhine deny that the Rohingya exist, insisting they are Bengalis and belong in neighbouring Bangladesh, reports the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Yangon. They are stateless, because the Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) government denies them citizenship.

Buddhist flags have been hung on many houses ahead of the census and, reports say, this unrest began amid claims a foreign aid worker removed a flag from an NGO office, allegedly handling it with disrespect.

Reports say the demonstrations continued on Thursday, with some offices of aid workers ransacked.

"Although local police, monks and some residents tried to disperse the angry people, they continued throwing stones. So police fired warning shots," Lieutenant Colonel Min Aung told AFP news agency. No one was injured, he added.

There are reports that some aid agencies are considering withdrawing their staff from the area.

International aid agencies have in recent months encountered problems operating in Rakhine.

Last month, the government suspended the operations of aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), one of the biggest providers of healthcare in the state.

A presidential spokesman had alleged to the BBC at the time that MSF was biased in favour of Rakhine's Muslim Rohingya minority.

MSF said it operated impartially, based on the needs of the population.
 

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Sri Lanka used to be Buddhist but Secular. Things have gone to the bad since the Civil War.

Sri Lanka to deport Buddha tattoo British woman
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27107857

The Sri Lankan authorities have ordered the deportation of a British tourist because of a Buddha tattoo on her arm.

Named as Naomi Michelle Coleman, she arrived on a flight from India on Monday and was arrested at the airport after the tattoo of the Buddha and a lotus flower on her right arm was seen.

She is being held at an immigration detention camp until her deportation.

The authorities are tough on perceived insults to Buddhism, the religion of the island's majority ethnic Sinhalese.

Sri Lanka is particularly sensitive about images of Buddha. The authorities regularly take strict action with regard to the treatment of the image.

Contacted by the BBC, the British High Commission in Colombo said: "We are aware of the case and are providing appropriate consular assistance."

Last March another British tourist was denied entry at Colombo's international airport because immigration officials said he had spoken "disrespectfully" when asked about a tattoo of the Buddha on his arm.

He later spoke of his "shock" at the incident, insisting that he himself followed Buddhist teachings and thought a tattoo was an apt tribute.

Two years ago, three French tourists were given suspended prison sentences for kissing a Buddha statue.

The UK travel advice on Sri Lanka warns of the sensitivity of the issue and tells visitors not to pose for photos in front of statues of Buddha.

Over the past year monks belonging to certain hardline Buddhist groups have led violent attacks against Muslims and Christians, a trend which has given rise to considerable concern among religious minorities in Sri Lanka.
 

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This seems a bit much from a faith that has always been regarded as tolerant...excessivley fanatical, of course, but still laid back.
 

GNC

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I suppose Buddhists have the capacity to fly off the handle as much as any group of people in this world.
 

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gncxx said:
I suppose Buddhists have the capacity to fly off the handle as much as any group of people in this world.
Never suggest that Buddha was obese.
 

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SPIRITUAL SPAM

TIBET:

Buffeted by persistent cyber attacks, Tibetan monks are giving new meaning to their ancient creed: Detach from attachments.

“Attachment can lead you to all sort of trouble and we Buddhists believe that non-attachment alone can lead you to happiness,” said 30-year-old monk Jamyang Palden. “We have to learn to be suspicious of email attachments.”

The internet safety slogan, one of several messages championed by digital security group Tibet Action Institute, is an example of how human rights defenders are seeking creative ways to protect activists from electronic espionage.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/quir ... 97785.html
 
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