The following is my new monthly "Buddhism in the News" segment, where I provide links to articles about Buddhism, along with news of prominent Buddhists and everyday laypeople. Buddhism is an ancient religion, but it is also very much alive and relevant today. By writing these posts, I hope to show how very true that is. I am certain that I have probably not included all important events, but I think the articles below are a good sampling of current Buddhist happenings around the world. I welcome you to browse the linked articles below and read what interests you. Enjoy!
1. Ancient statue reveals prince who would become the Buddha Ancient artifacts discovered in the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Mes Aynak in Afghanistan show representations of prince Siddhartha Gautama before he became the Buddha. The stone statue, or stele, was found in 2010, but had not been analyzed until recently, and may provide evidence of a cult dedicated to celebrating events in Siddhartha's life before his enlightenment. Article is from Fox News.
2. Buddhist yoga retreat death raises questions about Arizona monk's 'Enlightenment Preaching' An account of the story that ended in the death of Ian Thorson, who was attending the three year yoga retreat with his wife. His wife had previously been married to the man leading the retreat, who some say has built a bizarre Buddhist cult around himself. His practices have been heavily criticized by the Dalai Lama and other leaders in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Police investigating the death do not suspect foul play, but people are now questioning what has been going on at the retreat, set near a remote town in Arizona. Article is from ABC news.
3. South Korean monks launch reforms following gambling scandal An update to the scandal that broke last month, where South Korean monks were caught on video in a luxury hotel suite drinking, smoking, and playing an illegal poker game with stakes reaching $875,300 USD. Reforms include hiring outside financial professionals to manage the funds of the monastic order, lay people to run the temples, and making financial records open to the public. Article from the Global Post.
4. Censorship in China is morally wrong: Dalai Lama The Dalai Lama speaks out on the control of information and freedom of movement of the Chinese People by the Chinese government. He insists that the Chinese people have a right to know the realities of their current situation, and to be able to freely determine right from wrong based on correct information. Article is from Firstpost.World.
5. The Dalai Lama and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi meet in London A brief article of the two Nobel laureates' half hour meeting in London. It was the first time Aung San Suu Kyi had been abroad to Europe in 24 years. She was released from house arrest in Myanmar in 2010. Article is from NYDailyNews.com
6. Crisis in Myanmar over Buddhist-Muslim clash Violence between Muslims and Buddhists in the Rakhine state in Myanmar has resulted in the burning of 500 homes and 17 deaths. President Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency in this part of the country. Article is from the New York Times.
7. Buddha attacked by Taliban in 2007 gets facelift An Italian archeologist has partially reconstructed the face of the Jahanabad Buddha located in the Swat valley in Northwest Pakistan, which had been dynamited by Taliban extremists in 2007. The article also discusses the concern regarding the protection and preservation of other ancient Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim sites in the region. From NYDailyNews.com.
8. American Buddhism on the Rise A video of 'Buddhafest' film festival in Arlington, Virginia featuring people who discuss their interest in Buddhism, and what benefits they have received from learning about and practicing the Buddhist faith. Video from PBS.
9. What's an American Buddhist? This article discusses the huge boom of Buddhism in North America since 1990, and why Americans and others may have been attracted to this ancient faith. There is also an interesting discussion of cultural differences between 'Eastern' traditions and 'Western' practitioners, how they may emerge in the practices of North American Buddhists, and how the basic tenets of the Buddhist faith unites them. Article from the Washington Post.
10. Buddhism and the unconscious An article discussing the connections between the theories of the unconscious from psychoanalyst Carl Jung and ideas about our survival as a species from biologist Edward O. Wilson, all compared with Buddhist psychology. From the blog Huffington Post.
11. Keeping the peace: Britain's Buddhist police A very interesting article about Buddhist officers in the British police force. The article features an account by Sergeant Gary Watts, who, feeling isolated, reached out to see if there were others like him on the police internal website message board. He was surprised to find that there were in fact others in the force, both officers and staff, who practiced Buddhism. Sergeant Watts also discusses the issue of using force during his job, and describes that using force can be done properly and guided by Buddhist principles, if it is only used to protect himself and others, and without anger or malice. In the future he hopes to offer meditation classes to all officers for the purpose of health and general well-being. Article from The Telegraph.
12. Europe's largest Buddhist temple inaugurated in Bussy-Saint-Georges Public figures and representatives from several religious groups were present to inaugurate the new Buddhist temple on June 24th, 2012. The temple, which is now the largest Buddhist temple in Europe, will open to the public on July 1st. A slideshow of images from the inauguration accompanies this article from Citizenside.com.
As always, please share your thoughts about whatever captured your interest in the comments. Also please let me know if I missed something important this month by providing the title of the article. I will google it and include it here, with credit to you! :) Finally, if you are reading this at a later date, please inform me of any dead links, since some newspapers post articles for a short time before archiving them. Thank you so much!
May all beings be happy!