The following is part of my monthly "Buddhism in the News" series, where I provide links to articles about Buddhism, along with news of prominent Buddhists and everyday laypeople. My list of articles is shorter this month, which I think is perhaps more beneficial than a more exhaustive list. However, as always I have tried to provide 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. Buddhist monk sentenced to seven years for spreading information about Tibet. Tibetan Buddhist monk Yonten Gyatso was sentenced to seven years in prison for sharing pictures and information about the self-immolation of Tibetan Buddhist nun Tenzin Wangmo, and distributing information about the political situation in Tibet. Critics say that this incident shows the dire restrictions on free communication and speech in China and China-occupied Tibet. Yonten Gyatso will serve his sentence in the Mianyang prison in Sichuan Province, China. From Reporters Without Borders.
2. Two Buddhist brides wed in Taiwan. Two Taiwanese women were married in a Buddhist ceremony presided by Buddhist master and social activist Shih Chao-Hwei. The couple hopes that their union will help encourage fellow Taiwanese citizens to accept same-sex marriage. However, the article also commented that a bill introduced in 2003 legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption has received little attention from the Taiwanese legislature. From CNN.
3. Thai girl inspires Buddhist nun program. Video account of how an eight-year-old Thai girl wanted to share in developing good merit to her deceased grandmother by temporarily entering into monastic life. Although this is very common for (and often expected of) her male counterparts, this honor has not been extended to young females, because the ordinations of Buddhist nuns are not recognized in Thailand. Through this program, which allows young girls to enter temporary nun-hood, many hope that this will raise the status of Buddhist nuns in Thai society. Video is from Aljazeera.
4. Buddhist ceremonial release of captive birds may harm wildlife. There are concerns from the scientific community that the practice of building merit by releasing captive animals (usually birds) may have negative impacts on the birds, other wildlife, and humans. This article also warns of the possibility of humans contracting H5N1 (aka: Bird flu) from birds that are stressed (and therefore more susceptible) to the disease. Article is from Scientific American.
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!
May all beings be happy!