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Thứ Hai, tháng 3 21, 2005

Triển lãm nghệ thuật Đôn Hoàng tại Đài Loan
China View, March 21, 2005

BEIJING, China -- Một cuộc triển lãm nghệ thuật Đôn Hoàng được tổ chức tại Đài Loan vào cuối tháng ba, sẽ trưng bày 67 cổ vật di tích văn hoá, 26 trong số đó được liệt kê thuộc hàng thượng đẳng.

Đôn Hoàng là một thị trấn trên Con Đường Tơ Lụa cổ xưa ở Trung Quốc. Năm 1900, một khu vực thánh tích Phật Giáo được khám phá đã cất chứa cả ngàn nghệ phẩm thủ công, hoạ phẩm và những tài liệu ấn loát ghi ngày tháng từ 400 đến 1000 năm trước Tây Lịch.

Cuộc triển lãm được bảo trợ bởi sự hợp tác của hai tổ chức Đôn Hoàng Học Viện và Đại Học Nghệ Thuật Đài Loan.

Lịch trình của cuộc triển lãm được sắp xếp mở cửa vào ngày 25 tháng 03 tại Đài Bắc trong 4 tháng. Hai tháng đầu nó sẽ được trưng bày tại Viện Bảo Tàng Lịch Sử Đài Bắc và sau đó nó sẽ được di chuyển xuống phía Nam tới Cao Hùng hai tháng nữa.

(Hạt Cát dịch)

Dunhuang arts exhibition to be held in Taiwan

China View, March 21, 2005

BEIJING, China -- An exhibition of Dunhuang arts is to be held in Taiwan at the end of March, featuring 67 pieces of cultural relics, among which 26 are listed as top class.
An exhibition of Dunhuang arts is to be held in Taiwan at the end of March.
Dunhuang is a town on China's ancient Silk Road. In 1900 a Buddhist site there was discovered to contain thousands of manuscripts, paintings and other printed documents dating from 400-1000 AD.
Co-sponsored by the Dunhuang Academy and Taiwan's Arts University, the exhibition features 67 of these cultural relics, among which 26 are listed as top class.
The exhibition is scheduled to open on March 25 in Taipei and last for four months. The first two months it will be displayed in the Taipei History Museum and it will then move southward to Kaohsiung for another two months


"Religious tensions at home" real in Singapore

Alvin Chua, Singapore, The Buddhist Channel, March 21, 2005

The report "
Religious tensions at home" is indeed a very serious one in Singapore. Many new converts I spoke to did so partly because they received distorted information about all the other religions in the world. In some cases, these "misrepresentations" were communicated by their church pastors - young, ignorant and too eager to convert!

For example, a relative who attends New Creation Church at Suntec City said his pastor told him that Buddhist relics are commonly used as ornaments worned i n the form of bracelets, etc! He apparently went on to say "the gods in other religions are dumb" while "the Christian God is alive and constantly talking". Having studied the Bible and Buddhist sutras at length, and been a Buddhist for over ten years, I cannot help but feel a certain sense of superiority in Buddhism (at the deeper level). Many Buddhist parents do no fully grasp the teachings of the Buddha and thus could not share the wonderful gifts of dharma with their children. On the other hand, our youth , being largely English educated, and seen the economic superiority of the USA and many Christian countries, naturally develop an inclination towards Christianity. Having said that, how., some of the religious practises in quasi-Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism are inherently culture-based and hard to comprehend for these aspiring Christians; hence, the push-factor. Parents have to first educate themselves in their own chosen faith before they can communicate effectively with their children. That way, as I have always told my kind evangelical friends, that old label of cough syrup that your mother gave you when you were a little kid, produced by some poor Sin Sehs in rural China in the early 1900s, is still as effective today. There's no need to change to a "superior" drug from the USA


Largest statue of Buddha unveiled in Lam Dong
Vietnam News Agency, March 21, 2005

Hanoi, Vietnam -- A monastery in the tourist town of Da Lat of Lam Dong province held a solemn ceremony Friday, Mar. 18, to inaugurate the largest ever statue of Buddha in Vietnam.
Van Hanh Zen Monastery, unveiled the 24 meter high statue with the lotus-shaped lamp support reaching 20 meters.
The ferro-concrete statue, which is located on a prominent hill in Dalat, is covered with a layer of white cement and gypsum.
Construction for the Buddha started in April 2002 funded with Buddhist contributions totaling over VND1.2 billion. The steel frame inside the statue was cast on site, not assembled as previous statues.
The statue is not only a sacred place of worship for Buddhists, but also an architectural construction of high artistic value

(ban cua Dieu Quang se dich)

Touting the Benefits of Buddhism for Non-Buddhists

By Teresa Watanabe, LA Times Staff Writer, March 20, 2005
Americans who don't want to embrace the religion still can gain by taking advantage of its practices, says Robert Thurman.

Los Angeles, USA -- Robert Thurman has been called the Billy Graham of Buddhism. But not long into lunch at a Toluca Lake restaurant this week, Thurman - a Columbia University religion professor famed as the first Westerner ordained by the Dalai Lama - makes a startling declaration.
His tradition is not appropriate for most Americans, he says, and he has no intention of spreading it.
"I always say that Buddhism can only make its contributions in the West if Buddhists are satisfied with not being Buddhist," says Thurman. For example, he approvingly cites the healer John Kabat-Zinn, whose stress-reduction clinics employ Buddhist meditation techniques without promoting the tradition's complex teachings.
"He's not teaching them Buddhism, he's teaching them how to lower their blood pressure," Thurman says of Kabat-Zinn. "But all the methods are Buddhist and he's a Buddhist. Whereas, if you ran around and said you want to have Buddhist clinics in all the hospitals, everyone would freak out, starting with the local Baptist church."
So it is with his latest book, "The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism." The book, based on a retreat Thurman led on a once-secret text of a 17th century Tibetan master, encourages Christians, Jews and others to adapt the Tibetan techniques of visualization and meditation to their own traditions to cultivate self-understanding, compassion and wisdom.
The central practice involves visualizing a jewel tree filled with luminous enlightened beings pouring down their radiant light and blessings to drive away all doubt and anxiety, clearing the mind to meditate. But Thurman does not advise or expect those of other faiths to envision the pantheon of Buddhist masters as he does. Rather, he instructs readers to fill the tree limbs with their own spiritual mentors: angels, Jesus, Mary, Moses, Muhammad, Lao Tzu, even parents.
Buddhist methods without the Buddhism, in other words.
It may seem an odd stand for a man credited with helping to popularize Tibetan Buddhism in America. For more than 40 years, Thurman has studied and shared his tradition through his books, talks, academic activities and high-profile friendships with the Dalai Lama and Hollywood Buddhists, including actor Richard Gere, with whom he helped found the Tibet House cultural center in New York. But the point is not for people to become Buddhist, he says. It is to use the teachings to become compassionate, liberated and wise.
"We should not be selling religion and especially [not] converting," Thurman says, adding that the Dalai Lama decades ago called on all religious leaders to stop trying to convert others because it only caused conflict.
Thurman, 63, passionately expounded on this subject and many others during his visit to the Southland, where he spoke to 1,000 people in Santa Barbara, attended a wedding and promoted his book. A tall man with tousled blond hair and one plastic eye — the result of an accident decades ago — Thurman booms out blunt opinions.
He riffs on the 2004 election (he voted for Sen. John Kerry) and the war in Iraq (he opposed it and wrote an e-mail to the White House reminding his president that Jesus said to love your enemies, not bomb them). He skewers religious fundamentalists and dissects what he views as the fallacies in scientific and theistic explanations of human purpose. He reminisces about his early days with the Dalai Lama, when both were in their 20s.
He talks Hollywood: Gere is a serious Buddhist; Brad Pitt never was. As for Thurman's actress daughter Uma — well, you'll have to ask her yourself. He says he exposed her to Buddhist teachings along with other traditions, including Christianity and Judaism, with the aim of teaching her to think for herself.
Raised in New York as the son of an actress and an Associated Press editor, Thurman attended Harvard until 1961, when a tire jack slipped while he was changing a flat and his eye was destroyed. Suddenly questioning his life's purpose, he left his first wife and daughter and went to India, where he began teaching English to Tibetan lamas. He returned to the United States and began studying Tibetan Buddhism with his first mentor, Geshe Ngawang Wangyal.
Ask Thurman what captivated him about Tibetan culture and philosophy, and he unleashes a stream of accolades. A more logical alphabet! Yoga! Holistic medicine! Mostly, he says, better philosophy than the Western thinkers he had studied at Harvard. The Buddhist idea of transcendent wisdom, of the "middle way" between self-indulgence and self-mortification, of selflessness as the foundation of compassion and ethical activity, was thrilling, he says.
"It wasn't like [seeking] God or some new god or some Asian god," he says. "I was looking for better studies."
In 1962, Thurman met for the first time with the Dalai Lama, who soon took an interest in the Tibetan-speaking young American. The two eventually started meeting weekly; but, Thurman says, the Dalai Lama would refer his inquiries about Buddhism to another teacher and instead pepper him with questions about Freud, physics and other topics during the time they spent together. Over the reservations of Thurman's teacher, the Dalai Lama ordained the American.
Within a few years, however, the new monk resigned his robes, returned to the United States and, in 1967, married a former model, the Swedish-born Nena von Schlebrugge, with whom he has four children, including Uma.
Thurman says he had come to realize that he could do more to help others as an American professor than as a Tibetan monk.
He returned to Harvard for his advanced degrees and today heads Columbia's religious studies department as the Jey Tsong Khapa professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies.
Tibet and its Buddhism do not seem quite as trendy today as during the 1980s and '90s, an era when the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize, Hollywood produced two films about Tibet, national magazines put Buddhism on their covers and Gere spoke out about Tibet at the Academy Awards (Thurman was an informal consultant on the films "Kundun" and "Seven Years in Tibet").
But Thurman says Buddhism's lessons are even more critical today, and believes it offers the world two key contributions.
The first, he says, is help in softening rigid identities — racial, sexual, religious, national — that cause conflicts.
The second is Buddhism's teachings on demilitarization. Every society that at least partially demilitarized at some point, he argues, had strong monastic institutions, including Tibet, India and Japan. Now, with soaring defense budgets and global conflict, Thurman says America and the world could use a surge of monasticism.
"A monastery, I think, would be a good place for John Rambo," he says, using a Hollywood metaphor. "Put that macho thing into self-conquest of their own inner life and world, instead of conquering other people and fighting and killing."