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Thứ Sáu, tháng 9 22, 2006

No. 1146

India's National Commission for Minorities (NCM) demands reversal of Gujarat Government decision
Zee News, Sept 20, 2006
New Delhi, India -- A day after Gujarat government passed a controversial amendment to include Jains and Buddhists as part of Hindu community, the move evoked sharp reactions here with national commission for minorities demanding a reversal of the decision and concerned community leaders seeking "freedom of identity".

"The commission would urge the government to re-examine the matter as it effects the rights of a religious minority." NCM officials said adding the commission has already received representations from the Buddhist organisations in the matter.

Describing the passing of the amendment by the Gujarat assembly as a "matter of great concern", the commission demanded an immediate reversal of the decision.

BJP government in Gujarat yesterday passed an amendment in the Gujarat freedom of religion act clubbing Jainism and Buddhism with Hinduism.

Intimidated by the move by Gujarat government, Buddhist parliamentary forum said "Buddhism is one of the great religions of the world and has its adherence in many lands."

"Any move to impinge upon the distinct identity of Buddhism and its adherents would have ramifications that are best avoided" informed Lama Sodpa, leader of the forum, told media persons here.

Calling an emergency meeting on the issue, All India Digambar Jain Mahasabha said it will launch a protest against the move.

"Any government, as per there convenience and agenda cannot afford to curb our right of a religious identity." N K Jain, president of All India Digamber Jain Mahasabha, said.

The Jain Mahasabha has also written a letter to Gujarat Governor Naval Kishore Sharma to intervene in the matter and stop the state government from going ahead with any such move.

All India Confederation of SC/ST organisations has also reacted sharply to the move and has asked the state government to maintain right to religious freedom of an individual.

"Every religion has its distinct identity. Religions like Buddhism and Jainism, have its origin dating back to more than two millennium and this fact can in no way be negated." Confederation chairman Udit Raj said.

Incidently, one such statement by a top RSS leader few years back suggesting Sikhs as a part of the Hindu fold had evoked widespread protest across the country.
No. 1145 ( Hạt Cát dịch)

Buddhist Monk Credits NBC TV Show in Helping Explain Ancient Law

By Ryan Cummings, 13 News, Sept 21, 2006
Rockford, IL (USA) -- The season premiere of NBC's "My Name is Earl" airs Thursday night. The sitcom revolves around karma, an ancient idea that many people live by.

Venerable Ashin Sudhamma says that NBC's sitcom "My Name is Earl" helps explain law of karma

Some call it fate. Others think it's destiny. Buddhists call it the "Law of Karma." High monk Ashin Sudhamma with the Ratanaram Buddhist Temple in Rockford believes in the natural order of karma, the ancient belief that all living creatures are responsible for their way of life. He says, "The doer of good receives good. The doer of evil receives evil. This is what the Buddha advises to the people. Helping other people is a good karma and giving things in charity, also a wholesome action is wholesome karma."

He also believes in bad karma. "Killing other people, harming others, stealing what is not given to you, having sexual misconduct, taking alcohol and narcotic drugs is called bad karma."

Whatever you call it, some people say it's there. Karma's a central focus for NBC's sitcom "My Name is Earl" and according to some, a central focus in life. Joshua Hawkins of Rockford says, "That goes around comes around, I mean if you do good, good things will happen to you If you do bad, bad things will come back on you." Justin Carner from Loves Park says, "I believe that on the earthly realm, there's things that happen and those things being consequences. Sometimes those are good, but sometimes those are bad." Clyda Lamb of Rochelle adds, "I know there's people out there that think karma has everything to do with it. I know it does, but it's not the main thing."

Believe it or not, Sudhamma says watching the sitcom actually help him understand karma even more. "By knowing that we can solve the problem to the people who come to the temple and ask how to solve their problem."

The show airs Thursdays on WREX-TV.

No. 1144 ( Upekhadịch)

950-year-old Buddhist artifact shown for 1st time
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Part of a canopy that usually hangs over a 950-year-old Buddhist statue was opened for public display Friday for the first time.
The Amidanyorai seated statue at Byodo-in temple's Hoodo hall in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, and its canopy are designated as national treasures at the temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The canopy, which was made in 1053, was removed from the ceiling for a major restoration project, the first such work in about 100 years. The two-tiered canopy consists of a flower-shaped part and box-shaped part, and usually hangs six meters above the ground directly over the statue. It is considered to be the oldest existing canopy in the country.
A part of the box-shaped section, which measures 1.3 meters tall, 4.8 meters long and 4.6 meters wide, will be exhibited until Dec. 11 at the Byodo-in Museum, where visitors can take a close look at its glided arabesque carvings.
Monsho Kamii, head priest of the temple, said: "This will be the first and last time the beauty of the Heian dynasty will be seen so closely. The canopy was created in the hope of spreading the Buddha's salvation equally, far and wide all across the world."
(Sep. 23, 2006)
No. 1143 ( Minh Châu dịch)

After ‘Fearless,’ No More Martial Arts

Bill Picture, Sep 22, 2006

Chinese martial arts superstar Jet Li insists that, despite its action-flick-appropriate title, his latest film, Fearless, is more than just another formulaic, kung fu punch-up. According to Li, who recently announced his retirement from the martial arts genre to pursue more dramatic roles, Fearless has a serious message aimed at today’s youth.
The film tells the story about Chinese national hero Huo Yuanjia, who, at the turn of the last century, preserved the morale of the Chinese people against the degradation of foreign powers in China.
The 43-year-old Li also discussed his desire to give the action film genre a soul. He shared his new outlook on life, inspired by his Buddhist faith and forever reaffirmed by a brush with death in the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, when Li and his family were vacationing in the Maldives.

One of the themes in ‘Fearless’ is that respecting one’s self and others is the key to peace. Why are you making this film now, after considering it for 10 years?

In 2003, I read that one-quarter of a million people had committed suicide in China that year. I thought, ‘What is going on?’ It did not make any sense, because things in China, the economy, is better than it has been in a long time.
So I said, ‘How can we inspire people, particularly young people, to not give up? How can we make them be brave enough to go to the end?’ You know, we are our own biggest enemy. That is the message of this film.
In Huo Yuanjia’s case, he was a champion and his ego got the best of him. But, before he died, he learned what is really important in life. I can relate to his story.
When I was younger, I was a champion, I started making movies, I became a big star and I thought I was the best. All I cared about was me. I didn’t care about other people’s feelings. But when I turned 30, fame and success no longer made me happy.
For the last 10 years, I have studied Buddhism, and now I understand the importance of love and compassion.

But, you admit that the anti-fighting message of this film is timely?

Yes. You know, the Chinese characters for wushu [the traditional Chinese term for “martial arts”] mean “stop war.”
If we want to stop war, we must learn to understand our enemies and respect our enemies. That is the philosophy of martial arts.
If we refuse to see and appreciate the other side’s point of view, then the fighting never ends and everyone loses. If we could learn to communicate with open hearts, we could solve a lot of the world’s problems.

Why did you decide to stop making martial arts films?

The formula doesn’t work for me anymore. The formula is, nice guy gets beat up, he learns martial arts, he gets revenge.
I have made a lot of these movies, and sometimes I feel very guilty because we are teaching children only to kick butt. The physical is only part of wushu. A real martial artist knows that violence is not a solution.
That is what Huo Yuanjia learns, that wushu is not about fighting. So, I hope that this film will help change the formula.

Were you nervous about playing a national hero and one of your own idols?

Just like the name of the movie, I am fearless. [laughs]
I don’t care about reviews anymore, or my career or my reputation. I cannot control that. I just try to do my best.

How do you want people to remember you?

At different ages, we are different people. When we are 20, we want success and power and a sports car. But, when we get older, those things are not important anymore.
I don’t worry about a legacy anymore. I have stopped trying to define myself for other people. It’s not important what people think of me. I just want to be a good person.

No. 1142 (Minh Châu dịch)

For the poor, special treatment
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-22 09:02

GUANGZHOU: In a 5-square-metre clinic of the Charity Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine on Friday, He Xiaowei was consulting a doctor.
He, 57, who has been suffering from polio since her childhood, is a regular patient, and her condition has improved since she first visited the hospital a year and a half ago.

"It is not an ordinary hospital," she said. "All medical treatment is free of charge here."

The hospital - in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province - opened at the end of 2004, becoming the first of its kind in the nation that offers free treatment.

"I did not come here until one day I was told the hospital charges nothing for treatment," He said.

He, who depends on social security benefits for living, can't afford the bills at regular hospitals.

According to Luo Yongwang of the Guangdong Provincial Association of Buddhism, the hospital treats only three groups of people: those with the lowest incomes, those who depend on social security benefits (such as redundant workers), and the disabled.

"Although there are other charitable hospitals that charge relatively low fees, a great number of people who fall into these three groups still cannot afford medical expenses there," Luo said.

On December 24, 2004, Luo's association and the Guangzhou-based Guangxiao Temple jointly set up the hospital, aiming to provide easier access to medical treatment for those groups.

"However, we treat only people with common diseases," Luo said.

Guangxiao Temple pumped 5 million yuan (US$620,000) into the hospital, which covers 259 square metres and has no Western medical facilities.

To date, the hospital has spent nearly 790,000 yuan (US$98,750) of that money, of which two-thirds were used to buy medicine, Luo said.

"We also welcome donations for the daily operation of the hospital," he said. It received 50,000 yuan (US$6,250) from a Hong Kong-based businessperson in April.

In addition, Guangxiao Temple recently opened a restaurant featuring Buddhist food in a bid to raise funds for the hospital, according to Luo.

"We don't have enough staff, but they all show much passion working here," he said of the two nurses and four doctors.

Liang Zhonghai, 45, who has been working as a doctor in traditional Chinese medicine for 28 years, came to the hospital a year ago.

"I was deeply moved when I first came here," he said. "All the patients I have seen are so in need of medical treatment.

"I told myself I will stay here for the rest of my life. It is not only be a charity job but also a move to promote traditional Chinese medicine."

Wen Hongmei, 47, a doctor who has been working at the hospital since it opened, added: "There is a good relationship between patients and doctors, and I like working here."

What's more, she said, patients have every confidence in the treatment.

"I earn less than before, but, compared with the patients, each of whom has a tale of suffering, I feel happy," she said.

Wen, who sees patients every Monday and Friday, earns about 2,000 yuan (US$250) a month.

"There are more than 30 patients coming to me for treatment on the days I work," she said. "Some of the regular patients have become my friends."

Statistics from the hospital indicate it has had more than 19,000 visits since it opened.

Since the opening, the Guangdong Provincial Association of Buddhism also launched two other hospitals, in Shaoguan and Foshan. The one in Shaoguan opened in April, with seed money from Nanhua Temple and the other, funded by Renshou Temple, opened in June.

The Buddhism association is also talking to several other temples in Guangzhou, including Lurong, Hualin and Dafo, about opening more hospitals.

(China Daily 09/22/2006 page1)

No. 1141 ( Upeckha dịch)

Archaeologists dig up ‘monastery’ at Kapileswar
Friday September 22 2006 10:17 IST

BHUBANESWAR: Archaeologists have dug up remnant seems to be of Buddhist era at Kapileswar on the City outskirts which can throw light on hitherto unknown aspects of Lord Buddha.

The new findings can either put to rest the long-drawn debate about his birthplace, early life and the life and culture of that period or add more fuel to the controversy.

The excavation work for 10 days in this village by a team of the State Museum has thrown up remains, which experts believe belong to the Buddhist era. The findings would help trace the existence of a Buddhist centre there, believe experts.

Discovery of a grand tank, a 60 x 2.5 ft brick structure made of laterite box, pottery, lamps and artefacts only lend credence to the belief. The articles and structures date back to the 10 century BC and earlier, archaeologists claim.

Superintendent of the Museum and project in-charge C B Patel said, “In the last few days we have unearthed a number of stone pillars, fragments of what could have been a dormitory with remains of brick beds used by the monks and stone sculptures. All these indicate to the existence of a Buddhist monastery or vihar or probably a township.”

Majority of the objects bears characteristics of BC era - artifacts made of terracotta in shades of black, buff and red and structures with extensive use of stone mixed with clay and loose sand as filling.

A two-storey ‘kund’ (bath tub) with a staircase and a small seating arrangement has also been excavated.

The preliminary site surveys have been expanded to nearby areas as well, especially in and around the Kapileswar temple. Further excavations are expected to give an insight into the life and culture of the period between 5th and 10 century BC.

Helping the State Museum in this regard are the students of Department of Archaeology, Utkal University.

In the meantime, plans are mooted to develop Kapileswar into an idyllic Buddhist draw by sprucing up the temple and the adjoining garden.