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Thứ Tư, tháng 10 04, 2006

No. 1165 (Hạt Cát dịch)

Buddhist devotees back blood-donation drive
The Star, October 5, 2006
KUANTAN, Pahang (Malaysia) -- Some 160 devotees sacrificed their weekend break by turning up to support a blood donation campaign organised by the Pahang Buddhist Association (PBA) here.

The event, from 9am to 3.30pm on Sunday, was held at the association’s premises in Jalan Bukit Ubi.

After a screening test, 134 people were found to be eligible to donate blood. Fifty-seven of them also signed a pledge to donate their organs.

PBA Youth section chief Ang Chong Teck said the blood donation campaign was one of the association's annual activities, which started in the mid 1970s.

He said this year’s theme was “Healthy Life, Caring Lives,” which also included the promotion of organ donation.

“Organ transplants are becoming popular and many lives are waiting to be saved,” he said in an interview.

Ang said, this year, a special team from the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital was invited to provide explanation and advice to the public pertaining to organ donation.

He said a special documentary film from Hong Kong was repeatedly shown to ensure a better understanding of the campaign.

No. 1164 (Hạt Cát dịch)

A festival of diverse Buddhist cultures
Thursday, Oct 05, 2006

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

NEW DELHI: Delhiites will get a unique opportunity to witness music and rituals associated with Buddhism from around the world on one platform during the three-day International Festival of Buddhist Music and Ritual to be inaugurated by the Dalai Lama here this coming Sunday.

The festival is being organised by Tibet House in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Culture and India Habitat Centre. During the inauguration of the festival at Buddha Jayanti Park, Dalai Lama will speak on the "Eight-fold Noble Path''.

The inauguration will also include a spectacular "Golden Procession" of 108 monks and nuns, followed by sacred chanting by various groups participating in the festival.

The festival will illustrate how Buddhist culture in Asia developed varied forms of ritual, dance and music through the centuries.

As such people will get to witness the rich cultural diversity of Buddhism in Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand, Mongolia and Tibet.

Highlights of the festival will be performance of ritual dances from the participating countries and sacred Buddhist chanting in languages ranging from Pali and Sanskrit to Tibetan, Korean and Mongolian among others.

No. 1163(Upekha dịch)
3 October, 2006
Some Nepali Hindus and Buddhists say ‘No’ to sacrificing two million animals
by Prakash Dubey

The large scale slaughter takes place in just three days during celebrations in honour of the goddess Durga. Buddhists instead urge the faithful “to butcher their sins,” not innocent animals, and express appreciation for Christians who have abandoned cruel sacrifices.
Lumbini (AsiaNews) – A reform-minded group of Hindus and Buddhists has called on the Nepali government and their respective religious leaders to ban the annual animal sacrifice in honour of the goddess Durga, which can entail the butchering of up to two million animals in three days.

Dasai celebrations to honour the goddess, one of the most loved divinities in the Hindu pantheon, takes place every year for ten days. In the last three days, about two million animals—chickens, pigeons, geese and even buffaloes—are sacrificed. Both Hindus and followers of Tantric Buddhism practice this age-old ritual.

Until last April’s popular revolts against King Gyanendra, which turned the hitherto ‘Hindu’ kingdom into a secular state, the ritual was untouchable. Now the presence of a democratic government has encouraged many reform-oriented Hindu and even Buddhist groups to call for a ban on the ritual, which they see as “diabolic”.

Jaya Prakash Agarwal, head of Nepal Anubrata Samiti (an organisation dedicated to Hindus’ spiritual reawakening) told AsiaNews that “the blood bath at the expense of innocent animals is a sacrilege. We have been working for quite some time among the people even though few have actually listened to us. But we are optimistic; sooner or later this practice will be banned.”

“We have been able to strip the king of the prerogatives that made him a despot. I don’t see why we cannot succeed in ending this ritual,” Agarwal said. However, “I am concerned that although Nepal now defines itself as a secular state, the government is still allocating money for the slaughter of innocent animals. This year it has set aside US$ 250,000 in Kathmandu alone to buy animals to sacrifice in more than 700 temples. It is a stigma on Hinduism that we have people who do not mind taking lives just for fun”.

“Some Nepalese Buddhist practice this sacrifice,” added Bhante Satyabrata, a Buddhist monk from Lumbini (Buddha’s birthplace). “This is horrible. Lord Buddha would never have allowed such a monstrous act.”

In a bitter tone, the monk added that instead of butchering animals “we should [. . .] butcher our avarice, jealousy, hatred and enmity, [. . .] emulate Christians whose religion, primordially originated in Jewish culture with its tradition of animal sacrifice, never sacrificed animals to please their God.”

“Christians,” he said, “believe that Jesus was the last lamb to be sacrificed and His blood is enough to cleanse all the sins of mankind. But ironically, we, the followers and progenies of Lord Buddha in Nepal, indulge in such an obnoxious act of animal sacrifice”.

Ruben Gurung, an Evangelical Christian from the Good Hope Church, said that “it was a good sign that some Hindu and Buddhist reformers were coming forward to call for a ban on the cult of animal sacrifice”.

“I have nothing against their religious ritual. But I don't approve it because it is the major cause of poverty in rural Nepal,” the Evangelical Christian said. “Poor Nepalese families sell off their valuables to perform such rituals. They dare not shun them because [. . .] they fear some disaster would fall upon them if they don't perform the sacrifice ritual.”

No. 1162 ( Minh Châu dịch)

Religious leaders urge global arms trade treaty

3 October 2006

LONDON - A group of religious leaders including Nobel winner Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama called on Tuesday for urgent agreement on a global arms trade treaty, saying it could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

The call came a day after a report warned that arms traders are profiting from a lack of international rules to supply weapons to unscrupulous groups and bypass arms embargoes on countries.

‘The world is awash with weapons,’ said the 14 religious leaders, including South African Archbishop Tutu, in a letter to The Times of London. ‘And all too often, weapons fall into the wrong hands and are used against innocent people.

‘Yet, despite the mounting death toll, there is still no comprehensive treaty governing sales of conventional weapons from handguns to attack helicopters,’ they lamented.

Other signatories were: Bishop Gunnar Staalsett, Reverend Olav Fykse Tveit, Sheikh Musa Muhammad, Dr Hanny Al Banna, Rabbi David Saperstein, Swami Agnivesh, Father Robert F. Drinan, Joe Volk, Mary Ellen McNish, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Reverend William Okoye and Bishop William Kenney.

Their letter came after a report backed by Amnesty International and Oxfam which warned that the globalization of the arms industry has shed light on the shortcomings of existing legislation to control it.

‘Weapons companies are globalizing, but the legislation is not, and the result is the arming of regimes guilty of abuse,’ said Jeremy Hobbs, of Oxfam International after the publication of the report ‘Arms without Borders’.

The report, also backed by the International Action Network on Small Arms -- an umbrella organization of 600 NGOs -- outlines how US, European and Canadian companies bypass laws regulating weapons trade by selling arms in detached pieces or by subcontracting their activities to local businesses.

In The Times, Tutu and his colleagues underlined the huge impact a global treaty would have. They noted that 55 countries, including much of Africa, Latin America and Europe, already back the setting up of such a treaty.

‘An international arms trade treaty based on governments’ existing commitments under human rights and humanitarian law would have the power to save hundreds of thousands of lives,’ they said.

And they added: ‘As faith leaders from many different countries we call on the world’s governments to act urgently to bring the arms trade under control.’

‘This is a global horror story, which plays itself out from the favelas of Brazil to conflict in the Middle East and to the killings in Darfur. And the vast majority of the victims are not fighters, but ordinary men, women and children,’ they said.