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Thứ Bảy, tháng 10 07, 2006

No. 1172 ( Upekha dịch)

Going on a fast for peace
Sunday, Oct 08, 2006
Staff Reporter

FOR A CAUSE: Buddhist monks Masao Ishitani and Kimura during their fast, in the city on Friday . — PHOTO: S. JAMES

MADURAI: Hunger seems to have little effect on him. The Utopian concept of seeing a peaceful world has strong roots in him.

His heart aches at the sight of violence.

The bloodshed all over the world, especially in Sri Lanka, made him go on a one-day fast at the Gandhi Museum on Friday. But why Gandhi Museum? For Masao Ishitani, a Buddhist monk, belonging to the Nipponzon Myohoji sect established by Nichidatsu Fuji, nothing in this world could be achieved through violence.

Moreover, the close relationship enjoyed by his spiritual leader, Nichidatsu Fuji, with Mahatma Gandhi, as they shared common interests, made him a follower of the Gandhian principle of non-violence.

"I was deeply pained to read the news about huge influx of Sri Lankan refugees arriving every day. So, I felt it was my responsibility to express our concern over the developments in Jaffna peninsula," said the 65-year-old Ishitani from Asahikawa city in Hokkaido.Though his experience, while spreading peace in Jaffna were not pleasant, he still remembers the people for their care and support.

"People were afraid to talk to me. But clandestinely they offered me food and money ,"he said.

Along with Ishitani, Kimura, another monk, also went on a day's fast.

No. 1171

International groups turn heat on Buddha, Ratan Tata
17 Hours,21 minutes Ago

Kolkata, International groups, including scientists from different countries, are sending online petitions to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadbeb Bhattacharya and Tata Group head Ratan Tata, urging them to stop acquisition of fertile farmlands in Singur near here for a proposed automobile project.

In online petitions, which have crossed 1,300, individuals, academics, universities, youths and funding institutions have urged the reformist West Bengal chief minister as well as Tata Motors chairman Ravi Kant and Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata to shift the project elsewhere.

In a span of only 17 days (till Oct 6), already 1,335 petitioners have signed the online petition letter on www.foodsov.org, the website of People's Coalition for Food Sovereignty, a Malaysia-headquartered network of various grassroots groups of small food producers, particularly peasant-farmer organisations and their support NGOs.

The emails were also sent to Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

Despite strong protests by the opposition and individual groups, the West Bengal government has vowed to hand over about 1,000 acres of land at Singur in Hooghly district, about 45 km from here, to Tata Motors for the small car project.

"There are about 70 scientists among the petitioners. The petitions have come from the US, Canada, Latin America, Africa and Europe," Biplab Halim of FIAN (FoodFirst Information and Action Network) told IANS.

"We want the government to set up the project elsewhere. There is ample infertile land in West Bengal to set up the project," Halim said. FIAN had sent an international team to Singur earlier.

In letters to the chief minister, the petitioners said: "I am aware that this multi-crop land, which is home to the people of Singur for many generations, yields 8,000 to 9,000 tonnes of rice, wheat, jute and other crops annually. This provides the people food, income and a life of dignity."

"This scenario, of the government taking over the fertile and productive land of the people, is appalling. Land is their life and to take it away is tantamount to denying them the right to live with dignity. It denies them their right to food and livelihood," the petitioners said in their letter to the communist chief minister who is desperate to woo manufacturing industry to the state.

"There is no transparency and genuine community participation in the process of decision-making. The compensation package being offered to the land owner is way too measly compared to the real value of the land," the petitioners said.

Justice Shyamal Kumar Sen, chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, has also been petitioned along with the chief minister, said Halim.

"I think Tata Motors will get the land and will be able to start their activity within this year. We asked the opposition to come to terms and they should realise and understand the importance of a Tata Motors factory in West Bengal," State Industry Minister Nirupam Sen said Wednesday after an all party meeting called by the chief minister to pacify political opponents.

The Trinamool Congress boycotted the meeting and reiterated its decision to go ahead with its Oct 9 statewide shutdown, while the Congress attended the meeting and placed some proposals before it.

The all-party meeting endorsed the decision to go ahead with acquisition on the controversial site but spare some multi-crop land (approximately 163 acres) and follow a transparent policy.

The situation aggravated in Singur on Sep 25 night after police baton-charged protesting farmers mercilessly, including several women and Trinamool Congress members. Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee was also whisked away from the site and she later alleged assault on her.

No. 1170 (Minh Châu dịch)

Buddhist center finds its own home
Samudrabadra opened in Horizon Plaza on U.S. 41 after years of temporary locations

Originally posted on October 07, 2006

Samudrabadra Buddhist Center has found a home in south Fort Myers after several years of bouncing around temporary sites.

The center took up permanent residence in June in the Horizon Plaza on U.S. 41, just north of Alico Road.

It offers silent and chanted meditation classes, Buddhist study programs, monthly retreats, workshops and day courses addressing real-world topics, explained JoAnn Lawrence, the center's resident teacher.

She said the four-year-old center is named for its founder and spiritual director, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a meditation master, Buddhism teacher and author who has founded 1,000 centers worldwide.

Lawrence said Samudrabadra means Ocean of Good Fortune — Gyatso's name in Sanskrit —and this is the only center to bear his name.

The facility contains a bookstore, and a meditation room and will eventually, be completely renovated to become "even more temple-like," she said.

She said the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers on Shire Lane and a private residence in Alva have provided Samudrabadra with space during the years.

Classes have also been held at satellite locations on Sanibel and in Naples and Bonita Springs from November through April, during the tourist season, something that will continue this year.

Lawrence, 29, said Buddhism and meditation can help people find serenity.

"It's definitely about developing inner peace and happiness," she said. "You can summarize our whole path as be as joyful as you can in every moment and to benefit others as much as possible. So there's definitely an emphasis on becoming more joyful in your life and more healthy in your life, and using practical methods to do that. I think that for people who feel a bit lost, it's a way to find meaning in their life again."

Charlene Black, 55, of Sanibel, said she is a longtime participant at the center and has studied metaphysics and Eastern Philosophy since her late teens. She said Buddhism is grounded in our ability to reason provides tools for dealing with the world compassionately, even when confronted with negative experiences.

"You can maintain a loving mind," she said. "I find it so reasoned and useful."

The day-courses and workshops are an ideal way for newcomers to meditation to be introduced to the practice, Lawrence said.

"It's a chance to become familiar with it in just one day with a subject that's interesting to them," she said.

"All the meditations are geared toward training the mind and looking at things in our life, introspectively and deeply, and making some sort of determination to change something in daily life.

"So it's always this process of transformation, of looking deeply and then using what you've seen about yourself and maybe some advice from Buddhist philosophy, and then making a decision to change something for the better."

A day-course titled "Transforming the Workplace" is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14 at the center and Oct. 28 in Naples.

Rebekah Lloyd of south Fort Myers said she first came to Samudrabadra about a month ago and it has provided her first formal meditation experience.

"I would recommend it to basically anybody because it deals with some foundational life principals that effect all of us," she said.

"The meditation allows you to focus and to focus on relaxing, and it's an opportunity to try and train your mind in a positive direction."

No. 1169( Hạt Cát dịch)

Japanese envoy to discuss Nalanda university proposal
Oct 6, 2006, 4:43 GMT
India News

Patna, Oct 6 (IANS) Japanese Ambassador Yasukuni Enoki is slated to pay a two-day official visit to Bihar later this month to discuss the setting up of a university at Nalanda, the site of an ancient Buddhist university, and explore other investment opportunities in the state.

According to official sources here, Enoki's visit Oct 16 would be the first trip by the Japanese ambassador to Bihar after Nitish Kumar took charge as chief minister in November last year.

He will meet Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi apart from other state ministers.

Japan has shown keen interest in investing Rs.4.5 billion for the proposed university at Nalanda, the home district of Nitish Kumar, where ruins of the 2,000-year-old university still stand. The new university will aim to revive the form of teaching prevalent in the ancient university.

According to official sources, Enoki will visit Nalanda, Bodh Gaya and Rajgir - all important destinations of the Buddhist circuit in Bihar.

Last month, a Singaporean delegation had proposed a similar investment for a university at Nalanda.

No. 1168 ( Minh Châu dịch)

Buddhist temple to get royal honor

Erin Zlomek
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 7, 2006 12:00 AM

After 15 years of rebuilding, a local Buddhist temple again may make headlines - but this time, without the shocking violence.

Wat Promkunaram temple in Waddell received worldwide attention in 1991 when six of its monks and three civilians were shot dead during a robbery. The killers positioned the bloody bodies in the form of a wagon wheel on the temple floor. At first, police classified the shootings as a hate crime.

Members of the temple, 17212 W. Maryland Ave., have left the nightmare behind. This weekend they will accept a special honor from the king of Thailand and host a series of cultural celebrations open to the public. advertisement

The celebrations revolve around the Thai Buddhist Lent period known as Tod Kratin. Buddhist Lent lasts roughly from August to October. On a day after the Lent period, usually in October or November, a prominent Thai family will present a temple's monks with a set of saffron robes made on a handloom. The robes are a gift to the monks in appreciation of their self-sacrifice during the Lent period.

The robe presentation ceremony is called Kathina.

"Initially, a monk's robes were meant as a sign of renunciation of the world and worldly possessions," said Kenneth Kraft, a Buddhist studies professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

Monks in various sects of Buddhism wear robes of a reddish-orange to orange-yellow color.

"Traditionally, it was the color that criminals were forced to wear. It represented the lowest of low in society. It is meant to be a humbling experience," Kraft said.

Today, the monks of Wat Promkunaram will receive handmade robes sent from the Thai royal family, a rare and special honor for a small American temple. The royal family sends the robes to a handful of temples worldwide each year. King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand selects temples based on community service, activity and efforts made to unify temple members.

The presentation ceremony doubles as a welcoming celebration.

"For Thai people, this is the first time the monks have come out of the temple for three months," said temple member Jena Sukitjanont. During Thai Lent, the monks must remain in seclusion to study and meditate.

To celebrate the Kathina ceremony, the temple will host live Thai music and dance on today. On Sunday, chanting, an offering ceremony and a Thai lunch will take place.

Across Thailand, the holiday is celebrated by huge festivals and live music.