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Thứ Tư, tháng 10 11, 2006

No. 1176 (Hạt Cát dịch)

11 October, 2006
INDIA
A hundred thousand Dalits gather in Maharashtra to burn anti-conversion laws
by Nirmala Carvalho

“World Freedom of Conscience and Freedom of Religion Day” will be held on October 14 in Nagpur. People will be able to forsake India’s caste system by making a written statement.


New Delhi (AsiaNews) – More than 100,000 Indian Dalits or outcastes are meeting on Saturday in Nagpur, Maharashtra, to publicly burn copies of the anti-conversion laws adopted by some of India’s states and express their support to anyone who wants to abandon the Indian caste system. The event will also mark the 50th anniversary of the conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism of Baba Ambedkar, the charismatic “architect of the Indian Constitution” and first law minister of independent India.

The rally, called the “World Freedom of Conscience and Freedom of Religion Day”, will be held at Kasturchand Park where, according to the chairman of the All India Confederation of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Organisations, copies of the so-called anti-conversion laws will be symbolically burnt.

Udit Raj, who is fighting for Dalit equality, said that “the government of Gujarat has approved an anti-conversion law that describes Jainism and Buddhism as ‘Hindu sects’. We are outraged by this ridiculous action.”

“On the one hand, Hindu extremists have nothing better to do than accuse and harass Christians and Muslims for allegedly carrying out mass conversions; on the other, they are trying to include two great religions in their own. Where is freedom of conscience?” he asked.

The rally will also give people the opportunity to forsake the Indian caste system by making a written statement.

Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain and even progressive Hindu leaders are expected.

“We love our country,” Joseph D’Souza, international president of the Dalit Freedom Network and chairman of the All India Christian Council, said. “India is the world’s largest democracy and an amazing land of diversity. Yet our nation must recognise the evil of a system which doesn’t allow people to express freedom of conscience.”

At present, anti-conversion laws are in place in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.

http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=7449
No. 1175 (Minh Châu dịch)


First endowed Professorship in Buddhist Studies in the UK is established at Oxford
The Buddhist Channel, October 11, 2006

Oxford, UK -- An endowed chair in Buddhist Studies is to be established at the University of Oxford. It will be the first such chair in the UK.

The chair has been endowed by means of a generous benefaction, held in trust by Balliol College, from the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK) of Tokyo, which is a society for the promotion of Buddhism. The Chair is named after the BDK’s founder, Mr Yehan Numata.

The Numata Chair will be a member of the Oriental Studies Faculty in the Humanities Division of Oxford University, and the Professor, once appointed, will be a fellow of Balliol College.

The postholder will also be affiliated with the recently-founded Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies (OCBS), which is a Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford. A Recognised Independent Centre is an institution that is not part of the University, but works with the University in research and teaching. As well as being a Professor of Oxford University, the postholder will play a key academic role within the OCBS.

Professor Martin Goodman, Chairman of the Board of Oriental Studies at Oxford, said: ‘This is a major step in the establishment of Buddhist Studies at Oxford. The creation of the post is especially welcome in the Oriental Studies Faculty. This post will enable teaching and research at the highest academic level of the complex texts and languages in which the Buddhist teaching has been communicated; this is where the faculty excels, providing the ideal academic environment for this Chair.

‘Our faculty has a long and distinguished history of teaching Buddhist topics, and has produced prominent figures in the scholarly field, but this is the first time a post in Buddhist Studies has been established in perpetuity. There is a definite need for the expansion of the teaching of Buddhism in some of the most dynamic sections of our faculty, especially within the sub-faculties of East Asia and South and Inner Asia. At the same time, Buddhism is a pan-Asian phenomenon, and the increased study of Buddhism within Oriental Studies will link together our different subfaculties in innovative ways.’

Professor Richard Gombrich, Emeritus Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University and Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, said: ‘This benefaction is a milestone in the history of Buddhist Studies. It will enable this University to continue and enhance the internationally recognised tradition of teaching and research built up over the past quarter century; to engage ever more fully with Asia’s great cultural traditions; and to embark on important research projects, many of which will, we hope, involve international collaboration.’

Mr Geoffrey Bamford, OCBS Executive Director, said: ‘The new Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies will be at the heart of a significant academic enterprise. OCBS is working towards a team of six permanent posts, including endowed Lecturerships in East Asian Buddhist Studies, Pali Buddhist Studies, Tibetan & Himalayan Buddhist Studies, Buddhist Social History and Buddhist Art. This generous donation from the BDK for an Oxford University Professor who will play a key role OCBS’s team gives us a wonderful start.’

The vacancy will be advertised soon with a view to making an appointment from 1 October 2007 or as soon as possible thereafter. The advertisement will be posted on the University website at www.ox.ac.uk/jobs/, after which time further particulars and information about how to contact the University for further information about the post, and how to apply, will be available.

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=3,3283,0,0,1,0