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Thứ Tư, tháng 12 13, 2006

No. 1290 ( Hạt Cát dịch)

Dalai Lama Tells Followers to Steer Clear of Relic Show
By Adeline Chia, The Straits Times, December 12, 2006

Singapore -- A mega exhibition of Buddhist relics is proving popular among believers here but has drawn the ire of the Dalai Lama’s Office.

Controversial: The exhibition has attracted more than 30,000 people, but the Dalai Lama’s Office says believers would be worshipping an evil spirit.

Touted as the biggest organised here, with more than 100 million relics – pearl-like remains of spiritual masters after cremation – the event opened last weekend at the Singapore Expo.

Over the weekend, some 30,000 people flocked to the exhibition, which will run until Sunday.

But believers were told they would be worshipping an “evil spirit” – by the Dalai Lama’s Office in Dharamsala, India.

The statement hit out at the organiser, Gelugpa Buddhist Association Singapore, for staging the event and questioned the authenticity of the relics.

In its response, the association said it is a legitimate sect but not aligned with the Dalai Lama’s teachings.

The local Buddhist authority, the Singapore Buddhist Federation, declined to comment even after being contacted several times.

Buddhist Fellowship president Angie Monksfield saw the quarrel as a self-contained one: “There are differences in the groups in the Tibetan tradition, and it’s up to them to resolve them.”

Both the Dalai Lama and the Gelugpa Buddhist Association belong to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The majority of Buddhists here belong to the Mahayana tradition, which originated in India and spread to China.

Ms Monksfield described her 2,000-member Buddhist Fellowship as “mainstream and non-sectarian”.

She said believers should decide for themselves if they wanted to go to the event, adding: “Personally, I wouldn’t go because just looking at relics doesn’t add any value to my spiritual development.”

A Straits Times check confirmed that a statement was issued by the Dalai Lama’s Office. It expressed “deep concern” about the exhibition, and that the Gelugpa Buddhist Association “actively opposes (the Dalai Lama’s) advice and teachings”.

It said that any person associated with the sect “effectively becomes non-Buddhist”.

Fliers of the statement have been distributed in some Waterloo Street shops and restaurants by anonymous parties. The area is popular with Buddhists.

The exhibition is free. The association will hold a 500-table charity vegetarian banquet on its last day. The most expensive table costs $3,800 for 10 people, and tables are nearly sold out.

Ms Jenny Chow, secretary-general of the Gelugpa Buddhist Association, said money raised from the dinner and alms will go to building a Buddhist relic museum in Singapore.

No. 1289 ( Upekha dịch)

Exhibit shows Buddha influence on Nehru

By Venkat Parsa

New Delhi, Dec. 13: An exhibition, Lord Buddha through the Eyes of Nehru, which was inaugurated here on Wednesday to mark the 2550th anniversary of Mahaparinirvana of Buddha and 117th birth anniversary of Nehru, portrays how the first Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru drew extensively from Gautam Buddha. Buddhist thought illuminated India’s worldview and shaped the Indian foreign policy under Jawaharlal Nehru.

According to Nehru Memorial Museum assistant curator Tripat Kumar, the exhibition, organised by Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, seeks to depict the deep influence of Gautam Buddha on Nehru.The Indian parliamentary democracy, too, had its seeds in the four Buddhist Councils.

The first Buddhist Council met three months after the Mahaparinirvana of Buddha at Rajgriha. The second Buddhist Council was a 100 years later at Vaishali. The Third Buddhist Council was 236 years later at Pataliputra. The Fourth Buddhist Council was 400 years later under King Kanishka in Ceylon.

The stirring Buddhist symbols became national emblems. The national emblem is the lion of Sarnath and the Ashoka Chakra in the national tricolour, were all from the Buddhist lore.

Pandit Nehru, piloting the resolution in the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947, "The wheel represents the Buddhist dharma chakra and was used as an emblem by Ashoka in 3rd century BC."

Similarly, several of Nehru’s formulations like the Panchsheel Doctrine, embodied in the Sino-Indian Trade Agreement of April 29, 1954, were drawn from the Buddha.

The Panchsheel Doctrine was: mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; mutual non-aggression; mutual non-interference in each other’s affairs; equality and mutual benefit; and peace co-existence.

Stressing on the importance of the leacy of Buddha, Nehru had said, "It is essentially through the message of the Buddha we can look at our problems in the right perspective and draw back from the conflict and from competing with one another in the realm of conflict, violence and hatred."