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Thứ Bảy, tháng 12 16, 2006

No. 1294 ( Hạt Cát dịch)

Buddhadasa disciples protest against charms rite
by SUPAPHONG CHAOLAN, Bangkok Post, Dec 16, 2006

Surat Thani, Thailand -- Disciples of revered monk Buddhadasa Bhikkhu have protested against the consecration of Buddha amulets at a temple in Chaiya district, complaining the idea of producing good luck charms is ''anti-Buddhist.''

The late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, recognised as one of the most influential figures in Thai Buddhism, was the temple's abbot for 45 years.

About 200 laymen and students yesterday marched to Wat Phra Boromthatchaiya where they rallied against an amulet sanctification rite being organised at the temple. The ceremony will be held on Monday.

Prayoon Yamananthakul, chairman of a Buddhist association in Surat Thani, said followers of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu did not oppose the move to produce Buddha images to raise funds for construction of a hospital building at a military camp.

The disciples, however, disagreed with the use of the temple as the ceremonial venue. Performing the rite went against the teachings of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, who said good luck charms had no place in Buddhism.

''We have no intention of obstructing the ceremony, but we want it to be performed elsewhere, not at Wat Phra Boromthatchaiya (where Buddhadasa Bhikkhu had been abbot),'' said Mr Prayoon.

His group asked the organisers and acting abbot of the temple, Phra Udomthampreecha, to move the rite elsewhere, but without success.

Surat Thani governor Niwat Sawatkaew said his assistant Theerayuth Iemtrakul would look into the group's demands
No. 1293 ( Upekha dịch)

On India PM’s Tokyo list, Rs 5500-cr (US$ 3.7 mil) Buddhist infrastructure upgrade
by CITHARA PAUL, Indian Express, December 13, 2006

Holy places in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to benefit most with new roads, airports, tourist centres proposed

New Delhi, India -- The tourism sector in India is waiting eagerly for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan, starting tomorrow, with details of treaties involving Japanese investment worth Rs 5,570 crore (US$ 3.7 mil) likely to be finalised during his four-day stay.

The pacts would be part of the larger joint declaration to celebrate 2007 as the India-Japan Friendship and Exchange Year. The treaties come at a time when the inflow of Japanese tourists into India has been seeing a steady rise, growing 28% over the past two years, according to the Tourism Ministry.

The proposed projects will mainly cover Buddhist sites for infrastructure development with Japanese aid through next year. The Rs 5,570 crore fund will pay for works such as building roads, airports, tourist facilities and conservation in specified regions.

Buddhist holy places in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Himachal pradesh, Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir are likely to benefit.

The two countries are also working on an eight-point plan to boost tourism, which includes preferential treatment in issuing visas, more direct flights and joint tourism promotions.

“Japan has a strong presence in the Indian tourism sector and we are expecting to double the Japanese impact in next three years,’’ said a senior ministry official.

There is more for the Buddhist circuit, covering Sarnath, Kushinagar, Piprawaha and Saraswathy in UP, and Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir and Vaishali in Bihar.

The Phase II of these projects, ending in 2012, will be providing Rs 680 crore for a period of seven years. Works include widening of highways, roadside plantations, conservation of monuments, construction of visitor and meditation centres, and power and water supply to Buddhist sites.

Japan will is also extend support to the Phase II of the Ajanta Ellora Conservation and Tourism Infrastructure Development Project. The places being covered by this project include Aurangabad, Daulatabad, Lonar, Nasik, Pune and Elephenta caves, apart from Ajanta and Ellora.