‘Engaged Buddhism’ in Myanmar

a.Burma

A report on Sayadaw U Ottamasa’s meditation centre on the outskirts of Yangon has appeared in Frontline Myanmar.

It’s a well written article by Kyaw Phone Kyaw titled ‘A Sayadaw’s Sanctuary for the Needy’. A brief biography of the Sayadaw is available on Dhamma Web with more details available here. As an example of engaged Buddhism in Myanmar the Sayadaw’s activies have become very popular.

As Kyaw reports:

There is nothing unusual about a monk establishing a meditation centre in Myanmar and they can be found throughout the country, but the Thabarwa Center, established by the Venerable Sayadaw U Ottamasara in 2008 when he was aged 39, is very unusual indeed.

The centre, in Yangon’s outer southeastern Thanlyin Township, is a refuge for hundreds of needy people who are encouraged to meditate, as well as being a retreat for yogis, as lay meditators are known in Myanmar.

Membership of the centre is open to anyone and hosts many residents, many of whom have no home to call their own and will live there for the rest of their lives. Their food, health care and accommodation are provided free of charge.

The centre’s website contains more details.

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E-Learning Courses on Women in Buddhism

20 Row of Bhikkhunis

Another great free summer course on gender and Buddhsim from the University of Hamburg, building upon past courses on women in Buddhism:

The Numata Center for Buddhist Studies in cooperation with Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts offers an e-learning course on the topic of Asian Buddhist Women. The course consists of a series of lectures by a group of international scholars who will present their research on the situation of women during various periods in the history of Asian Buddhism, based on textual studies and archaeological evidence. Participation is free of charge but requires online registration. The registration period will be from the 15th of February until the end of March.

 

Lama Chime Rinpoche’s Tribute and Prayers for David Bowie

As reported in Lion’s Roar:

“I cannot express in words,” he says. “I am so sad.” Rinpoche goes on to tell of meeting Bowie in 1965 — a story Bowie told his version of in 2001 at Tibet House — and also of knowing Bowie’s producer and collaborator, Tony Visconti. Then, before issuing prayers, Rinpoche says, “I’ll meet him again in the next life.”

Donating organs produces ‘good karma’?

From the BBC:

Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero is the founder of the Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery in Sri Lanka.

Thousands of followers around the world are attracted to the pure form of Theravada Buddhism he preaches.

The monk is a champion of the idea that donating body parts after death creates good karma which increases the chances of being reborn into a better life.

This belief has helped Sri Lanka become one of the world’s leading suppliers of corneas (the clear front part of the eye).

But while most Sri Lankans wait until they die before giving their parts, Kiribathgoda is doing it while he is still alive.

From the main Mahamevnawa monastery in Polgahawela, Sri Lanka Kiribathgoda explained more.

Video produced by: Ross Velton, with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

‘Bone Relic’ of the Buddha

From The Irrawaddy:

Buddha Bone Tours Burma’s Sacred Sites

A sacred relic said to be a bone from the body of the Buddha has arrived at Rangoon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, where devotees will be able to pay homage to the object through Friday.

The relic arrived in Mandalay last week from northern India, and was taken to the Sitagu International Buddhist Academy in Sagaing Division. The bone then traveled to Naypyidaw, Meikhtila, Okpo and Taunggoo.

The tour was facilitated by Burma’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Sitagu Buddhist monasteries.

 

(Photos: Myo Min Soe / The Irrawaddy)

American Academy of Religion: Conference Paper

Paul5

American Academy of Religion Conference: Atlanta, 21st November 2015

Buddhism Section and Buddhist Philosophy Group

Theme Dṛṣṭi: The Problems of Views and Beliefs in Buddhism

Paul Fuller, University of Cardiff, United Kingdom

Actions speak louder than words: The danger of attachment to views in the Pali Canon and engaged Buddhism

Abstract:

The notion of ‘view’ or ‘opinion’ (diṭṭhi) as an obstacle to ‘seeing things as they are’ (yathābhūtadassana) is a central concept in Buddhist thought. In the study of diṭṭhi there is a dilemma. Early Buddhist texts talk about it as ‘wrong’ (micchā) and ‘right’ (sammā). The aim of the path is the cultivation of ‘right-view’ (sammā-diṭṭhi) and the abandoning of ‘wrong-views’ (micchā-diṭṭhi). However, there is also a tradition of Buddhist thought that equates ‘right-view’ with ‘no-view’ at all. The aim of the Buddhist path is here seen as the overcoming of all views, even right-view. This paper will analyse the description of ‘views’ in the Pali Canon and consider how it impacts on engaged Buddhism. Using a discussion in the Pāṭali-sutta , I will suggest how the Buddhist who acts politically can only do so if his actions exhibit right-view itself.