Violent raid breaks up Burma mine protest

December 3, 2012

Thomas Fuller, New York Times: Security forces in Myanmar mounted a violent raid on Thursday against Buddhist monks and villagers who have been protesting the expansion of a copper mine. The crackdown was the largest since the civilian government of President Thein Sein came to power 20 months ago.

Witnesses said dozens of monks and other protesters were injured when the security forces used incendiary devices that set fire to protesters’ encampments outside the offices of the Chinese company in charge of the project. The company has a partnership with the powerful military in Myanmar, formerly Burma.

Photos from Burmese online news sites showed …

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Ethnic hatred tears apart a region of Burma

November 30, 2012

Thomas Fuller, New York Times: The Buddhist monastery on the edge of this seaside town is a picture of tranquillity, with novice monks in saffron robes finding shade under a towering tree and their teacher, U Nyarna, greeting a visitor in a sunlit prayer room.

But in these placid surroundings Mr. Nyarna’s message is discordant, and a far cry from the Buddhist precept of avoiding harm to living creatures. Unprompted, Mr. Nyarna launches into a rant against Muslims, calling them invaders, unwanted guests and “vipers in our laps.”

“According to Buddhist teachings we should not kill,” Mr. Nyarna said. “But when we feel …

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President Obama’s historic visit to Burma

November 22, 2012

President Obama and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi step out onto the balcony of her house to deliver a statement, in Rangoon.

This is one of the great images from the Washington Post’s slideshow of President Obama’s visit to Burma — the first time a US president has visited that county.

Obama to visit Burma as part of first post-election overseas trip

November 8, 2012

Peter Baker, NYT: President Obama’s first postelection overseas trip will be this month to Asia, where he is to make a historic visit to Burma as it moves toward democracy and reinforce his desire to reorient American foreign policy more toward the Pacific during his second term.

The White House announced on Thursday that the newly re-elected Mr. Obama would head to an annual international economic summit meeting in Cambodia and stop in Thailand and Myanmar. No sitting American president has visited either Myanmar or Cambodia, allowing Mr. Obama to underscore his commitment to the region.

The trip fits into a larger geopolitical …

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Buddhism’s dirty secret

September 19, 2012

One of the things that makes Buddhism an attractive spiritual path for people in the west is its historical track record as a peaceful religion. You’ll often hear western Buddhists say that Buddhism has never had any holy wars, for example. But there’s a but…

Certainly, there’s nothing in the Buddha’s teaching to support violence. In essence, Buddhism is a religion of peace whose teachings have no place even for “righteous anger” or violence as a means of self-defense. As the Buddha said,

“Monks, even if bandits were to savagely sever you, limb by limb, with a double-handled saw, even then, whoever of you harbors ill will at heart would not be upholding my

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Suu Kyi hopes victory is dawn of new era in Burma

April 2, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi claimed victory Monday in Burma’s historic by-election, saying she hoped it would mark the beginning of a new era for the long-repressed country.

Suu Kyi spoke to thousands of cheering supporters who gathered outside her opposition party headquarters a day after her party declared she had won a parliamentary seat in the closely watched vote.

The Election Commission has not yet confirmed the results, but government officials have commented on Suu Kyi’s victory and the people of Burma – also known as Myanmar – have reacted with jubilation.

“The success we are having is the success of the people,” Suu Kyi …

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Suu Kyi to spend three days in meditation centre in Rangoon

July 28, 2011

Myo Thant (Mizzima): National League for Democracy (NLD) General-Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi will go on a three-day retreat in a Rangoon meditation centre from Friday to Sunday, according to Win Htein, the NLD office chief.

“Starting Friday she will spend three days in the meditation centre at the Shwetaunggone Pannita Yama Monastery to practise meditation,” he told Mizzima. The monastery has three branches in Rangoon and he declined to identify the monastery, but some observers said it is believed to be the Shwetaunggone Pannita Yama Monastery at “10-Mile Hill” in Rangoon. After her release from house arrest in November 2010, she donated food to monks in the Shwetaunggone Pannita Yama Monastery…

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s hope for genuine democracy

February 19, 2011

In a program aired on Feb. 11, Aung San Suu Kyi discusses forgiveness, the importance of being concerned more for others than for oneself, and the benefits of meditation.

Q: I served as the general secretary of the National Democratic Congress Party when I was in Burma, and you stayed with our party when you visited the Kachin State back in 1989. I am very happy to hear that you have now been released from detention. I would like to know what you intend to do to bring about change in our country, what you will do when those changes happen, and how you will maintain those changes. Also, I would like to know how … Read more »

Freed democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi tells of her years under house arrest in Burma

November 18, 2010

Newly freed democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi gave an insight Wednesday into the daily routine and inner strength that enabled her to endure years under house arrest in Burma.

“It wasn’t all that difficult,” she told London’s The Times.

“I was in my own home. What was I going through? I was simply sitting in my house. I’ve never been one for going out a lot. I listened to music. I like sketching a bit and so on. I’m a very indoors sort of person, if you like, so it was no great hardship.”

She expressed surprise at any perception that she had gone through great hardship, comparing her treatment with those of the … Read more »

Suu Kyi’s 20-year war of wills with Myanmar junta: Profile

November 15, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi’s patience and fierce determination have been tested repeatedly during a 20-year war of wills against Myanmar’s military rulers.

Those qualities, honed by a daily morning regimen of Buddhist meditation, have helped her in a battle in which she has effectively spent 15 of the last 20 years under house arrest.

Born June 19, 1945, Suu Kyi (pronounced Sue Chee) was only two when her father, Burmese independence hero General Aung San, was murdered by political rivals.

Her mother, Khin Kyi, served in several posts in the newly independent country, including ambassador to India. Suu Kyi grew up abroad, attending Britain’s Oxford University where she received degrees in philosophy and economics in … Read more »