Briton jailed in Burma for ‘insulting’ Buddha image named prisoner of conscience by Amnesty

October 9, 2015

wildmind meditation newsPhilip Sherwell, The Telegraph: A British bar manager jailed in a notorious Rangoon prison for insulting Buddhism is to be named as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International as his family and human rights activists campaign for his release.

Philip Blackwood’s case has become embroiled in the political ascendancy of radical Buddhist nationalist monks in the run-up to landmark elections in Burma next month.

His supporters have argued that his prosecution for religious defamation for uploading an image of Buddha wearing headphones to advertise his bar was a maneuver by the military-backed government to court nationalist support in the former British colony also …

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On having lovingkindness for hackers

March 19, 2015

Jerusalem artichoke flower and keyboardTwo days ago I got an email message from a friend, saying that Wildmind had been hacked. Uh, oh. It was about 12:25PM, and the timing sucked, since I was just meeting with a couple of friends who were helping me move the last of my stuff out of the house I’ve been living in for the last nine years. As soon as that was over, it would be time to pick up my kids from school, feed them, and then take them back to school for an ice cream social and art show.

In the email my friend had sent me a screen shot, showing a screed criticizing Israel and the US. The night … Read more »

An open letter to President Obama from the Buddhist Teachers Network

November 5, 2014

"Official portrait of Barack Obama" by Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project - Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA


Dear President Obama,

We as 381 Buddhist Teachers in America represent a large community that is deeply concerned about the growing anti Muslim violence in Myanmar and across Asia, and the plight of the 1.3 million Rohingyas, many forced to live against their will in inhumane internment camps and permanent ghettoized communities. We know you have been supportive of all Burmese people and have encouraged peace and reconciliation across the nation. Your upcoming visit to Burma is an important opportunity to strengthen your capacity as a peacemaker. We urge you to once again … Read more »

Buddhists and violence

September 17, 2013

Aaron AlexisIt’s been reported that Aaron Alexis, the former U.S. Navy reservist who went on a shooting spree on a naval base, leaving 13 people dead, including him, was a Buddhist.

This isn’t of course the first time a Buddhist has acted violently. While Buddhism generally has a peaceful history, Buddhist institutions have persecuted non-Buddhists and those from other Buddhist traditions and have sometimes supported war (Japan in the Second World War is a notable example). And Buddhist individuals have committed pretty much every violent act you can imagine, for their own personal reasons, whether that’s greed, hatred, or, in Alexis’ case apparently, mental illness.

Is it possible, in the face of all this, to say … Read more »

Buddhist writer and teacher survives plane crash in Burma

January 7, 2013

New York Post: Allan Lokos, world-renowned founder of the Community Meditation Center on the Upper West Side, was among the survivors of a horrific plane crash in Burma on Christmas Day.

Lokos and his wife, Susanna Weiss, who run the CMC on Columbus Avenue, were vacationing in Myanmar and were seated near the back of the Air Bagan flight from Mandalay to Heho Airport, en route to tourist destination Inle Lake. The plane carrying 71 passengers crash-landed in dense fog in a rice field and burst into flames, killing two.

Weiss broke a lower vertebrae in her back during the impact, and Lokos, 72, has …

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A vision of peace in Burma

December 4, 2012
Meditation on peace, by Alamsyah Rauf (Alamsyah)) on
meditation on peace by Alamsyah Rauf


There’s been so much bad news from Burma recently, with Buddhist monks advocating violence against the Muslim minority and being attacked by security forces as they tried to prevent the expansion of a Chinese copper mine, that I thought I’d post this lovely image of a Burmese boy monk meditating.

The photographer, Alamsyah Rauf, says that he used a 1/5th second exposure on a tripod to blur the water a little yet keep the monk sharp. Do visit his page, and if you like the photograph then consider supporting the artist by buying a copy.

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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