Four Tibetans set themselves on fire

November 8, 2012

At least four people set themselves on fire in ethnic Tibetan parts of China on Wednesday, a rights group and media reports say.

Three teenage monks set themselves alight in Aba county in Sichuan province, where many self-immolations have taken place in recent months.

One of the boys died and the other two were taken to hospital.

Later the same day a 23-year-old woman died after setting herself on fire in Qinghai province.

More than 60 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since early 2011, in what rights group say are acts of protest against Beijing’s rule.

Beijing says Tibetans have religious freedom and accuses …

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If you meet the Buddha in the produce aisle, eat him

August 7, 2012

A funny thing: If you go to Google Images and search for “bad Buddhist art” (don’t ask) you’ll find that the first result is of a pear shaped like a Buddha. No, it’s not like one of those potatoes that looks like Mickey Mouse — a freak of nature. It’s a cultivated pear.

And there’s not just one of them. According to, a Chinese farmer called Hao Xianzhang has been growing pears inside Buddha shaped plastic molds. And he sells them. For 50 Yuan, which is, at today’s rate of exchange, just over $7.85.

It’s cute, but I’m not sure many Buddhists would want to bite into the juicy flesh of the Fully … Read more »

What should the Dalai Lama do about Tibetan self-immolations?

July 18, 2012

On CNN, we see two dramatically different views on the Dalai Lama’s position on the wave of self-immolations by Tibetans protesting the Chinese occupation of their country and the persecution of their religion and culture.

Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar, author of “The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation,” and regular CNN Belief Blog contributor, calls on the Dalai Lama to condemn the protesters.

Tenzin Dorjee, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet, responds, saying that Prothero’s post is a “crass display of moral blindsight” that “blames the victim.”

Dorjee praises the courage of the self-immolators and compares them to past non-violent protestors:

How can the Dalai

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New Jersey celebrates the 20th anniversary of Falun Dafa

Adriana Rambay Fernández, Hudson Reporter: People came out from across New Jersey on May 12 to observe World Falun Dafa Day, which was held in Secaucus for the first time. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the ancient Chinese Buddhist tradition, which consists of meditation and Tai Chi-like exercises.

Adults and children wearing blue and yellow t-shirts with Falun Dafa slogans gathered during a sunny day on the Buchmuller lawns and before the stage to hear live music, watch dance performances and to learn exercises. Mayor Michael Gonnelli spoke during the day’s events to welcome the group.

Proclamation by town

The mayor and …

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Falun Gong brings tranquility to Times Square

Joshua Philipp & Zachary Stieber, Epoch Times: Something unique happened on Times Square on Saturday. From the morning until late afternoon, it became calm. Beneath the flashing billboards and amidst the bustling of tourists, hundreds of people sat in meditation while soft Chinese music played above low voices.

The event was one of several throughout the city marking the 20th year since Falun Gong was introduced to the public in China. Meditation lasted through the easy afternoon, and turned to music and Chinese dance as the day drew on.

And although this was a celebration, people standing on corners with fliers for …

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Ancient Buddhist temple found in China’s Taklimakan desert

Xinhua: The ruins of a Buddhist temple dating back 1,500 years ago have been discovered in China’s largest desert, offering valuable research material for historians studying Buddhism’s spread from India to China.

The temple’s main hall, with a rare structure based around three square-shaped corridors and a huge Buddha statue, has been uncovered after two months of hard work in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Dr. Wu Xinhua, the leading archaeologist of the excavation project, said Monday.

“The hall is the largest of its kind found in the Taklimakan Desert since the first archaeologist came to work in the area in the 20th century,” said Wu, also head of the Xinjiang archeological team of the Chinese … Read more »

Tibetan self-immolations rise as China tightens grip

March 23, 2012

Andrew Jacobs, New York Times: Like many children of Tibetan nomads, Tsering Kyi started school relatively late, at age 10, but by all accounts she made up for lost time by studying with zeal.

“Even when she was out at pasture with her parents’ flock, there was always a book in her hand,” a cousin said.

That passion for learning apparently turned to despair this month when the Maqu County Tibetan Middle School, in Gansu Province near Tibet, switched to Chinese from Tibetan as the language of instruction. The policy shift has incited protests across the high-altitude steppe that is home to five million …

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Dying as a political act: Centuries-old Buddhist tradition of self-immolation continues in China

March 21, 2012

Peter Goodspeed: On Wednesday, Jamyang Palden, a 39-year-old monk, described as “calm, humble and virtuous,” set himself aflame in Drolma Square in the town of Rongwo in the Chinese province of Qinghai, along the border with Tibet.

He prostrated himself three times beside a Buddhist monastery that was founded in 1301, said a silent prayer, then set himself alight, according to the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet.

In a matter of minutes more than 500 crimson-robed monks and 700 students from nearby schools were swarming over the site of the attempted suicide, chanting prayers for the monk’s soul, shouting political slogans, waving outlawed photographs of the …

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Meet the monk who spent spent 19 years in one room after China invaded Tibet

March 20, 2012

Joyce Morgan, Sydney Morning Herald: After China invaded Tibet in 1959, a young monk went into solitary confinement. He remained in a tiny dark room in the capital Lhasa for 19 years.

Choden Rinpoche’s confinement was self-imposed and he spent the two decades secretly meditating and reciting sacred texts he had memorised.

Rinpoche had none of the ritual objects, no altar, or books associated with a monk, just a set of rosary beads he hid under his blanket. Even retaining these was dangerous.

“If you kept even one scripture text, that is a serious crime – more serious than keeping a gun,” he said through an …

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Dalai Lama questions wisdom of self-immolations

November 19, 2011

BBC News: The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he is very worried about the growing number of monks and nuns setting themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

He told the BBC he was not encouraging such actions – saying there was no doubt they required courage, but questioning how effective they were.

There have been 11 cases of self-immolation so far this year.

Most have resulted in death – the latest a 35-year-old nun two weeks ago.

The BBC has obtained graphic footage of the moment she set herself alight, prompting horrified cries from onlookers. Later, Chinese security forces flooded …

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