Buddha’s not smiling: examining knee-jerk reporting about the Karmapa

February 3, 2011

‘Is the Karmapa a Chinese spy?’ ‘Is the possible successor to the Dalai Lama a Chinese mole?’ ‘Is this another clever ploy of China to take control of the border regions?’ The media have gone berserk with speculations about the Karmapa Lama. Sadly, the coverage has failed to do any groundwork research. This episode not only exposes the way the Indian media works but also jolts the Tibetan faith in Indian democracy and harms India’s long-term interests in Tibet.

The police raid found a few crore (100,000) rupees worth of cash. At most, this may be a case of financial irregularity or non-transparent dealings by the managers of the Karmapa’s monastery for which they should … Read more »

Indian police question Buddhist spiritual leader

January 29, 2011

Dharamsala, India: Police say authorities are investigating the source of a large amount of money found in a northern Indian Buddhist monastery, the headquarters of Tibetan Buddhism’s third most important leader.

D.S. Minhas, director general of police in Himachal Pradesh state, says police and revenue officials are tracking the source of about $777,000 that was found in the Gyuto monastery where the Karmapa lives.

Minhas said Saturday that much of the money was in Chinese yuan. Police have questioned Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, about the source of the money.

Indian media have been carrying reports that the Karmapa could be a Chinese agent sent to India to become a leader of Tibetan Buddhists … Read more »

Curious Indonesian Muslims join peaceful but controversial Falun Gong

January 9, 2011

Nyoman Suryanata must have greeted at least 100 people at the National Monument complex in Jakarta last Sunday, trying to persuade passersby to sit down with him and try the controversial practice of Falun Gong.

“Please, Ma’am! Try out our meditation. It only takes a couple of minutes. Sir, have a go at meditation! Free of charge,” the 59-year-old businessman called out, offering brochures he had made himself.

Surya, as he prefers to be called, had prepared 100 brochures — at the end of the day there were none left.

From a distance, a young couple observed the practice carefully.

They were intrigued by the group’s slow-motion movements, designed to help members “cultivate” their mind … Read more »

Qantas loses fight with Falun Gong flight attendant

November 29, 2010

Qantas has been ordered to reinstate a flight attendant banned from international duties over her practise of Falun Gong.

Sheridan Genrich, from Sydney’s Lane Cove, was demoted to a short-haul attendant after she was threatened by authorities during a 2008 stopover in Beijing and deported because of her spiritual beliefs.

In making his ruling, Fair Work Australia Commissioner Frank Raffaelli said he was unimpressed with the way Qantas had carried out its investigation into Ms Genrich’s case.

“The implication of Qantas’s action is that there is a restriction on the practice of her spiritual beliefs in private, which is contrary to both Australian and international law,” Commissioner Raffaelli said in his judgement, which was obtained … Read more »

Meditation, ritual, and pain

September 8, 2010

Welcome to our new format of news, which is more of a news round-up, often with links to several stories in one post.

The Times of India has a couple of stories about meditation. One is based on an article by University of North Carolina (Charlotte) psychologists Fadel Zeidan, Nakia S. Gordon, Junaid Merchant and Paula Goolkasian, in the current issue of The Journal of Pain. The study found that relatively short and simple mindfulness meditation training — one hour of training spread out over a three day period — can have a significant positive effect on pain management.

The other Times of India article, Sit still, breathe!, reviews a number of meditation … Read more »

Possible Dalai Lama successor bridges age gap

The Dalai Lama’s not getting any younger.

He turned 75 on Tuesday and by all accounts he’s in good health. But, inevitably, the question of who will succeed one of the world’s most revered spiritual leaders looms large.

Increasingly, the spotlight has been turned to the Karmapa Lama. He is close to the Dalai Lama and calls him “a spiritual and personal father figure.” As head of one of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, he is also an accomplished scholar in his own right. But he’s of a new generation.

He plays video games and spends time after meditation listening to rap music. On a recent visit to his monastery in Sidbhari, a village … Read more »

Access to insight in Beijing

March 22, 2010

Chanting sutras before dawn, hearing the song of the bell at night, eating three vegetarian meals a day, living in a room with a bed, a mosquito net and little else. When legs get too sore or the mind too restless for meditation, he reads Buddhist sutras.

After five days of bone-tiring work, Song Ming, a 45-year-old sales manager begins his weekend in a Buddhist meditation center in suburban Beijing.

Besides sutras, he reads Confucian and Taoist texts that include dozens of stories about hermits in the hills of ancient China. Song really likes these stories. He could understand someone wanting nothing but to live a simple life. Given a choice, Song said, he prefers … Read more »

Obama administration in talks with Dalai Lama

September 14, 2009

The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama today confirmed that discussions between the Dalai Lama and a senior US Government delegation took place in Dharamsala on September 13 and 14. The delegation was led by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, and included Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs (designated to serve concurrently as Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues) and other US Government officials.

According to a statement posted on the official website of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (http://www.dalailama.com/news/432/htm), Ms. Jarrett personally conveyed the commitment of President Obama “to support the Tibetan people in protecting their distinct … Read more »

Olympic torch relay marked by protests

April 10, 2008

Dalai LamaWorld attention continues to be focused on human rights abuses in Tibet. The relay of the Olympic torch from Greece to China has been marked by protests in London and Paris. An estimated 10,000 protesters gathered in San Francisco, although the protests may have been subdued by the rerouting of the torch relay at the last minute, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Despite the ongoing protests, the Assembly of National Olympic Committees issues only a watered down statement, expressing confidence that China would strive to find through dialog and understanding a “fair and reasonable solution” to “the internal conflict”, The Hindu News Update Service reported. Although this was clearly a reference to Tibet, the word … Read more »

A not-so-fine romance

April 3, 2008

Nicholas KristofNicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times: In the aftermath of the Tibet upheavals, the complicated romance between America and China is degenerating into mutual recriminations, muttering about Olympic boycotts and tensions that are likely to rise through the summer.

It would be convenient if we could simply denounce the crackdown in Tibet as the unpopular action of a dictatorial government. But it wasn’t. It was the popular action of a dictatorial government, and many ordinary Chinese think the government acted too wimpishly, showing far too much restraint toward “thugs” and “rioters.”

China and the U.S. clash partly because of competing interests, but mostly because of competing narratives. To Americans, Tibet fits neatly into … Read more »