Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Multi-colored Buddhists

Intra-faith religious harmony must be cultivated too
With their palms pressed together, the monastics – though differently shaded – were a vision of uniform serenity (

"As Buddhists, we are all friends," she said, before adding that any suggestion to the contrary would be unthinkable. "We are all here to [meditate], to learn about the Dharma. We are the same."

SINGAPORE - First in gold, then red, and saffron, the monks sat in tight rows at the Wat Ananda Metyarama Buddhist Temple in Bukit Merah. The color of their robes represented each of the monks' Buddhist faiths respectively: East Asian Mahayana Buddhism, Tibetan [Vajrayana] Buddhism, and Southeast Asian Theravada Buddhism.

With their palms pressed together in [anjali mudra], the 30 [monastics] – though differently shaded – were a vision of uniform serenity.

The 300 devotees who followed them on Sunday morning to witness the temple’s inaugural National Day Celebrations were much less homogeneous. Among the locals were Buddhists from Laos, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. A few were visitors, but most were temporary workers, or residents for whom Singapore was now home. Throughout the day, pockets of conversation, in various languages, were heard in the temple in the corner of Jalan Bukit Merah and Silat Road. The incongruity of it all seemed to bother no one.

Many, like Singaporean housewife Linda Chia, 46, saw little difference between herself and the other Buddhists [from other countries] who sat around her. In fact, prior to frequenting this Thai Buddhist temple, she had been a member of a Burmese Buddhist temple in Pasir Panjang. More>>

Bangalore's Singaporean dream - it's possible!
Vinaya Pai

The ex-Chief Minister of Karnataka, India spoke of his dream to recreate Bangalore into a city like Singapore. A couple of days ago the Deccan Herald ran an article referring to this and pointing out how Bangalore cannot be another Singapore: The discipline that makes Singapore what it is comes from the citizens; such discipline does not exist in Indians. More>>