Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dalai Lama, Caste in India, Monks in Politics

Dalai Lama to visit Zenkoji Temple in June
NAGANO (Kyodo, 1/1/10) The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, may stir yet more controversy in his antagonism with China, this time by a plan to visit Zenkoji Temple in the city of Nagano next June, according to his Tokyo liaison office. The Buddhist temple drew attention last April after it declined to serve as the starting point of the Japan leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay due to the Chinese crackdown on Buddhists in Tibet. According to the liaison office, the Dalai Lama sent a Buddhist statue to Zenkoji in November 2008 and the temple invited him at that time. He plans to hold a service for world peace at the temple and give a lecture in the city.

India's silent prejudice
Caste permeates Indian society, even today. But its influence most often lurks beneath the surface. Since I have been writing about Hinduism for Comment is Free, I have been inundated with comments asking about the caste system. Some people have been curious, others have just about fallen short of demanding my blood. I am – pardon the refrain – no expert on religion...It may surprise some to learn that I actually don't remember hearing any open elitist statement until I was in my early twenties.

Accession to India Conditional
(Kashmir Observer) SRINAGAR, India - Describing accession as "conditional," the ruling National Conference (NC) today said that the state of Jammu & Kashmir never merged with the Union of India. Addressing a meeting organized in connection with the membership drive at Baramulla, NC General Secretary Sheikh Nazir Ahmad said the party will never allow anybody to sell the interests of the people of the state. Nobody will be allowed to change the secular charactor of the state, he declared. But, he said, in 1947 the then Maharaja signed a conditional accession with the Centre.

Bhikkhus for Democracy will support Gen. Fonseka
Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
The National Bhikkhu Front leader, Ven. Dambara Amila Thera, said yesterday that “Bhikkhus for Democracy” had taken a decision to support presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka in order to establish democracy in the country. “The main goal of the country was to defeat terrorism; Gen. Sarath Fonseka has achieved it. The establishment of democracy is the next goal of the country,” the Elder said.

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