Monday, February 28, 2011

Buddhists in Bangladesh find Peace

Ven. Karunananda Ph.D. in Los Angeles for Wisdom Quarterly

Virtual Bangladesh - In a country more famous for its annual flooding and connection to Rabindranath Tagore (before partition) than its indigenous Buddhist population and saint Dipa Ma, Bangladeshi Buddhism is experiencing a resurgence.

Just as Buddhism is making a comeback in India as Indian dalits convert, so Bangladesh's own form of Buddhism -- true to the original teachings of the historical Sage of the Shakyas -- is growing in Southern California.

Bangladeshi Buddhists in are concentrated in Chittagong and the Hill Tracks. In California there are two new temples, one in Long Beach and the other in San Bernardino, representing each group respectively.

The approximate extent of Magadha in the 5th century BC. As an empire between 684 BC-550 AD, it formed one of the 16 great regions in ancient India that included modern Bangladesh at the top of the Bay of Bengal (Sat...).

Not long ago the Ganges River Delta region was part of Buddhist-India, in the ancient territory the Buddha lived in, Magadha. "Pakistan" west and east was created by the exiting British colonial rulers to provide a separate country for India's massive Muslim population. It was more successful in destabilizing India by sinking it into perpetual conflict. Islamists did not appreciate being under Hindu rule, and an entrenched war over Kashmir has even involved interference and land seizures by China.

Bangladesh then broke away from (West) Pakistan to become an independent country, sometimes still referred to as the Indian state of East Bengal. Since then fanatic elements in the newly-born (1971) country have attempted to displace the indigenous Buddhist and Hindu inhabitants, sometimes to tragic effect.

Shakira joins cyclone recovery effort

Bangladesh invites peace with Buddha statue
DHAKA, Bangladesh (TDS) - Prime Minister Mrs. Sheikh Hasina has urged people of all faiths and communities to work shoulder to shoulder to build Bangladesh as the most peaceful and prosperous nation in South Asia.

She gave the call while speaking as chief guest at a function marking the unveiling of 48-foot high statue of Lord Buddha at the Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery campus in the city's Kamlapur yesterday morning.

Addressing the function, Hasina renewed her vow to eliminate corruption, terrorism, and militancy from Bangladesh and said the ongoing drives against all evil deeds would continue.

Mentioning that the welfare of mankind is the essence of all religions, she requested people from all walks of life to devote themselves for the welfare of the humanity.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister (center) after unveiling 48-foot statue of the Buddha (PID).

The prime minister said brotherly and peaceful relations among the people of all religions are essential for national, regional, and international development. “To attain our cherished economic emancipation, peace, and stability are indispensable.”

She said Bangladesh's constitution upholds people's right to live in peace and comfort in the society. “Our constitution also preserves the people's right to live in a secular society where people of all religions will have full dignity and freedom.”

Hasina said people of various community, religion, caste, and creed are living peacefully in Bangladesh. “Such harmony and peaceful co-existence is rare in the world history.”

She assured the Buddhist community of ensuring all facilities for them to live in peace in Bangladesh. More>>

Ethnic violence continues in Bangladesh
DHAKA (Feb. 25, 2011) - Curfew was reimposed as ethnic violence in Khagrachhari resumed late on Wednesday night after a day long calm. It's now been six days since the clashes began between Muslim settlers and the Buddhist tribals in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). More>>

Islam is not to blame
Conflicts in Southern Thailand or Bangladesh’s Chittagong division are frequently portrayed as religious conflicts where Muslims are launching a jihad against Buddhists. In reality, the issues lie along much deeper socio-economic fault lines upon which religion has simply been overlaid. To this end, Angry Asian Buddhist was pleased to find an article in AsiaNews, a Christian news service, emphasizing that the land conflict in Chittagong is primarily NOT a religious issue. More>>

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