Friday, 27 June 2014

Jihadist destroys Buddhist statues in Tokyo

From the Gateway Pundit by Joe Hoft   

Sudden Jihad Syndrome Japan

"A Saudi graduate student vandalized and destroyed several ancient Buddhas that were designated as important Japanese cultural symbols in downtown Tokyo. One of the statues was 300 years old.

The incident happened around midnight.

The man said he carried out a similar attack at another temple."

NHK reported:

"A Saudi Arabian man has been arrested for vandalizing Buddhist statues at a temple in downtown Tokyo.

Police say they received an emergency call about a foreigner behaved violently at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Taito Ward at around midnight on Wednesday.

They say officers who rushed to the scene found 4 Buddhist statues lying broken on the ground.

Police say they questioned a 31-year-old Saudi Arabian graduate school student nearby, and the man admitted that he had destroyed the statues.

The vandalism involved 3 stone statues measuring 60 to 100 centimeters tall and a 200-centimeter tall bronze one that was made about 300 years ago."            Full article and video 

Destroying Jahiliyya

SJS or Jahiliyya bashing?

Actually, this probably isn't 'Sudden Jihad Syndrome'  as it is commonly understood, but seems to be  premeditated (the jihadist had already vandalised a previous temple), and was most likely motivated by the Islamic religious requirement to destroy Jahiliyya - the symbols and artwork of pre-Islamic civilisations.            

This form of Jihadism is therefore more closely related to the demolition of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, and on a smaller scale, the destruction of the Buddhist Heritage of the Maldives.

What makes this attack unusual is that it seems to be the first time that destruction of Buddhist Jahiliyya has been carried out in Dar al-Harb, it is more usually done to vestiges of Buddhist civilisation remaining in Dar al-Islam.

It seems that the Islamists are getting bolder and more militant in their global jihad against Buddhism and Buddhists.  Museums and other organisations possessing Buddhist artwork may need to review their security, especially in areas with a large population of jihadists.

See   No future for Buddhism in an Islamized World

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Cambodia's Buddhist heritage deteriorates as casinos take over

From The Pnom Penh Post by Ezra Kyrill Erker  

"Surrounded by casino developments, the iconic Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh faces the prospect of relocation or even closure as the modern world starts to close in

One bookshop by the remaining entrance remains open, its religious, cultural, reference and historical texts undisturbed, collecting chalky construction dust.

The library chambers inside the octagonal building are also open but empty; the students who used to come in their dozens every day have vanished. A handful of staff and friends of the institute sit around the grounds, beneath the Khmer-style three-tiered roof, discussing politics or their picks for the World Cup. Sometimes they have to pause until the clatter of drilling subsides.

With the Buddhist Institute surrounded on three sides by casino construction, visitors are almost non-existent. Across the street loom the cranes of the TSCLK Integrated Complex, still in its early stages but part of the future 1,000-hotel-room Naga 2 casino annex. There are concerns that the developments will swamp the institute and force it to relocate or close.

To the left, digging machinery removes mounds of earth for a subterranean walkway that will connect the new complex to NagaWorld, the existing 24-storey casino and entertainment complex that rises behind the institute. To the right on institute land is the beginning of steel framework for an electricity sub-station, designed to power the new buildings. A nearby tourist park will also follow.

The facilities will cater to the growing demand for high-end tourism, especially among Vietnamese and Chinese visitors facing gaming restrictions at home.

“This is a holy place,” says a middle-aged man, who asked not to be named. “There are so many records and religious history, donated by kings and dignitaries. This is one of the most important places for our culture.”

He worries about the absence of visitors, the dwindling land and damage to the building, but says there is no mechanism available to them for making complaints. The Ministry of Culture and Religion, he says, has done nothing to protect the institute.

Parts of the wall and main gate intended to protect the institute from incursions were torn down last month with the consent of the ministry, leading to a protest march led by monks on May 29. The ministry denied accusations by the monks that the land for the electricity substation had been leased or sold to the casino. Ministry spokesman Seng Somony said the construction was necessary to promote development in Cambodia, and that the boundary wall would be rebuilt after Naga 2’s completion.

Somony also said that the ministry itself might abandon its home on Preah Sihanouk Quay and move to a seven- or eight-storey building on institute land. The ministry this week could not be reached to answer questions on the matter.

Considered the world’s key research centre for Khmer studies, the institute is involved in the preservation, scanning and cataloguing of ancient Khmer manuscripts, as well as publication, research and international workshops. Founded with French support in 1930 by King Monivong, the institute became a centre for the preservation and development of Cambodian national culture, and was the country’s first major publisher.

The institute’s journal, Kambuja Soriya, which is still being published, brought classical literature, religious works and folk tales. The country’s first Khmer newspaper, Nagara Vatta, was co-founded by institute librarian and nationalist Son Ngoc Than, who would later become prime minister. Other publications include the 110-volume Tripitaka translated from Pali, collections of Khmer legends and the first Khmer dictionary, which is still being updated and used, with an app for mobile phones. The current cream-coloured building opened in May 1998 on its one-hectare site.

“The land belongs to Buddhism,” said But Buntenh, founder of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice. “Someone can’t just give it away without the consent of the sangha. King Norodom Sihanouk gave this land to the institute, and the Ministry of Cult and Religion must stop giving land away to companies....”    Read it all

Why are Christians Turning to Buddhism?

Six examples, by Jay McDaniel at Buddha's Teaching

"A small but growing number Christians in the West are turning to Buddhism for spiritual guidance. Many are reading books about Buddhism, and some are also meditating, participating in Buddhist retreats, and studying under Buddhist teachers. They are drawn to Buddhism’s emphasis on “being present” in the present moment; to its recognition of the interconnectedness of all things; to its emphasis on non-violence; to its appreciation of a world beyond words, and to its provision of practical means — namely meditation — for growing in one’s capacities for wise and compassionate living in daily life. As they learn from Buddhism, they do not abandon Christianity. Their hope is that Buddhism can help them become better Christians. They are Christians influenced by Buddhism..."  Read it all 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Can Buddhism Cure Mental Illness?

By Rev Sumitta in Applied Buddhism 

"I am so overjoyed at the growing interest in Buddhism. As a practice, it has been proven over the past 2,600 years that the Buddha truly understood the nature of the world and his enlightened teachings have been the path for countless others to understand the nature of dukkha (discontentment) and how to reduce or eliminate that dukkha in our lives in order to be fully engaged with the world around us. Nevertheless, lately I have seen a marked increase in conversations of people who seek Buddhism to be a panacea solution for mental illness and this sometimes troubles me because it shows a misunderstanding of Buddhism and mental health.

While I am a Buddhist minister, I am also a licensed social worker with a specialty in mental health and drug and alcohol treatment. If you have thought of practicing Buddhism and you (or your friend) suffer from a mental health condition, I highly encourage you to read this article and understand more clearly what Buddhism can and cannot do for you..."  Read it all 

New Indian Prime Minister will promote India’s rich Buddhist heritage to attract tourists and scholars and enhance India’s standing in the world

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

From Lankaweb by Senaka Weeraratna 

India's new leader, Narendra Modi, 'though committed to the cause of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is also a great admirer of Buddhism and very much conscious of the great contribution Buddhism has made in elevating the moral and spiritual stature of India through out the world, and its huge potential to influence humanity and global thinking in a positive direction.'

Read the full article