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Young Burmese Monks Ready to Take Up Arms

Buddhist movement gets bolder; some suggest stockpiling weapons

(Newser) - After seeing nonviolent protesters killed or detained in last year’s protests against the ruling junta, younger segments of Burma’s Buddhist monks are becoming more radical, embracing armed resistance and overt dissent, the Christian Science Monitor reports. "We need weapons,” one young monk said. “That is...

50 Years On, Tibet's Secret War Simmers

Dalai Lama's brother was key to CIA-backed anti-China insurgency

(Newser) - The little-known Tibetan resistance struggle after China's 1950 invasion still affects its politics today, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Dalai Lama's brother played a vital role in the CIA-backed armed movement, largely made up of Buddhist monks, and Chinese suspicion still lingers over how much the spiritual leader himself...

Dalai Lama Cancels Trips Due to 'Exhaustion'

Spiritual leader takes rest after months of traveling the globe

(Newser) - Citing "exhaustion," the Dalai Lama has canceled plans to travel, the AP reports. A spokesman said the Tibetan spiritual leader would not go to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and instead would rest and undergo medical tests for the next three weeks. The 73-year-old has had an intense...

Buddhism Faces Bleak Future in Japan

Temples going begging and Buddhism disappearing from funeral rites

(Newser) - Buddhism, once a significant element of Japanese culture, is beginning to decline in both popularity and influence, reports the New York Times.  Buddhist rituals are even fading from funerals, where the religion once had a near-monopoly, as the Japanese increasingly rely on funeral homes, or skip funerals. If something...

Dalai Lama's Advice Runs to Earthier Tones

Exile's Indian headquarters draws seekers of celestial, and not-so-celestial, guidance

(Newser) - Driven by questions both spiritual and secular, more Westerners are heading to the Dalai Lama's headquarters-in-exile, the Wall Street Journal reports. Humble despite being proclaimed a “God-King,” Tibet's spiritual leader has sought “opportunities to be interactive” in the Indian town of Dharmsala—seeing a wide variety of...

World's Holy Days Converge
 World's Holy Days Converge 

World's Holy Days Converge

Believers of almost all stripes have something to celebrate today

(Newser) - This Good Friday is not simply the most solemn day in the Christian calendar but a convergence of movable feasts that doesn't occur more than once in a century. March 21 is also the first day of the Jewish festival of Purim and the celebration of the birth of the...

Nepali Goddess Retires at 11
Nepali Goddess Retires at 11

Nepali Goddess Retires at 11

Kumari briefly deposed last year after traveling abroad

(Newser) - Sajani Shakya, one of Nepal's living goddesses, is officially retiring at age 11, the AP reports. Religious leaders briefly stripped the Kumari of her divine status last year after she defied custom and traveled abroad, but her premature retirement isn't related to the controversy, officials say. She has "come...

Sri Lanka Bus Bomb Kills 20
 Sri Lanka Bus Bomb Kills 20

Sri Lanka Bus Bomb Kills 20

Bus was packed with Buddhist pilgrims; authorities blame Tamil Tigers

(Newser) - A bomb suspected to be the work of Tamil Tiger rebels detonated on a crowded bus in Sri Lanka today, killing at least 20 and leaving more than 60 seriously burned or otherwise injured. The parcel bomb ripped through a private bus carrying Buddhist pilgrims that had stopped at a...

Burma Protests a 'Success,' Says Buddhist Leader

Famed anti-Vietnam agitator supports monks on US tour

(Newser) - Revered Buddhist spokesman Thich Nhat Hanh, famed for enlisting Martin Luther King's help against the Vietnam War, is supporting his spiritual brethren in Burma on a US tour. The monks' struggle against Burma is "already a success," he told Time, "because if monks are imprisoned or have...

Dubya Will Meet With Dalai
Dubya Will Meet With Dalai

Dubya Will Meet With Dalai

(Newser) - President Bush will meet with the Dalai Lama next  week before the monk is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Not so delighted with the Washington love fest are Chinese government officials, and the meeting is bound to infuriate them further. Beijing has already blasted the US for “using...

Junta Issues Curfew to Stem Protests

Monks vow to keep marching as government sends troops to rally sites

(Newser) - Burma issued a dusk-to-dawn curfew and warned it will crack down on any large meetings, but protesters still marched by the tens of thousands today. The junta also sent out armed troops and declared it time to "take action," raising fears that it will repeat its 1988 crackdown,...

Monks Hold Burmese Officials Hostage

Incident ends in release as protests of fuel price hikes rage

(Newser) - Hundreds of angry monks have released Burmese government officials they held hostage for over 5 hours yesterday, the Guardian reports, in protest of the military regime’s fuel price hikes. Reading Buddhist scriptures, nearly 500 monks burned the officials’ cars, locked them inside a monastery, and surrendered the prisoners only...

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