People practicing sitting meditation at Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park, New York City, New York

People practicing sitting meditation at Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park, New York City, New York

AFTER a three-week absence, here’s a roundup of Buddhism and social justice news from 1 through 7 October 2012:

Go to: TibetBurmaEngaged Buddhism NewsEngaged Buddhism Views



  • ‘Kachin War’ Is A Disgrace To President Of Burma: OpEd – “The civil war between Kachin Independence Army and government armed forces has become more merciless with day by day hostilities. Despite talk of reform by the President Thein Sein government, its soldiers have systematically accelerated hostilities in Kachin state.”
  • Aid Workers in Rakhine State Say Access Limited in Some Areas – “Nearly 75,000 people living in temporary camps and shelters following inter-communal conflict in Burma’s Rakhine State in June face deteriorating living conditions, say local aid workers and residents.”
  • Burma Task Force Protests Suu Kyi Visit – “Among the crowds gathered at the University of San Francisco to greet Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi last week was a small coterie of Muslim and Burmese activists. They were there not to celebrate the visit by the veteran human rights campaigner but to press her on one burning question.”
  • OIC organizing donors meeting for Burma’s Rakhine State – “The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC ) and Qatar Charity are organizing a meeting with about 30 regional and international organisations to coordinate humanitarian services to Rakhine State in Burma.”
  • Burma’s Displaced Kachins Missing Out on Foreign Aid – “Thousands of displaced people in Burma’s Kachin state are running short of food because they’re missing out on foreign aid. The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand has just released a report documenting the needs of displaced Kachins, since a ceasefire broke down over year ago.”
  • Burma Wants to Share More Revenue with Ethnic States: Minister – “Ethnic states in Burma should receive a greater share of revenue for the exploitation of their natural resources, a minister in the President’s Office said on Monday.”
  • Blood and Gold: Inside Burma’s Hidden War – “So far, more than 75,000 ethnic Kachin civilians have been driven from their ancestral lands. Human rights groups allege the Burmese army is intentionally attacking civilian areas, with wide-spread evidence of torture, rape, forced conscription and summary executions. Both sides employ child soldiers and continue to sow the ground with land mines.”
  • Rights Group Urges Burma to Drop Charges Against Peace Activists – “Human Rights Watch is urging Burma to drop charges against activists who led protests to mark the United Nations’ International Peace Day without government permission.”
  • Bangladesh Accuses Rohingya Muslims of Attacking Buddhists – “The Bangladeshi government is accusing Rohingya Muslims from Burma of involvement in a wave of Muslim attacks on Buddhist temples in southeastern Bangladesh on Saturday and Sunday.”
  • Burma Gets Its First Investment Bank – “An investor from Uzbekistan has opened Burma’s first-ever investment bank with $1 million of his own money.”
  • Bangladeshi Muslims Torch Buddhist Temples Near Border with Burma Over Burned Koran – “Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims set fire to at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes in anger over a Facebook photo of a burned Koran before authorities restored order.”
  • Aung San Suu Kyi: From Politician to ‘Democracy Icon’ and Back Again– “At a time of rampant cynicism about parties and politicians in the United States, it is invigorating to have a ‘democracy icon’ remind us that politics can be a noble calling—and an indispensable means for advancing the public good.”

Engaged Buddhism News

  • Obama Karma by Russell Razzaque – Russell Razzaque has written a book of Zen wisdom from President Obama. [Editorial note: I look forward to reading the chapter that reconciles secret unmanned drone strikes with Right Livelihood.]
  • Support Buddhist Global Relief’s Walk to Feed the Hungry – Over the next couple of weeks, there are eight ‘Walks to Feed the Hungry’ happening all around the U.S., organized by the good folks at Buddhist Global Relief (BGR).”
  • New Pew Survey on Asian-Americans and Religion, and an Old Controversy – A new survey on Asian-American religion from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life challenges older thinking about the ethnic and political make up of Buddhism in the United States.
  • A Petition to the American Academy of Religion – “The resolution declares that the American Academy of Religion will not patronize a hotel or conference center that is in the midst of a boycott, strike, lockout, picketing or other labor dispute.”
  • A Joint Buddhist-Muslim Statement on Inter–Communal Violence in Burma – “A new letter—this one authored by another friend, Bill Aiken of SGI-USA, and expanded in scope beyond Ramadan—has just appeared, and, again, I’m honored to be a signatory and play a role in spreading the word about it.”
  • The Counter Narrative – “Papilio Buddhais a fiction feature film that tells the story of a group of displaced ‘untouchables’ in the Western Ghats who embrace Buddhism to escape caste oppression. But it doesn’t help much.”

Engaged Buddhism Views

  • The Torah of Nonviolence: An Interview with Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb – “As a representative of both Jewish and nonviolent activism, Rabbi Lynn . . . speaks with Tricycle’s Emma Varvaloucas about what she calls the ‘Torah of nonviolence,’ her views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and what leading a life of nonviolence really means.”
  • “A Buddhist Perspective on Occupy Wall Street” by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi – “In this video, Bhikkhu Bodhi lays out the US economy in clear terms we all can understand. Usually, in my experience, these charts and graphs are limited to nerdy economists and leftists. It’s about time that a clear, Buddhist perspective can show these facts and describe the situation and the moral issues at hand.”
  • From Scandal-Like to Just Plain Ugly – “In all traditional forms of Buddhism there is the belief that one can transcend ‘reactive patterns and blind spots,’ and thus there will always be the potential for abuse of that belief.”