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Tibetan sets himself on fire in front of shrine in Nepal

Tibetan sets himself on fire in front of shrine in Nepal

By Manesh Shrestha, for CNN…..A Tibetan man set himself on fire in front of a famous Buddhist shrine in the Nepalese capital on Wednesday, police said, becoming the latest Tibetan to adopt this harrowing form of protest over Chinese rule. The man, believed to be in his early 20s, came out of a nearby restaurant doused in petrol and set himself alight in front of the revered Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, said Keshav Adhikari, a police spokesman. “The whole of his body is burnt,” Adhikari said, adding that the Tibetan was not able to communicate when he was taken to a hospital for treatment. Authorities are still trying to identify the man.

Reaching Enlightenment Through Relationships

Reaching Enlightenment Through Relationships

By Alec Degnats….
These noble truths not only outline the tenets of the practice, but also outline the problems that Buddhism is trying to both address and solve in the lives of its followers. Buddhism’s application of alleviating suffering and its ability to adapt to different cultures have helped it endure throughout the millennia. This ability to adapt is one of the reasons Buddhism was successful in China, and why Chan Buddhism was able to rise and flourish. By examining the importance of relationships and the teachings of Bodhidharma, we can highlight an important difference between Chan Buddhism and traditional Buddhism.
Traditionally, enlightenment and the release from duhkha is reached individually, after many generations and cycles of rebirth.

Religion Lately: A Star Wars Mecca, Remembering Slackmaster Bob & Anonymous as Religion?

Religion Lately: A Star Wars Mecca, Remembering Slackmaster Bob & Anonymous as Religion?

By Kenny Smith….
San Francisco’s Yoda statue draws pilgrims from around the globe. Are we all Jediists at heart?
According to the Prison Literature Project, inmates most frequently request books on Buddhism, Wicca, and Islam. Practitioners of minority religions continue to face many different forms of discrimination throughout American culture.

One writer recalls the Church of the Subgenius’ Prophet Bob and the balmy days of the 1980s.

Starving for God: Foodless Dieting For the Soul

Starving for God: Foodless Dieting For the Soul

By Joseph Rosenthal, Georgia State University…..
“Man shall not live by bread alone,” responds Jesus defiantly in the Gospel of Matthew (4:4) to Satan’s entreaty to break his forty-day fast. This phrase has been used variously by Christians throughout history as a tribute to the virtues of moderation and as a justification for some of the most extreme forms of asceticism. Dietary practice is the second most popular domain of religiously motivated self-denial, surpassed only by matters of sex and human intimacy. The diversity of rituals, laws, and red tape surrounding the consumption of food ranges from prohibitions of basic food types (e.g. shellfish, pork, alcohol, etc.) to extended periods of fasting. The religious preoccupation with what goes into the body goes well beyond hatred of gluttony, sometimes verging on total caloric restriction.

Retreating to Dzogchen Beara: Eastern Spirituality in Western Ireland

Retreating to Dzogchen Beara: Eastern Spirituality in Western Ireland

By Melinda Rothouse….
From the moment I stepped into the van, I knew I had entered a different world. The other passengers are already well-acquainted with the weekly O’Donaghue bus from Cork to Castletownbere, a little town somewhere far out on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Ireland.

Heading home from a day of commerce in the city, many passengers carried loads of shopping bags that filled the narrow aisles while others were making a weekend commute to the Peninsula. A musty odour permeated the vehicle, smoky—dusky, an infusion of cigarette smoke and body odour, perfume and food. Aromas left behind by the countless passengers who made the trip many years past.

Holy Men: Encounters with Pope Benedict XVI and the Dalai Lama

Holy Men: Encounters with Pope Benedict XVI and the Dalai Lama

By Suzanne Degnats
On September 22, 2010, I attended a blessing service given by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in Rome. One month later, I attended two sessions with the Dalai Lama in Atlanta, Georgia during his visit to Emory University. Being an outsider both to the Catholic religion and to Buddhism, I found many similarities at the events surrounding these two political and religious leaders.