Thursday, 31 March 2016

Not so Holy in Thailand - Maybe It'll be Down to the Girls

An unholy spat is stirring the Sangha, Thailand's top Buddhist authority - who will become the next Supreme Patriarch, Thailand's most senior monk? Meanwhile, allegations of 'cheque-book Buddhism', cronyism and corruption abound - including allegations about tax-evasion on an imported vintage Mercedes car. In Thailand, where the majority of the population profess Buddhism, seeking ordination isn't unusual. But salacious stories about monks who commit serious crimes - everything from sex offences to wildlife trafficking - continue to shock.

Watching quietly from the side-lines is the Venerable Dhammananda - female, and a Buddhist monk since 2003. Although the Sangha bars women from ordination, there are now around 100 bhikkhunis, as female monastics are known, in Thailand. And their growing acceptance by some Buddhist believers might partly be explained by a widespread disillusionment with the behaviour of some male monks. For Crossing Continents, Linda Pressly explores the rifts and sexual politics challenging Thai Buddhism and its devotees.



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Sunday, 6 March 2016

Afghanistan: Rescued Treasures of Buddhism


An exhibition called Afghanistan: Rescued Treasures of Buddhism organized by the Czech National Museum in Prague aims to present the war-torn country in a different light, to draw attention to its rich cultural history and point out the many influences that left their mark on Afghan culture and traditions. The exhibition focuses on the country’s pre-Islamic Buddhist period. Its chief organizer Lubomír Novák showed Daniela Lazarová from Radio Prague around and began by explaining what makes the exhibition so special.



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You may also like to see our post "Afghanistan Opens Exhibition of Country's Rich Buddhist Past".

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Ashoka; Power and Persuasion

This is another episode taken from the new Radio 4 series, Incarnations: Portraits of India, the story of India in 50 lives. Professor Sunil Khilnani looks at the history and culture of India through a personal selection of the lives of 50 of its most significant and influential figures.


This time he looks at the life and legacy of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka, who ruled over a large part of the Indian sub-continent.



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The Buddha; Waking India Up

This is taken from the new Radio 4 series, Incarnations: Portraits of India.

The story of India in 50 lives. Sunil Khilnani looks at the history and culture of India through a personal
selection of the lives of 50 of its most significant and influential figures.

In this episode Professor Sunil Khilnani looks at the life of the Buddha and at how he has become an inspiration to modern Indians fighting against the caste system.



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Friday, 6 February 2015

Ashoka the Great - Buddhist Emperor of India

This is taken from the BBC radio 4 program "In Our Time" with Melvyn Bragg.

Melvyn and his guests discuss the Indian Emperor Ashoka. Active in the 3rd century BC, Ashoka conquered almost all of the landmass covered by modern-day India, creating the largest empire South Asia had ever known. After his campaign of conquest he converted to Buddhism, and spread the religion throughout his domain. His edicts were inscribed on the sides of an extraordinary collection of stone pillars spread far and wide across his empire, many of which survive today. Our knowledge of ancient India and its chronology, and how this aligns with the history of Europe, is largely dependent on this important set of inscriptions, which were deciphered only in the nineteenth century.

With:
Jessica Frazier Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent and a Research Fellow at the Oxford
Centre for Hindu Studies.

Naomi Appleton Chancellor's Fellow in Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh.









and
Richard Gombrich Founder and Academic Director of the Oxford
Centre for Buddhist Studies and Emeritus Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford.





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Thursday, 4 December 2014

IOT Ch'an & Zen

This is the program featured in the post Zen "In Our Time".



"Some of you may have heard Melvyn Bragg's Radio 4 program, "In Our Time" this morning in which the subject discussed was Zen Buddhism. If you did you will have learnt precious little about Zen or indeed Buddhism!"



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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Role Of Devotion

Following on from our visit to Cittaviveka, the Thereavada Buddhist Monastery at Chithurst on Sunday, this talk is particularly pertinent. While we were at the monastry we attended a lay forum on the subject of devotion.

When I ran my podcast download software today there was this talk, "The Role Of Devotion" by Ajahn Brahmali of the Bodhinyana monastery in Perth, Western Australia....... yes, that monastery!



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