U.S. Campaign for Burma calls on Obama to help the Rohingya

rohingya-boat-myanmar-may-2015

Is Myanmar approaching genocide?This was the question, and in fact the headline haunting my google news feed for much of the month of May. A report from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum suggests that it very well might be (you can read the full report here). It has been over a year since I have written about the Rohingya people of Burma. But that is not because they have seen improving conditions. In fact, things have deteriorated dramatically for many there, living in guarded enca … [Read more...]

“Some wish for peace, I make it happen” – a guest post by Bhikkhu Subhuti on Bringing Buddhists and Muslims together in Burma/Myanmar

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I just got back from inviting 2 Muslims to serve at the head of the meal line for Tomorrow's lunch at Pa-Auk. Everyone thought I was crazy and that the Muslims would kill me or at least shout at me as soon as I entered the compound. Instead they sat us down and offered us apples, and fruit juice with a happy and warm welcoming smiles.  I explained my story to him through a translator, my trusty senior friend Venerable Pannygavesaka, who is game for almost any crazy wholesome idea I have. You … [Read more...]

Ethnocentric Buddhism continued…

Rohingya and supporters protest in front of the White House in May, 2013. photo via

Coming just off the heals of the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, we are called ever more clearly to understand conflicts in the world that might lead to such horrors. What is happening in Burma today eerily reflects the ethnic divides and hateful rhetoric that precipitated the murder of over 800,000 Rwandans (primarily ethnic Tutsis) in 1994.In addition to attacks in recent years, this January, mobs of (ethnic Rakhine) Buddhists massacred Rohingya Muslims in the … [Read more...]

Buddhists in Pink, a look at nuns in Burma/Myanmar

Burmese nuns on alms rounds, Burma 2011

The NY Times recently posted a video taking us briefly inside the world of female monastic life in contemporary Burma. Have a look:They report that, "Enrollment is rising at the Aung Thawada Nunnery School on the northern border of Yangon. The nuns, whose ages range from 9 to 94, join for a variety of reasons, including to escape poverty or abuse."It was great to see that the reporter, Chelsi Moy, is a young woman from my home town of Helena, Montana and I even remember her … [Read more...]

Buddhism and Violence on the BBC

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On Monday the BBC radio show Beyond Belief debated the place of violence in Buddhism. The host, Ernie Rae, was joined by:Michael Jerryson, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Youngstown State University, Ohio, who co-edited the book 'Buddhist Warfare'; Rupert Gethin, Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, and Soe Win Than, a journalist who was born in Myanmar and who works for the BBC's Burmese Service as well as, breifly, Maung Zarni, a Burmese dissident and … [Read more...]

Burma (Myanmar) in HD

jschwarz-myanmar

In commemoration of 8/8/88 I thought I'd post a short video showing the grand, beautiful, and peaceful side of Burma, the side I remember most strongly when reflecting on my short time there. This is shot in gorgeous ultra-HD, 4096x2304 resolution, four times greater than regular 1080p HD. Unfortunately, few of us have monitors that can do much with that, but even at the 1080 HD setting, it is stunning. You can follow the photographer, Jason Schwarz, on … [Read more...]

Ethnicity, Ideologies, and the unraveling of modern Burma

pagan burma

This Thursday marks the 25th anniversary of the 8/8/88 uprising in Burma, which will hopefully spur some much needed discussion about the situation in the country (officially renamed Myanmar by the military junta in 1989, but still called Burma by those who deny the legitimacy of that government).Three articles have already popped up in the last few days that deserve mention, if only for the varying perspectives in them - all dealing specifically with recent Buddhist-Muslim violence. The … [Read more...]


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