Posted by Natalie C Winslow

NEWS: Britain Approves Open-Air Funeral Pyre

Devout Hindu Davender Ghai was overjoyed with the Court of Appeal ruling that will allow him to be cremated on an open-air funeral pyre. Although British law forbids cremations anywhere aside from crematoriums, Ghai believes that an open-air cremation is critical for a good death and rebirth. While many cremations in India take place on … Continue reading

NEWS: Burmese and Tibetan Monks Meet

A group of Burmese Buddhist monks arrived in Dharamsala, India this week to meet with Tibetan monks and share information on their similar struggles for democracy. The Burmese monks brought with them a documentary that shows the 2007 monk-led protests in Myanmar and the subsequent government crack down. Myanmar’s military dictatorship has been keeping the … Continue reading

NEWS: Non-Muslims Permitted to Use ‘Allah’

After a publication of the Catholic Church in Malaysia filed a lawsuit, the Malaysian High Court ruled that non-Muslims are allowed to use the Arabic word Allah when referring to God. Some Muslims suspect that Christians want access to the word Allah to convert non-Muslims to Christianity, which is currently a crime in Malaysia. The … Continue reading

NEWS: Falun Gong Supporters Evade Global Internet Censors

Software engineers and members of the spiritual group Falun Gong created the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIFC) to reach practitioners in China after the government began arresting Falun Gong leaders in 1999. In 2003 China’s “Golden Shield” program began censoring content and monitoring access to websites in support of Falun Gong. Software developed by the … Continue reading

NEWS: Christian-Muslim Tension Continues

Nine Christian students in Malaysia were arrested after a security guard at a university reported that the students were proselytizing by handing out pamphlets to Muslim students. Police are ready to release the students, after it was revealed that they were handing out surveys to other Christian students and not trying to convert Muslims, which … Continue reading

NEWS: Burmese Pagoda Inauspiciously Collapses

The wife of Myanmar’s supreme leader, Senior General Than Shwe, blessed the Danok pagoda in a ceremony on May 7, adorning it with a “diamond orb.” Several weeks later, the 2300-year-old structure collapsed. Many people, both within Burma and outside the country, believe that the pagoda’s collapse is the most recent of several bad omens … Continue reading

NEWS: MP Proposes Dowry Ban

While India currently has an anti-dowry law, prohibiting grooms’ families from requesting money and gifts from brides’ families, the United Kingdom has no comparable law. Virendra Sharma, a labour MP, is proposing such a law, arguing that women of South Asian heritage are vulnerable to domestic violence and abuse if their marriages operate on a … Continue reading

NEWS: Rival Dalai Lamas in the Future?

Tibetan Buddhists are faced with the unusual possibility that after the death of the current Dalai Lama, the 14th reincarnation, the Chinese government will want to appoint a successor who is different from the successor found by Tibetan religious leaders. The current Dalai Lama proposes that a new process of selection may be introduced, including … Continue reading

NEWS: Church Bombed Near Kathmandu

Two people were killed and fifteen injured when a Roman Catholic church in Nepal’s Lalitpur district was bombed this weekend. Though no one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, pamphlets from the National Defense Army, a Hindu extremist group, were found at the church. The group wants Nepal to be declared a Hindu state, as … Continue reading

NEWS: Russians to Elect Shaman

For the first time in history, Russia is holding an election for the position of “supreme shaman” in an effort to unite traditionally marginalized ethnic tribes, mainly from Siberia. Many people are angered at the attempt to identify a shaman using an electorate method, and feel instead that it should be a status granted by … Continue reading

NEWS: Monk Advocates for Bhikkhuni Sangha

A British Buddhist monk teaching in Australia, but ordained in the forest monk tradition in Thailand, states that there are no good reasons not to fully reinstate Thai Theravada’s bhikkhuni sangha, the order of female Buddhist monks. Ajahn Brahm believes that all the excuses given for not reinstating the bhikkhuni sangha–it is irrelevant, it is … Continue reading

NEWS: Violence Near Temple Called Neighbor Dispute

Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, has compared recent violence on the Thailand-Cambodia border to a dispute between neighbors rather than a war. On Friday two Thai soldiers were killed and several more wounded when Thai and Cambodian troops exchanged fire at a contested site. The conflict is ongoing, and surrounds the Preah Vihear temple, an … Continue reading

NEWS: Malaysian Permitted to Revert to Buddhism

Fatimah Tan Abdullah, a Malaysian woman, has been granted permission by the Sharia Appeals Court to return to Buddhism, after her Muslim husband divorced her. Ordinarily a Muslim in Malaysia is not permitted to convert to another religion, but people from other religions may convert to Islam. The court ruled that the woman was never … Continue reading