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Thread: Buddhists behaving badly

  1. #91
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    continued from previous post

    But of course, Weingast and the entirety of the modernist project are wrong in this: plucking poetry or religion or anything else from one culture and transposing it to another does not give one the liberty to re-imagine it entirely, then masquerade this new product in the original’s identity. That is textbook cultural appropriation. It is fraud. It is sacrilege.

    “I made a mistake by endorsing the book without reading it properly and apologize for that.”
    Hoping to defend himself after Ayya Sudhamma’s analysis began attracting more attention in the Buddhist Anglosphere, Weingast invited her, and others who were getting involved in the discussion, to a Zoom conversation on December 28. In Ayya Sudhamma’s account of the call published on Bhante Sujato’s website, Weingast repeatedly side-stepped the question of whether his work is or isn’t supposed to be a translation. He noted that he had been concerned, at one point, that people might mistake his book for a translation; he also described a process of composition that involved sitting in meditation and taking note of the feeling he intuited from each original poem.

    This writing process recalls other attempts at shamanistic divination and channeling as they were undertaken by Western interlocutors, such as the mediumship and séance practices that emerged with Henry Olcott and the Theosophists in the 1800s, during one of the West’s earliest attempts to spiritually appropriate Buddhism. And yet, after acknowledging that the work is not a translation, Ven. Sudhamma recalled that Weingast stated “adamant[ly]” that he would not change the title, nor the front or back covers of the book.

    Some readers have noted that Shambhala Publications, ultimately, bears responsibility for the book’s title, covers, and marketing campaign. On January 17, a small coalition of Buddhist monastics, translators, scholars, and authors (this article’s author included) sent an open letter to Shambhala calling for the removal of the book from publication on these grounds. In their response, a brief letter that was received by the co-signatories, Shambhala called the book a “work of poems inspired by the Therigatha,” acknowledged an awareness of the issue, and stated they “are in the process of adjusting [their] online descriptions so that there can be no ambiguity around the question of translation.” After that, the publisher added a note on the book’s page, saying its description had been “updated to clarify this is not a literal translation of the Therigatha.”

    The implication from Shambhala is that the publisher never intended to market the work as a translation in the first place, when all the language around the book shows otherwise, including its title, original marketing copy, the cataloguing metadata sent from Shambhala Publications to the Library of Congress (which describe it as a translation), and numerous blurbs, which call it a translation, while the promotional copy on the back cover declares the poems “transmit the words of these liberated women,” that “their voices are all here,” and that Weingast is “offering readers a rare glimpse [at] the spiritual literature and poetry of the first female disciples of the Buddha.”

    While it is destined to be lost to us, the Therigatha has survived and endured for 2,500 years—it will not be erased today.
    Bhikkuni Canda, a British nun and spiritual director of the Anukampa Bhikkuni Project, recently released a public statement on her Facebook account to “acknowledge that I made a mistake by endorsing the book without reading it properly and apologise for that. I have contacted Matty and the publishers, Shambhala, to ask that my endorsement be removed from the book.”

    Recently, a second open letter was sent to the publisher from 42 co-signatories at the time of this article’s writing, with more still adding their names, who outlined the group’s grievances and demands for remediation. Among the list of demands are calls for Shambhala Publications to: withdraw the book in its current form from publication; issue a public apology explaining how this deception came to be and why it was defended; release the book under a different title if it is to be re-released; ensure any marketing material related to the book makes clear it is not a translation of any kind; remove the existing subtitle from any version of the book; work with the Library of Congress to ensure the book is catalogued as a work of original poetry; and others.

    Several days after I reached out to Shambhala Publications for a comment for this article, their team directed me to two public letters, both released just before the deadline that Lit Hub’s editors had given them to respond. The first, a public letter from Shambhala Publications president Nikko Odiseos and addressed to signatories of the open letters, states, “Although it was certainly not our intention to mislead readers regarding the nature of this poetic reimagining of the Therigatha, we see that many were, in fact, unclear about this point, and we fully acknowledge our misjudgment in how we presented this author’s work. … We did not present [the book] as we should have, for which we are sorry to both the author and to readers who very reasonably expected something different.”

    The publisher also said that, in consultation with the author, the book will be reissued “clearly and unambiguously as an original work, rather than as a translation.” While failing to provide an explanation on how this situation came about, Odiseos promises that Shambhala “will also be updating the subtitle, cover, descriptive copy, and the Library of Congress information,” and that they have begun reaching out to everyone that provided an endorsement “to give them the opportunity to revisit their endorsements before the new edition comes out.”

    A separate public letter, a general note on the book’s first edition also issued Monday, acknowledges the controversy around the book, noting, “the provenance and classification of the book as an ‘adaptation’ or ‘loose translation’ has become the subject of debate.” This is a soft capitulation, still trying to frame this as a misunderstanding, rather than an explanation as to why the book was clearly and fraudulently marketed as a translation.

    Tradition holds that the teachings are destined to be forgotten in this world, to be rediscovered in a distant time and future by another Buddha, when we are all long forgotten. In an early text, the historical Buddha warns of the teachings’ disappearance, telling us that “when the counterfeit of the true teaching appears in the world then the true teaching disappears.” He adds, hopefully, “The true teaching doesn’t disappear like a ship that sinks all at once,” exhorting to his followers that the appropriate defense against counterfeiters is to diligently maintain their respect and reverence for the teachings and transmission. In this way, the teachings’ fade from the world is slow and gradual. Ultimately, while it is destined to be lost to us, the Therigatha has survived and endured for 2,500 years—it will not be erased today, not by this one act of forgery, not as long as Buddhists, and friends of Buddhists, who respect the teachings take notice and speak out.


    Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated Weingast does not know Pali; however, Weingast claims to be self-taught.
    Ouch. I love Shamballa press and have many of their publications.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #92
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    Happy Science - 幸福の科学 - Kōfuku-no-Kagaku

    Dated, but relevant again.

    The unhappy truth behind Happy Science
    September 2012
    Select Language​▼
    The unhappy truth behind Happy Science

    Happy Science — a fast growing new religious movement — has arrived in Uganda, among many other nations. We are indebted to Rodgers Atwebembeire, a graduate of African Bible University and a researcher for the Africa Centre for Apologetics Research (www.acfar.org) for writing this article.

    On Rubaga Road, near the Hotel Sojovalo, is one of the first African outposts of a Japanese sect that expects to one day rule the world.
    Happy Science entered Uganda in 2008. It has since spread beyond Kampala to Lira, Karuma, Tororo and Entebbe. It has recently been engaged in an aggressive and expensive promotional campaign heralding the appearance of its founder at Namboole Stadium.
    That founder is Ryuho Okawa, a 55-year-old former businessman who was born as Takashi Nakagawa on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s main islands.

    Wealth

    Okawa claims that in 1981 he experienced ‘Buddha enlightenment’, which led him to organize the kofuku no kagaku (‘science of happiness’) in October 1986, to offer ‘salvation for all humankind’. Okawa has gained a wide audience through publishing and films. Today he is one of Japan’s wealthiest men.
    Happy Science is one of the new religions that have sprouted in Japan since World War II. It advertises itself as ‘a universal religion open to people of all religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds’.
    But more than this, Okawa claims to be the most important person in the world today — El Cantare, the literal reincarnation of the original Buddha and ‘supreme God of Earth’. In 1991, the Associated Press quoted Okawa as boasting that ‘I came here as more than the Messiah … This universe, this world, were based on my words and my teachings’.
    Moreover Okawa has claimed, ‘It is I who possess the highest authority on earth. It is I who have all authority from the beginning of the earth until the end. For I am not human, but am the law itself’.
    How did Okawa come to such stunning delusions of grandeur? One reason is that he is a practising occultist — a spirit medium. And like Alice Lakwena, Credonia Mwerinde and Joseph Kony, he confounds and controls his followers by claiming to speak for the dead.
    The Japan Times explains that before founding Happy Science, Okawa ‘wrote books in which he channelled the spirits of Muhammad, Christ, Buddha, and Confucius’, among others.
    Strangely, these long-departed religious leaders and geniuses have, according to Okawa, much the same message: ‘Japan is the world’s greatest power and should ditch its constitution, rearm and lead the world’.
    Indeed, in 1991, the Associated Press described Okawa’s passionate sermon at a giant rally where he declared the Japanese as a ‘chosen people’, who are destined to ‘destroy the United States and the Soviet Union’, making China a ‘slave’ and Korea a ‘prostitute’.

    Fantasies

    But what does all this mean to Christians in Uganda [and elsewhere]? Scripture commands followers of Jesus to ‘test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world’ (1 John 4:1).
    Christians will find the vast doctrine of Happy Science neither happy nor scientific. It’s a bizarre, complex combination of New Age and eastern mysticism, mixed with Okawa’s sci-fi fantasies of lost civilisations and multi-dimensional beings.
    And it conflicts violently with the Bible in almost every major category of belief. Okawa denies the Trinity, the unique deity and incarnation of Jesus Christ, Christ’s atonement for sin and resurrection, and the doctrine of everlasting punishment.
    In his books Okawa shamelessly makes Moses, Peter, Paul, and even Jesus, his spirit puppets to mouth his occultic messages.
    At a time when many are seeking hope, longing for answers and hungry for something ‘new’, Ugandans need to know that Happy Science is a hollow substitute for the good news that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
    Curious churchgoers who are tempted by Okawa’s pride and pageantry should beware lest, ‘as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ’.
    ‘No wonder’, the apostle Paul continues, ‘for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds’ (2 Corinthians 11:3, 14-15).
    Gene Ching
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  3. #93
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    Another slightly OT post

    Shoot. The pix won't display. You'll just have to click the link if you dare...

    Chinese entrepreneur sells pensive Donald Trump Buddha statues
    One buyer says he bought statue of former US president on Taobao as reminder not to be ‘too Trump’


    The Trump Buddha statue for sale on the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao. Photograph: Zzamuyu/Taobao
    Martin Belam
    Wed 10 Mar 2021 07.36 EST

    Donald Trump is not known for his calm and peaceful demeanour, but that hasn’t stopped one entrepreneurial furniture-maker in China from casting a statue of the former US president in a pose more readily associated with the Buddha.

    The Trump Buddha statue, listed on the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao, is priced at 999 Chinese yuan (£110 GBP/$150 USD) for the small version, which measures 1.6 metres tall. A larger version, listed as 4.6 metres tall, is available for 3,999 yuan (£440/$610).

    The statue, with Trump’s hands folded in his laps, thumbs pointing outwards, is a pose from Buddhist art that signifies meditation and contemplation, something the 74-year-old has had more time for since leaving the White House in January for his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.


    The Trump Buddha statue shows Donald Trump in a meditative pose. Photograph: Zamuyu/Taobao
    China’s state-owned Global Times paper first reported on the product and spoke to the seller, based in Xiamen, Fujian province, who is promoting the statue with the slogan “Make your company great again!” The seller said they had already sold “dozens” of the 100 statues manufactured so far.

    One buyer told the Global Times they had bought the statue as a humble reminder not to be “too Trump”.

    Trump – whose name can be rendered in two different spellings in Chinese –特朗普 for Tèlǎngpǔ or 川普 for Chuānpǔ – is a popular source of merchandise on the Taobao website, where users can buy Trump facemasks, models, little statues, hats, socks and more. Taobao, owned by Alibaba, has yearly retail sales said to exceed the combined e-commerce sales of all US companies. By 2016 more than 1bn products were available on the site.

    It’s not the first time the twice-impeached former president of the US has been rendered in a Buddha pose. Novelty gifts of a 3D-printed bright orange Trump Buddha are available on the craft website Etsy, where the seller says: “The Trump Buddha is not intended to stir up anything political. In fact, this Laughing Buddha mashup is simply a reminder that, no matter where we fall in the political spectrum, we could all use a little more laughter and joy in our lives!”
    False Buddha statues are so weird. But then, so are false crucifixions - they just aren't as prevalent.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #94
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    Okay, now he's behaving badly...

    More on Paing here.

    Myanmar: Celebrity model arrested amid coup crackdown
    Published1 day ago

    INSTAGRAM/@PAING_TAKHON
    Paing Takhon with the iconic three finger salute of the protesters
    One of Myanmar's most popular celebrities has been arrested by the military as part of a growing crackdown on artists and actors.

    Paing Takhon, a model and actor with millions of fans in Myanmar and Thailand, had been active in both online protests and in-person rallies.

    Takhon's Instagram - with more than a million followers - has been taken down along with his Facebook account.

    The military seized power in a coup on 1 February, sparking weeks of protests.

    Around 600 civilians have been killed as forces respond to the demonstrations with increasing levels of violence.

    What happened on Thursday?
    According to a Facebook post by Takhon's sister Thi Thi Lwin, around 50 soldiers with eight military trucks came to arrest him at around 05:00 local time (22:30 GMT Wednesday) on Thursday.

    A close acquaintance of his, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC he was taken from his mother's home in North Dagon, a township in Yangon.

    They said that he had been suffering from "serious depression".

    The acquaintance added that Takhon had been suffering from a physical condition, adding that he could not even "stand or walk properly", though no further details were given.

    However, they said he had been "aware of the consequences" that awaited him, adding that he was "not scared at all". Both his mobile phones were taken along with him, they added.

    What had he said about the coup?
    The 24-year-old had previously been seen participating in several demonstrations and marches.

    AFP
    Paing Takhon had been seen joining several recent protests
    He had also posted images of ousted civilian leader and pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

    "We strongly condemn military coup. We demand immediate release of state counseller [sic] Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, civilian government ministers and elected members of perliment [sic]," Mr Takhon is said to have written in an online post which has also been taken down.

    "We demand to respect 2020 election results and form new civillian [sic] government soonest by NLD led perliment [sic]."

    What's the context to all this?
    His detention is the latest in a sweeping crackdown on celebrities in recent days.

    It also comes a day after Myanmar's ambassador to London said a military attaché had taken over the embassy and forced him out.

    It comes after Kyaw Zwar Minn, who has now been removed from his position, called from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be released.

    Arrest warrants for around 100 filmmakers, actors, celebrities and journalists have been issued for speaking out against the coup.

    Earlier this week security forces arrested the country's best-known comedian Zarganar.

    Last week, Myanmar beauty pageant winner Han Lay, spoke out against the coup in a speech at an event held in Thailand.

    Mass protests have been taking place across Myanmar, also known as Burma, since the military seized control on 1 February and declared a year-long state of emergency.

    The armed forces claim there had been widespread fraud during a general election late last year which had returned elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party (NLD) to power.

    Myanmar in profile
    Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history it has been under military rule
    Restrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year
    In 2017, Myanmar's army responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN later called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing"
    Gene Ching
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  5. #95
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    Another slightly OT post

    ...but this one is happening in Fremont, which is where Tiger Claw HQ is.

    Buddhist Temple Takes on Fremont Over Unpermitted Buildings
    By Marianne Favro • Published May 11, 2021 • Updated on May 11, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    The co-founder of a Buddhist temple in the Fremont hills is now threatening to sue the city for religious, gender and racial discrimination. She claims the city is unfairly forcing her to demolish much of her private religious facility. Marianne Favro reports.

    The co-founder of a Buddhist temple in the Fremont hills is now threatening to sue the city for religious, gender and racial discrimination. She claims the city is unfairly forcing her to demolish much of her private religious facility.

    Fremont said the temple's co-founder has been building on her property for years without proper permits.

    "Why are they doing that to me? It's because I am Asian, a religious woman and they don't want a temple here," said Miaolan Lee, temple co-founder.

    Lee owns 29 acres off Mill Creek Road in the Fremont foothills where she co-founded the private Temple of 1001 Buddhas. Her attorney said the city now wants her to demolish her main temple hall - a Hindu God house - and four other structures.

    The city said the requests are due to Lee building without needed permits for years.

    "After an investigation that lasted several months and included multiple inspections with other government agencies, including the state water board and Alameda County Environmental Health, the city determined multiple buildings had been constructed without building permits and in violation of city zoning regulations," the City of Fremont said in a statement.

    Lee's legal team, however, claim their client repeatedly tried to get permits.

    "Our client began permitting in 2011-2014 and has been trying to get permits ever since," said Tal Finney, Lee's attorney. "And the city has been obstructionist about granting permits."

    Attorney Angela Alioto said she has taken the first steps to file a federal civil rights lawsuits against Fremont "because she is an Asian, who is a religious woman building a temple to Buddha -- she is being discriminated against."

    City officials will hold a hearing on May 18 to discuss whether to move forward with the order to demolish the structures.
    Note that I've never been to Temple of 1001 Buddhas. I didn't even know it existed until this. There's a lot in the Fremont foothills that I never explored. I was closer to the Bay side of the city.

    threads
    Buddhists-behaving-badly
    Stop-Asian-Hate
    Gene Ching
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  6. #96
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    Slightly OT

    Buddhist poseurs, not bad Buddhists. I know so many Buddhist poseurs but they don't make the news.

    Chinese influencers who go to Buddhist temples find themselves in crosshairs of online crackdown
    Fouyan perform traditional Buddhist activities while sporting a flashy bag or fancy jewellery
    If they gain enough online attention, the influencers begin to use their accounts as online shops

    Mandy Zuo in Shanghai

    Published: 9:00am, 25 Sep, 2021
    Buddhism influencers often visit temples and perform traditional acts such as praying. Photos: EPA-EFE
    Another category of online influencers has run afoul of Chinese regulators amid the government’s internet clean-up campaign: people who are seen as exploiting Buddhist temples for attention.
    The influencers, who do not appear to be monks, typically share social media posts showing them performing “Buddhist activities”, such as praying, meditating or practising calligraphy in temples.

    Buddhist temples have become a trendy place for influencers to try and gain attention. Photo: SCMP
    They are often women dressed to the nines and flashing expensive handbags.
    Some simply walk into a Buddhist temple and do nothing, but feature a jade bracelet or an Hermes bag in the photos.
    After gaining enough online attention, they start selling clothes, jewellery, cosmetics and other consumer items via their social media accounts.
    Several major social media platforms have banned such users, known as foyuan in Chinese, after official media criticised the trend, saying it exploited the temples to gain fame and make money.
    Douyin, China’s TikTok, said on Thursday that it had punished 48 foyuan accounts and banned seven of them permanently. A search for the word on Kuaishou, another live streaming platform, yielded no results on Friday.
    Xiaohongshu, a lifestyle sharing app, deleted 70 posts and banned three accounts.
    The bubbles of a false image will finally burst.
    A warning on Kuaishou against Buddhism influencers
    All three platforms mentioned similar warnings against using temples as a marketing tactic.
    “The bubbles of a false image will finally burst. There’s no long-term business by marketing this way. Please be your true self,” a warning on Kuaishou read.
    Chinese state media pulled no punches in its criticism.
    “It is truly sinful that a group of ladies who seem to stand aloof from worldly success, but in fact are full of material desires, sneak into these supposedly quiet temples,” the Workers’ Daily wrote in a commentary on Tuesday.

    Chinese official media criticised people who take advantage of temples to make money. Photo: SCMP
    State broadcaster CCTV ran an article on its website saying the influencers have “greed that is like a valley that can never be filled”.
    In recent months, Beijing has launched a crackdown on the internet to regulate its unruly fan groups, badly behaving celebrities and influencers with “low taste” or “bad moral values”.
    The National Radio and Television Administration issued a directive this month that said the entertainment industry should resist the temptation to show off wealth, spread hedonism and gossip about others’ personal business.

    Mandy Zuo
    Mandy Zuo joined the Post in 2010 and reports on China. She has covered a wide range of subjects including policy, rural issues, culture and society. She worked in Beijing before relocating to Shanghai in 2014.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #97
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    Busted but perhaps for a good cause?

    More on Paing above

    Most handsome face in 2021 belongs to Myanmar actor turned political prisoner Paing Takhon
    Published December 29, 2021 2:11pm

    Photo: Paing Takhon/Instagram
    Paing Takhon, Myanmar actor turned political prisoner, has been named the "most handsome face in 2021."

    According to TC Candler's coveted annual "100 Most Handsome Faces" list released Tuesday, he bested 130,000 celebrities from 45 different countries.

    "Free this man," the organization urged. "Free Paing Takhon, political prisoner of Myanmar."

    Paing Takhon was arrested by around 50 soldiers in April and sentenced to three years in prison for taking part in mass protests against the military coup that rocked Myanmar, according to a BBC report.

    Prior to his imprisonment, the actor, model, and singer joined marches and was vocal in condemning the coup and the government.

    "We strongly condemn military coup. We demand immediate release of state counseller [sic] Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, civilian government ministers and elected members of perliment [sic]," Takhon was said to have written in an online post.

    "We demand to respect 2020 election results and form new civillian [sic] government soonest by NLD led perliment [sic]."

    Myanmar's military seized power in February following a general election where Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party won by a landslide. Claiming election fraud, the military declared a year-long state of emergency.

    Faced with massive protests, the military has implemented a bloody crackdown, with thousands of lives lost and thousands more imprisoned. – Kaela Malig/RC, GMA News
    Gene Ching
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  8. #98
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    Phra Kato

    Sex scandal monk may be victim, say police
    PUBLISHED : 10 MAY 2022 AT 17:35
    WRITER: WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM

    Pongsakorn Chankaew, 23, better known as Phra Kato (Photo from his Facebook account)
    Central police have taken over the investigation into alleged embezzlement by a former monk who engaged in sexual misconduct with a woman while ordained in Nakhon Si Thammarat province.

    The ex-monk may himself be a victim, according to a police commander.

    Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat Pankaew, commander of the Anti-Corruption Division, said on Tuesday the Anti-Corruption Division and the Crime Suppression Division would jointly handle the embezzlement case.

    The central police units were looking into information related to the sex scandal involving Pongsakorn Chankaew, 23, who was previously known as Phra Kato. He was reportedly the acting abbot of Wat Pen Yat in Chawang district of Nakhon Si Thammarat, and during that time had a sexual relationship with a 37-year-old woman.

    Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat said police recently found that after the former abbot of Wat Pen Yat died, no one was appointed as acting abbot.

    The commander said Phra Racha Worayan, abbot of Wat Buppharam Worawihan in Bangkok, filed an embezzlement complaint against Phra Kato. The abbot was a relative of the late abbot of Wat Pen Yat. The complaint concerned Phra Kato's withdrawal of money from Wat Pen Yat, allegedly to cover up his sex scandal.

    Police officially summonsed Phra Kato to answer interrogators' questions.

    "The former Phra Kato kept many secrets... If Phra Kato is listening, please come and give information right away to protect the religion and finish the case soon. Phra Kato may be a victim in the case," Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat said.

    The commander said his subordinates had collected information about several financial transactions in Nakhon Si Thammarat and found useful facts about criminal offences related to the case.

    Phra Kato left the monkhood on April 30 following the leak of an audio recording of a conversation concerning a secret sexual relationship between him and the older woman. The leak led to reports that the monk had on several occasions had sex with the woman in a car on the crest of Kathoon dam in Phiphun district of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

    Phra Kato admitted to his misconduct over the previous three months and to giving about 300,000 baht to the woman to end their controversial relationship after she made repeated demands for money.

    There were also reports that he paid another 300,000 baht to a reporter to keep quiet about the affair, but the money never reached the reporter.

    Mr Pongsakorn entered the monkhood in 2017 and had many followers, attracted by his entertaining way of teaching Buddhism over social media.
    Thai monks...
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  9. #99
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    Meth monks...


    Every monk in Thai temple defrocked after testing positive for meth

    NOVEMBER 29, 2022 / 11:03 AM / CBS/AFP


    A Buddhist temple in central Thailand has been left without monks after all of its holy men failed drug tests and were defrocked, a local official said Tuesday.

    Four monks, including an abbot, at a temple in Phetchabun province's Bung Sam Phan district tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday, district official Boonlert Thintapthai told AFP.

    The monks have been sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation, the official said.

    "The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making," he said. Merit-making involves worshippers donating food to monks as a good deed.

    Boonlert said more monks will be sent to the temple to allow villagers to practice their religious obligations.

    Thailand is a major transit country for methamphetamine flooding in from Myanmar's troubled Shan state via Laos, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

    On the street, meth pills, called Yaba, sell for less than 20 baht (around $0.50).

    "Meth and particularly Yaba can be easily found in every corner of [Thailand] — supply is up everywhere, and at this point a tablet is cheaper than a beer," UNODC's Jeremy Douglas told Thai Inquirer.

    Authorities across Southeast Asia and around the globe have made record meth seizures in recent months.

    Last month, Hong Kong reportedly made its biggest ever seizure of meth, finding 1.8 metric tons of liquid meth hidden in cartons of coconut water en route for Australia.

    In August, authorities found 2 tons of meth hidden in marble tiles shipped from the Middle East to Sydney in what police describe as the largest-ever seizure of the illicit drug in Australia.

    Also in August, Mexican soldiers seized almost 1.5 tons of meth and 328 pounds of apparent powdered fentanyl at a checkpoint in the northern state of Sonora.

    In July, more than 5,000 pounds of meth was found in a record-breaking seizure in Southern California.
    Having visited Thailand and spent some time in Thai Wats, I get it...
    Gene Ching
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  10. #100
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    Phra Thanakorn

    Thai Buddhist monk claims whiskey helps prevent COVID-19 after being busted for DUI
    A Buddhist monk in Thailand claimed that rice whiskey with lemon prevents Covid-19 after police caught him driving a pickup truck while intoxicated.

    Ryan General

    July 22, 2022



    Phra Thanakorn, 63, is a Buddhist monk from Thailand’s Mueang Loej district who recently got caught driving intoxicated by local police.

    The police officers said they received a report of a monk "causing mayhem" by driving around drunk and asking people for money in the market area.

    When questioned by authorities, Thanakorn admitted to being drunk but said he drank rice whiskey mixed with lemon because he believes it helps prevent COVID-19.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous.”

    Thanakorn is set to be kicked out of monkhood for breaking several monastic rules, such as leaving the temple grounds during the rain retreat, asking for money, getting intoxicated and drunk driving.

    A Buddhist monk in Thailand claimed that rice whiskey with lemon prevents COVID-19 after police caught him driving a pickup truck while intoxicated.

    According to local authorities, they received a report that a monk had been “causing mayhem” by driving around and asking people for money in the market area of Thailand’s Mueang Loej district on Wednesday.

    At around 9:30 a.m., officers from the Loei Provincial Police Station found 63-year-old Buddhist monk Phra Thanakorn drunk while sitting inside a bronze-colored pickup truck parked outside the market. The vehicle had the name of a Buddhist temple emblazoned on its door.

    Thanakorn, whose surname was withheld in local reports, was identified as a Buddhist monk from a local temple.

    Upon questioning, Thanakorn admitted that he was drunk, saying that he did two shots of “40 Degrees” rice whiskey mixed with lemons before driving because he believed it helps prevent COVID-19.

    On its website, the World Health Organization called such a belief a myth, warning the public that, “Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous. The harmful use of alcohol increases your risk of health problems.”

    When the police asked him to exit the vehicle, the monk reportedly staggered and tried to talk but was “speaking nonsense.” He also did not have his ID card when the officers asked for it.

    The police confirmed that he was indeed under the influence of alcohol after they breathalyzed him at the police station.

    Thanakorn explained to the officers that he was observing the Buddhist retreat “Pansa” in the Na Din Dam subdistrict, which involves monks staying on temple grounds for three months.

    The monk said that he and two other monks left the temple that morning to seek alms at the market. The other monks with him had already left, leaving Thanakorn to drive by himself as their usual driver had been in an accident.

    Thanakorn’s stunt makes several offenses to monastic rules, including leaving the temple grounds during the rain retreat, asking for money, getting intoxicated and drunk driving.

    Leoi’s Provincial Office of Buddhism will reportedly ask Thanakorn to leave monkhood for good due to his misdemeanors.




    Featured Image via Thairath Online
    Buddhists-behaving-badly
    Coronavirus-(COVID-19)-Wuhan-Pneumonia
    Let-s-talk-Whisky!
    Gene Ching
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  11. #101
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    Dalai Lama

    Dalai Lama apologizes after video asking child to ‘suck’ his tongue sparks outcry

    Rhea Mogul
    By Manveena Suri, Rhea Mogul and Tenzin Dharpo, CNN
    Updated 9:58 AM EDT, Mon April 10, 2023

    Dalai Lama apologizes for video of him kissing boy
    03:05 - Source: CNN
    New Delhi and Dharamshala, India
    CNN

    The Dalai Lama has apologized after a video emerged showing the spiritual leader kissing a child on the lips and then asking him to “suck my tongue” at an event in northern India.

    In a statement Monday, the office for the Dalai Lama said he “wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused,” adding he “regrets” the incident.

    “His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras,” the statement said.

    His apology comes after a video of the exchange, which took place during an event in the hillside city of Dharamshala in February, went viral on social media with many users criticizing the Dalai Lama’s actions.

    In the video, the young boy can be seen approaching the Nobel Peace Prize winner before asking, “Can I hug you?”

    The 87-year-old spiritual leader then invites the boy on stage and points to his cheek and says, “first here,” prompting the boy to give him a hug and a kiss.

    The Dalai Lama then points to his lips, and says: “then I think finally here also.” He then pulls the boy’s chin and kisses him on the mouth.

    “And suck my tongue,” he says after a few seconds, poking his tongue out.

    The identity of the boy is not known. He was at an event with the M3M Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Indian real estate company M3M Group, based in Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama lives in permanent exile. CNN has reached out to the M3M Foundation for comment.

    In response to the incident, prominent Delhi-based child rights group, Haq: Center for Child Rights, told CNN in a statement it condemns “all form of child abuse.”

    It added: “Some news refers to Tibetan culture about showing tongue, but this video is certainly not about any cultural expression and even if it is, such cultural expressions are not acceptable.”

    The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the best-known living Buddhist figure in the world.

    The principal spiritual leader of the “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is revered by millions as the reincarnation of his 13 predecessors.

    The spiritual leader has been based in India since 1959, following an unsuccessful Tibetan uprising against Chinese occupation forces. He later established a government-in-exile in the northern Indian city of Dharamshala, leading thousands of Tibetans who followed him there.

    February’s incident isn’t the first time the octogenarian has sparked controversy in recent years.

    He apologized after a 2019 interview with the BBC, during which he said if a female Dalai Lama should succeed him, she “should be more attractive.”

    The previous year, he suggested Europe should be kept for Europeans, when speaking about the rising level of African refugees entering the continent.

    “The whole Europe (will) eventually become Muslim country? Impossible. Or African country? Also impossible,” he said, adding that it’s better to “keep Europe for Europeans.”
    What the heck? Oh man...
    Gene Ching
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  12. #102
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    Interesting

    I've been wondering about this. It seemed like a cultural translation issue.

    Tibetans Explain What ‘Suck My Tongue’ Means. It’s Not What You Think.
    “It seems that many people, forced into an environment of e-connections, have completely forgotten what human connection means.”

    By Pallavi Pundir
    JAKARTA, ID
    April 14, 2023, 5:42am


    OLD INTERVIEWS OF THE DALAI LAMA QUOTES HIM AS SAYING THAT HE STARTED LEARNING ENGLISH AT THE AGE OF 48, AND THAT HIS BROKEN ENGLISH OFTEN LEADS TO HUMOROUS MOMENTS. PHOTO: BORIS ROESSLER/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES
    The viral video showing the Dalai Lama asking a kid to “suck” his tongue—and the subsequent public outrage—has led to hundreds of Tibetans to come out and tell the world: It’s not what it sounds like.

    Over the weekend, an edited video of a Feb. 28 interaction between the 87-year-old spiritual leader and an Indian boy went viral, leaving many of the 6.7 million Tibetans across the world in distress and shock over the way their language and culture were misinterpreted.

    In the video, the boy is seen asking the Dalai Lama for a hug, following which the leader blessed him, asked him to kiss him and stuck out his tongue saying, “Suck my tongue.” People across the world are blaming the Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader for behaving inappropriately, and even being a paedophile.

    Tibetans told VICE World News that the meaning of this common expression used to tease and teach children is completely lost in cultural interpretation and its English translation. The correct phrase in Tibetan for this joke is “Che le sa”, which roughly translates to “Eat my tongue.” English is the Dalai Lama’s second language and Indian news outlets have previously reported that the leader speaks in broken English at public events.

    In 2000, the Dalai Lama was quoted by The Indian Express as saying that he started to learn English at the age of 48. “Broken English helps me communicate better and creates laughter when I make mistakes,” he is quoted as saying.

    In a Youtube video, Jigme Ugen, a second-generation Tibetan refugee living in the U.S., explains how this display of affection was born out of a game played between the Tibetan elderly and children. Kids who go up to their grandfather, for instance, are asked to kiss their grandfather’s forehead, touch their noses and kiss them.

    “Then [the grandfather] says that I’ve given you everything so the only thing left is for you to eat my tongue,” Ugen said. “The child probably never gets the candy or money but gets a beautiful lesson about life, love and family.”

    “It seems that many people in these turbulent times being forced into an environment where we’re meeting people virtually and making e-connections, have completely forgotten what human connection means,” Ugen added in the video.

    Tsering Kyi, a U.S.-based Tibetan journalist, told VICE World News that in Tibetan culture sticking out the tongue is a “sign of respect or agreement” which goes back to the legend around a cruel 9th century king, Lang Dharma, who had a black tongue.

    “Since then, people have shown their tongue as a way of saying that they are not like Lang Dharma,” she said.

    “It’s a sign of blessing,” she added. “When a kid wants to hug an elderly man, the old man complies, and then gives a kiss as a grandfather or a father would, and plays with the kid.”

    Kaysang, who goes by one name and is a Tibetan feminist educator in India, told VICE World News that “suck my tongue” in Tibetan is also a game for the elders to deter cheeky kids from pestering them.

    “The word ‘suck’ in the Tibetan language is ‘jhip’, and this is not a word that is sexualised in our culture,” she said.

    Kaysang works on the prevention of child sexual abuse in the Tibetan and Himalayan communities and said that it’s “distressing” to see an innocent expression in their culture being equated with act of pedophilia.

    The Dalai Lama retired as the political head of his exiled government in 2011 but remains the spiritual leader for 6.7 million Tibetans worldwide and a symbol of their struggle. His work spanning several decades involves drawing global support for the linguistic and cultural autonomy of his remote, mountainous homeland, which was annexed by China in 1951. In 1989, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    “He’s the only reason that the world has given our struggle any weight,” Kaysang said. “Without him, all these mindfulness and meditation apps and Tibetan Buddhist culture being commodified and sold wouldn’t exist.”

    “This is not just a religious guru we‘re protecting. He’s the reason for our very existence that we so desperately want the world to see through our eyes.”

    VICE World News did not get a response from the child’s family, who run the M3M Foundation that organised the Feb. 28 meet-and-greet in Dharamshala, the Indian city that is the seat of the Dalai Lama’s government in exile. But in an interview clip released by Voice of Tibet, a Dharamshala-based media outlet that live streamed the event too, when the reporter asks the boy how it feels to be hugged by the Dalai Lama, he said it was an “amazing” experience meeting the Dalai Lama and that he experienced “high positive energy” from the interaction.

    Shenpenn Khymsar, a Tibetan filmmaker and music composer, told VICE World News that there are immense geopolitical repercussions of the misinterpretation of that video.

    “Everybody knows China is behind this,” he said, without giving any evidence that China was involved.

    At a press conference on Thursday in Delhi, Penpa Tsering, a political leader of the exiled Tibetan government, said their investigations showed “pro-Chinese sources” being involved in making the video go viral. “The political angle of this incident cannot be ignored,” he said.

    Tibetan human rights groups have previously documented online campaigns aiming to discredit the Dalai Lama and paint occupied Tibet as a “contented and idyllic Chinese province.”

    The most prominent campaign is called the 50 Cent Party, internet commentators who are paid “wu mao,” or 50 U.S. cents, by Chinese authorities to post pro-China messaging. In 2020, this army was linked to 7,000 troll attacks and over 50,000 comments at a Geneva forum run by the Tibetan parliament-in-exile. The session was on the persecution of religious minorities—Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, Christians and Falun Gong practitioners—in regions under Chinese control.

    In his YouTube video, Ugen linked the virality to a significant development last month where the Dalai Lama named a Mongolia-born American boy as the third highest spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism. China has consistently asserted its role in choosing the next Dalai Lama, and to have this position enshrined in Chinese law.

    “The ceremony shook them to speculate that the now-retired Dalai Lama still continues to remain a political religious force to reckon with across Buddhist nations including Tibet,” said Ugen. “The video surfaced literally a week after this ceremony. The timing was, once again, like clockwork to sway the public’s opinion about Tibet and His Holiness.”

    Ugen said that the “horrifying” accusations by trolls, media and influencers are “clearly led and paid” for by China.

    “[China] has successfully weaponized social media at an unprecedented scale,” he said. “The most successful propaganda is the one that doesn’t pose as such.”
    Gene Ching
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  13. #103
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    Buddhist 'OK'

    Man Steals Cash From China Temple, Says Buddha Statue Gave Him ‘OK’ Sign

    LATEST NEWS
    He has been sentenced to 12 days of administrative detention.

    By Amanda Yeap - 16 Jul 2023, 4:48 pm

    Man Steals Cash From China Temple After Praying To Buddha

    Let this be known: a crime is a crime.

    The law governs the human realm, and we should never commit a crime, especially not in the name of a religious deity like Buddha.

    This common sense seemed to have eluded one man in China.

    He decided to steal cash from a temple after praying to Buddha, thinking that his actions were condoned.

    Man caught acting suspiciously after looking at donation box many times

    According to Jimu News, police officers in the Jiangxi province of China caught the man for stealing from a temple’s donation box.


    Source: Yiyang Public Security via Jimu News
    On 8 July, they received reports from the public about repeated theft occurrences at Shuangyan Temple in Yiyang City and launched an investigation.

    After rushing to the scene, the police found a man in a black and red T-shirt who had frequented the Earth deity temple on the premises in recent days.

    He often looked at the donation box and showed suspicious behaviour.

    Man steals temple money after telling Buddha he would return it

    Further probing brought the officers to the house of a man called Ye Mou, a nearby villager.

    Upon questioning, Ye admitted that he only “borrowed” the money after praying to Buddha.

    Before being arrested, he maintained that Buddha gave him an ‘OK’ sign to take the money as he said he would return it.

    Based on the report, it is believed that he was referring to this gesture.


    Source: Yiyang Public Security Online via Jimu News
    For his actions, Ye was given 12 days of administrative detention for stealing other people’s property.

    Started facing financial constraints in June

    Jimu News also reported that Ye would wash his clothes at the ponds around the temple on weekdays.

    Over time, he observed that the donations box was usually unattended and unlocked.

    When he started experiencing financial constraints at the start of June, he took some money from the box when no one was around.

    Since nobody called the police then, he returned to take more money from the box whenever he had time.
    Slight OT.
    I can't even...
    Gene Ching
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  14. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Slight OT.
    I can't even...
    That guy would have made a fortune at the Garden of a 1000 Buddhas in the Montana wilderness. There are literally over 1000 Buddhas forming a giant Mandala that can been seen from space. I actually found it by accident when looking for roads with Google Maps. There's maybe a visitor every few hours and the money placed on the statues must accumulate for weeks at a time. Cannot imagine what sort of karma one would get if they took any of it...

  15. #105
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    Venerable Jaseung

    Late South Korean Buddhist monk’s alleged misdeeds back in spotlight after shocking death
    Venerable Jaseung’s death through self-immolation came at the peak of his popularity
    The influential monk’s passing has brought renewed attention to allegations of corruption and misconduct
    South Korea

    Park Chan-kyong
    Published: 7:09pm, 1 Dec, 2023



    The death of an influential South Korean Buddhist monk by apparent suicide through self-immolation has cast the spotlight back on allegations of corruption and misconduct that have plagued him for years.

    The 69-year-old Venerable Jaseung’s charred remains were discovered on Thursday among the burned ruins of a temple dormitory, at Chiljang Buddhist Temple in Anseong city, around 80km south of Seoul.

    News of the religious leader’s passing made headlines across South Korea, because Jaseung appeared to have taken his life at the peak of his popularity.


    Police officers and firefighters examine the site of a fire at a dormitory for Buddhist monks inside Chiljang Temple in Anseong, South Korea, on Thursday. Photo: EPA-EFE/Yonhap

    Forensic analysis confirmed the recovered remains belonged to Jaseung, who, for many years, held considerable influence within South Korea’s predominant Buddhist sect, the Jogye Order.

    “I’m sorry for causing a lot of trouble by ending my life here … This building will be restored by my disciples. I’m both sorry and grateful,” read a note, apparently handwritten by the monk, that was left in his car parked nearby.

    In his farewell message to Buddhists, Jaseung left a Zen-style Nirvana chant that read: “There exists neither life nor death, but there is no place without life and death either. As nothing is left to pursue further, my existence in this world disappears accordingly.”

    Surveillance footage reportedly showed Jaseung carrying two plastic containers filled with combustible liquid into the dorm before a blaze whipped through the single floor structure late on Wednesday.

    “Venerable Jaseung has awakened all Buddhists with his self-immolation, praying for the stability of the Jogye Order and the salvation of the world through the propagation of the Dharma,” Venerable Wubong, the Jogye Order spokesman, told journalists.

    Jaseung had been concerned about the status and role of Buddhism. He had a strong will to solve the problems facing the order, such as the declining population
    Venerable Jugyeong

    The Jogye Order said it would hold a five-day funeral led by its current leader, Venerable Jinwoo, at Jogye Temple situated in downtown Seoul. A funeral ceremony will take place on Sunday morning.

    His death has puzzled many, as he expressed a strong will to help spread Buddhism among young people in the future.

    “Jaseung had been concerned about the status and role of Buddhism. He had a strong will to solve the problems facing the order, such as the declining population,” Venerable Jugyeong, head of the order’s legislative organisation, told Yonhap news agency.

    Jaseung became a Buddhist monk at age 19 and served two terms as the head of the Jogye Order’s administrative headquarters from 2009-2017, a powerful post with authority to appoint and dismiss abbots at some 3,000 temples nationwide. The position also allowed him to control the financial affairs of the Order and temples.

    Buddhist monks and nuns during an ordination ceremony at Jogye Temple in Seoul. Photo: YNA/DPA
    The quadrennial election for the post, popularly known as president of Buddhists, which controls both power and money, has been marred by allegations of vote buying and violence in the past.

    Jaseung was credited with unifying the country’s strife-ridden Jogye Order under his leadership.

    He introduced a rule that would see the Order receive the private assets of a monk following their death. He also increased retired monks’ pension funds and helped spread Korean Buddhism abroad.

    But his critics pointed to his apparent hunger for power, accusing him of continuing to wield influence by appointing his followers to key posts even after concluding two consecutive terms as the president – an uncommon occurrence within Buddhist history that dates back centuries.


    Buddhist monks place flowers at an altar for Venerable Jaseung. Photo: EPA-EFE

    His eight-year leadership of the sect was also marred by numerous allegations.

    In 2018, MBC TV’s investigative news programme, PD Notebook, claimed Jaseung and 15 other senior monks were involved in habitual gambling, and a whistle-blower – a monk named Jangju – was beaten by other monks. A few other senior monks were also accused of secretly keeping wives in breach of celibacy.

    Jaseung also allegedly helped arrange a massive monks’ rally last year to protest against the former liberal government’s move to restrict the Order’s right to collect fees from hikers who pass by Buddhist temples located on hills and mountains.

    The rally took place only two months before the tightly contested 2022 presidential election, which was won by a razor-thin margin by conservative Yoon Suk-yeol. Since then, he has allegedly remained close to Yoon.


    Buddhism was for centuries prominent in South Korea before the country was open to Western influences in the late 19th century, including successful proselytising by Christian missionaries.

    A 2021 Gallup Poll showed among the country’s 51.2 million people, Buddhists accounted for 16 per cent of the population, down from 22 per cent in 2014.

    Protestants fell to 17 per cent from 21 per cent and Catholics edged down to six per cent from seven per cent during the same period, with non-believers growing from 47 per cent to 60 per cent in the cited period.

    If you are having suicidal thoughts, or you know someone who is, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page.

    CONVERSATIONS
    Park Chan-kyong

    Park Chan-kyong is a journalist covering South Korean affairs for the South China Morning Post. He previously worked at the Agence France-Presse's Seoul bureau for 35 years. He studied political science at Korea University and economics at the Yonsei University Graduate School.
    Seems like a hectic tale...
    Gene Ching
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