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Thread: Buddhists behaving badly

  1. #91
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    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
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #92
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    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 ( 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.


    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’.


    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
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #93
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    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
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #94
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Okay, now he's behaving badly...

    More on Paing here.

    Myanmar: Celebrity model arrested amid coup crackdown
    Published1 day ago

    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.

    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
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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