Every once in a while, a Buddhist temple is vandalized. Property is stolen, statues are defaced. When these stories make it into the daily news, they are picked up off the news feed and broadcast to the larger Buddhist community by high-bandwidth bloggers like Barbara O’Brien and Rev. Danny Fisher. A week passes, and for the vast Buddhist readership out there, it’s as though the event never occurred.I collected a few of these incidents from 2010 and saved them into Google Maps. There are reports of attacks on centers in Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota and Ontario. (I only looked at North America.) Spread across America’s “Mideast,” these are surely not the only violent incidents over the past year. They are just those that turned up in my news feed.
If I had the abundance of spare time that I do on my vacation, I would probably connect with each of these temples, hear their stories first-hand, do some follow up investigation and report on it. Aside from wanting to bring greater definition to the incident’s human face, I’d want to know what the best way to help is. Every center has its own unique character, its own unique set of challenges to overcome.
This little map is just one step in that direction. As a resource, it doesn’t take much effort to maintain. All this information is already available in the public domain. Hopefully, someone might make use of it to reach out and provide local support. This map also serves to track events and trends that are quickly forgotten in our attention-deficit blogosphere.
Please drop a comment if you know of a (documented) recent incident you think should be added.