I was glad to see that Tricycle pulled together a collection of responses by Buddhist teachers to the Newtown tragedy, but I was disappointed to see that not a single one of those teachers was Asian. Not only are the vast majority of Buddhist Amerians also Asian American, American temples with monks, nuns or priests of Asian heritage also play a role in communities with parents and children. There were invariably conversations within these communities where Asian American Buddhists discussed what all this meant and how to deal with this tragedy from a Buddhist context. But those perspectives will never be shared with us through the pages of Tricycle, Shambhala Sun or Buddhadharmamagazines. If you’re curious to know what Asian American Buddhist teachers have said, you could visit the Taste of Chicago Buddhism blog for at least one perspective.
Update: Another relevant article to read is Ven. Losang Tendrol’s essay on the shootings in the Washington Post online.
More news on the Chittagong Hill Tracts, via AFP.
Bangladesh has invited some of the world’s leading state-owned gas giants to help explore its insurgency-hit southeastern hill tracts region, an official said Tuesday. The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region makes up one-tenth of the South Asian country’s landmass but has been largely left unexplored due to a decades-long insurgency involving mainly Buddhist tribal groups. […] Despite the formal treaty and the withdrawal of most troops last year, low-intensity unrest has continued as tribal groups demand key clauses of the deal be implemented, including dismantling settlers’ villages and army camps.
Bangladesh’s Chittagong division is home to a large number of Buddhists, including the meditation masters Dipa Ma and Anagarika Munindra. These teachers in particular had a profound impact on Buddhism both in the West and elsewhere in Asia far beyond their native Chittagong. The Buddhists of Bangladesh, however, have no Dalai Lama or Aung San Suu Kyi to direct the world’s attention to their plight. They pursue their quest for liberty and justice largely in the shadow of the world’s attention.
I don’t do as much as I could to promote the rights and concerns of Buddhists in Bangladesh, but here are some related posts that I’ve written: