The Global Digest


Celebrate `Ghar Wapsi` with Christmas but do not Swap Religion

Special Contribution
By Rakesh Manchanda

The early stone age- `caveman`

Modi team must stop attacking their own home and stop copying Pakistan habits. Instead of fighting poverty as pre-election promise, Modi team is now fighting for re-conversions by using bribes. What is common on 25th.December celebrations. It is Christmas and birthday of Ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpee. Pakistan proudly puts it as holiday not because of Christmas but because of Birthday of Mohammed Jinnah. Schools for all by 2015 as `internationally committed` by several world leaders including our Hon.PM his team wants children to attend school on Christmas Day and write an essay on Good Governance Day. When you wish to stop the children (of all religions) enjoying the Christmas Holiday and find Santa Claus in the street or on Television distributing happiness and gifts to children then how can you motive a young mind to write essay on Good Governance day on 25th. Dec.-2014.

`Home Sweet Home` remains the evergreen shelter for ages. Why is PM-Modi team setting itself up as a role model? `Ghar Wapsi` must begin with first converting and swapping the BJP Muslim ministers in their own home? This is a classic divisions of people and an example of clever governance. Poor Muslims are pitted against the rich. Rich Muslims as shown in the image are spared by Modi Team. Need for a home motivated our ancestors to keep the `development batteries` charged. From the early stone age- `caveman` to today’s `spaceman`, we all cherish the role of home. Even the Indian workers overseas try to negotiate advance in salary or loans to buy toys and chocolates for children back home. The buzz word is Home Coming is a celebration for better living for all. The better and more skilful the Indian or the Global citizens the more share he/she is likely to get.

Where are Aache Din for `Hindu` workers PM-Modi ? Religion alone cannot motivate followers to get better jobs and profit. Collective motivation is a very personal process and must come from the individual jobs and individual skills based on peer pressure, good governance and use of modern minds. Home coming with proper jobs for poor and with unequal wealth distribution is unfair. Unequal rules and double standards will be difficult to withdraw. Let us see how ? A sad struggling `Hindu` house painter in UP tells me why he should not get Rs.5 lac reward while a Muslim painter can easily get by getting converted to become a Hindu. Sample a Muslim Taxi driver from Dehradun who wants to settle and shift in Delhi for better opportunity says Rs.5 Lac deal is nothing and shall not fetch him a home or help buy a room in Delhi. A Parsi Indian writer Bachi Karkaria in her satire that appeared recently in Times of India demands why Parsi and others are left out in this `paid deal` of conversions. Paid jobs helps people get out of hopelessness with an opportunity. A minority commission team as per Times of India who visited Madu Nagar slum in Agra where 57 Muslim families are converted in Dec-2014 to Hindus puts the event as cheating the poor by false petty promises of BPL cards and Ration cards.

BJP appears committed to using bribes to lure conversions rather than fighting for jobs, providing schools for all and removing poverty. A home builds security and hope and never loses its value. Security ensures a peaceful, dignified environment to survive, to work and contribute. Survival, growth and the legacy of tradition cannot be understood without sharing. Sharing, Home Coming or getting connected by social media cannot be freely understood, unless seen together as a natural part of the common tradition with a respectable job or an opportunity for human survival. Indians need to celebrate an honest Home Coming. Modi team should immediately stop their `Ghar Wapse`-Home coming Programme for the betterment of all. (About Author : Has worked in India and several countries as Director Executive and is now monitoring the historical people movement for a Swaraj.) Written in Public Interest : Rakesh Manchanda,B-5,Gharonda Apartments, Shrestha Vihar,Delhi-92. Phone:011-22145369,+91-9953540829,

International Human Rights Day – 2014

At a session of the United Nations on Dec 10, 1948, UDHR was adopted

On the eve of the 64th International Human Rights, one is baffled by the sheer magnitude of human rights violations in India and in the world at large. It is very disconcerting to note that the State which is under covenantal obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights of its citizens has failed them. What is comforting, however, is the fact that there is growing awareness among the people of their rights. Hence, one sees massive protests and demonstrations by people in defence of their rights.

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day this year, the Office for Justice, Peace and Development, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (OJPD-CBCI) wishes to compassionately delve into the human rights situation in India, and, at the same time, to urge those who act on behalf of the State to urgently remedy the situation.

The most distressing is the situation of the religious minorities whose right to religious freedom is ruthlessly rubbished and trampled upon by the militant majoritarian groups that apparently enjoy utmost impunity in the new political ambience following the general elections this year. These militant groups not only take the law into their own hands, and violently assault and intimidate the minority religious groups but also challenge the local / district administration that honestly attempt to maintain rule of law. The incidents in Trilokpuri and Bawana in Delhi, Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, Kundupur in Karnataka and Bastar in Chhattisgarh are only the tip of the iceberg. Unless restrained, these footloose majoritarian groups that have little regard for constitutional norms can become a national menace and imperil human rights.

Equally disconcerting is the situation of the tribals whose rights are not respected in the name of ‘development’ in order to placate the profit-hungry corporates. Hundreds of MoUs signed between the state governments and the companies only result in the displacement of millions of Adivasis in the central India. Their struggles for jal, jangal, jamin are heartlessly repressed. And, the bloody repression is ‘justified’ by powers that be by merely branding the Adivasis as Maoists/Naxalites. The situation of dalits leaves much to be desired. They have been unscrupulously subjected to violence and riots. This being the reality, Article 17 of the Constitution of India states: “Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. Indisputably, the most discriminated among the dalits are the Christian and Muslim dalits who, unlike the Hindu dalits, have been denied the Scheduled Caste status and, hence, their right to affirmative action.

The other vulnerable groups that merit special attention are women and children in India. According to India's National Crime Bureau, 92 women are raped in India every day. Another recent survey reveals that 91 percent of women and girls in India face sexual harassment in their lifetime. On the other hand, the Child rights activist Mr Satyarthi, who is one of the two recipients of this year’s Nobel peace prize, laments that not enough is being done to protect children from servitude.

There are two groups of people in India whose three-decade-long quest for justice remains unfulfilled: the survivors of the 1-3 November 1984 anti-Sikh riots that left about 7,000 Sikhs dead; and, the survivors of the 2-3 December 1984 Bhopal gas-leak disaster that killed more than 3,000 people instantly and thousands more over the years. Against this backdrop, one can rightly appreciate the pertinence and significance of the announcement by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that the theme for Human Rights Day this year is: Human Rights 365. The theme encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. The theme also celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights.

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, the CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development underscores the need for inculcating rights-respecting codes of conduct among people everywhere and endorses as well as echoes the following message of Pope Francis:“The Church renews today her strong appeal for the protection of the dignity and centrality of every person, respecting his fundamental rights, as her Social Doctrine stresses, rights that she requests be really extended where they are not recognized to millions of men and women in every Continent.” (Pope Francis’ Address to Pontifical Council for Migrants, Vatican City, on 24 May 2013). OJPD-CBCI calls on government authorities to honour their obligation to protect human rights everyday of the year and also urges all, especially the people of good will, to seek out more meaningful roles where they can make a difference in their attempt to respect, protect and promote human rights that belong to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

- Rev Dr Charles Irudayam Executive Secretary, OJPD-CBCI

Buddhist New Year calendar is an “anti-State” document in Vietnam

Buddhist New Year calendar

PARIS, 25.11.2014 (IBIB) – The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) reports that a young UBCV monk, Venerable Thich Minh Nghia, was intercepted and harassed by a group of plain-clothed security police on 21 November 2014 in Hue. He had just come out of a printing house where he had picked up 300 calendars ordered by the UBCV to offer to Buddhists in the coming Lunar New Year of the Goat. Security police confiscated the calendars on the grounds that they were “reactionary, anti-state documents”. The incident took place at 3.00pm on Nguyen Lo Trach Street, when five plain-clothed men roughly accosted Thich Minh Nghia and pushed him towards a house. They told the monk he must go inside for a “working session” (a police expression for “interrogation”).

Thich Minh Nghia refused, saying that only Police had the right to interrogate citizens. The five men then announced that they were provincial security policemen. At that point, another man stepped out of the house. He showed the monk his police badge, introduced himself as Phung Viet Quy from the Hue municipal security police force and ordered the monk to come inside to answer charges of “administrative offenses and possession of illegal documents”. When Thich Minh Nghia refused, the men dragged him inside the courtyard and locked the gate. Alerted by his cries for help, a crowd of people gathered outside. However, a group of youths – presumably also plain-clothed security agents – suddenly appeared and chased them away.

The security police drew up a statement accusing the monk of “transporting and possessing documents bearing the name of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, an illegal organization that is not recognized by the State and moreover is considered to be reactionary and anti-State”. Then they confiscated the “incriminating” documents, i.e. the 300 Lunar Year calendars (see facsimile). The men tried to force Thich Minh Nghia to sign the statement but he refused, stating that he had committed no crime. The young monk also demanded that the security police give him a receipt for the confiscated calendars, otherwise he would stage a sit-down protest in the house. After several hours and a telephone call to their superiors, the police finally let Thich Minh Nghia free. Le Cong Cau, Secretary-general of the UBCV’s Executive Institute Viện Hóa Đạo and leader of the Buddhist Youth Movement sent a letter to the Chairman of the Hue Provincial People’s Committee protesting the incident and demanding the authorities to give the calendars back to the UBCV.

Although Vietnam has never officially banned the UBCV, it has branded it “illegal” since the creation of the State-sponsored “Vietnam Buddhist Sangha” in 1981. Since then, UBCV leaders and members have suffered continuous harassments, police surveillance and detention. The UBCV leader Thich Quang Do has spent three decades under detention for his peaceful advocacy of religious freedom, human rights and democracy.

Buddhist Youth Leader Lê Thi Tuyêt Mai dies after self-immolation in Ho Chi Minh City

Lê Thị Tuyết Mai on her coffin

PARIS, 23.05.2014 (IBIB) – The International Buddhist Information Bureau in Paris has received further news about Ms. Lê Thị Tuyết Mai, member of the Buddhist Youth Movement. She died today after immolating herself outside the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) at 5.30 this morning (Vietnam time). Le Thi Tuyet Mai, 47, Buddhist name Dong Xuan, was Deputy head of the Executive Committee of the Buddhist Youth Movement in ho Chi Minh City. The BYM is an educational youth movement affiliated of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam

Beside her body was a 5-liter jerrycan of petrol, a lighter and several banners. The banners were inscribed: - “Homage to the Goddess of Compassion” – “The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam will survive side by side with the Vietnamese people” – “All together against Chinese invasion” – “I offer my body as a torch to light the path of all patriots” – “Support the Declaration of UBCC Patriarch Thich Quang Do to oppose China’s invasion of Vietnamese waters and lands”.

Below is the coffin with the photo of Le Thi Tuyet Mai. The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam is calling on members of the Buddhist Youth Movement and all Buddhists at home and abroad to hold ceremonies of prayer for Le Thi Tuyet Mai and for peace and freedom in Vietnam.

Lay Buddhism as a Modern Phenomenon: The Varieties of Ecumenicism

By John Mensing
Staff Writer
May 7, 2014

Lay Buddhism

At the heart of a definition of lay Buddhism as it concerns organized denominational Buddhist sects is the question: Who controls the hierarchy? If it is not to be a celibate clergy, then is it to be a charismatic autocrat, treated as a semi-divine figure by parishioners/followers? Or can lay Buddhists organize themselves so consensual government is achieved within a democratic structure? I’d like to start by looking at where authority once resided, with the King. When the King fell – to colonial powers, or to modernity -- lay leadership began to exercise some of the roles formerly executed by royalty. Ceylon/Sri Lanka provides one case study. Encountered by the Portuguese at the dawn of the 16th century, successive colonial activity by the Dutch and the British in the costal and lowland areas saw Buddhism retreat while Catholic, reform, and protestant Christian denominations made inroads. Due partially to the circumstances of geography, however, portions of Sri Lanka remained unconquered by colonial powers until the beginning of the 19th century. That unconquered portion retained the Buddhist kingship model of governance.

Isolated by jungle highland terrain, the city of Kandy and its environs operated as a distinct Buddhist kingdom until it fell to the British in 1815. To the Buddhist clergy then, the ideal government was run by a cakkavatti, a perfect universal ruler, a good King. Rulers were praised by the sangha as being cakkavatti even if those rulers failed to live up to the ideal. The sangha existed in a symbiotic relationship with this ideal (or less than ideal) ruler. That ruler seemed essential for the survival of the sangha. Not only did the ruler/government provide support to the sangha in terms of temple lands, income, and laws, certain positions and appointments needed to be suggested or confirmed by the crown in order for the bureaucracy of Buddhist institutions to continue functioning. The King was also called upon to adjudicate disputes between and within Buddhist orders, and to “purify” the sangha when it became too corrupt. The treaty signed as a condition of surrender to the British stipulated that the responsibility for managing the sangha would pass to the British Crown. The role which the Kings of Kandy had once played in overseeing the Buddhist clergy would now be taken care of by the British. This paved the way for what I think of as lay Buddhism, especially in the sense of lay Buddhist leadership.

It was in this role as a purifier and supporter that the British, within several decades, started to fail. In part, the British Crown was pushed to fail by Christian (mostly protestant, often Wesleyan) missionaries, who wanted to convert Sri Lankans away from Buddhism. As the nascent secularity of modernity came to assert itself, other factors came into play. In the absence of a King, had either the laity or the clergy dug in their heels, exclaiming, “It’s not my job.” the sangha could have withered. (Perhaps we can compare this crisis to the one which initially drove the Lankan sangha, at the dawn of the Christian era, to commit the heretofore mnemonically transmitted suttas to ola leaves.) Many of the roles which the King played, such as support, were eventually taken up by various organizations, such as the YMBA, the Young Men Buddhists Association, chartered in 1898; and by various individuals, such as that quintessential lay Buddhist Henry Stele Olcott, who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1880. The symbiotic relationship between King and sangha was thus replicated by various organizations and individuals. Lay Buddhists took on some of the roles which the King had heretofore performed. In the absence of Kingship, lay Buddhist followers both directed and supported the sangha. Buddhism survived the transformation, forming a legitimately triumphalist narrative that we can celebrate as a unifying aspect of lay Buddhism in the modern era. This rise of lay-led Buddhism to supplant cakkavatti-led Buddhism has been accompanied by a renaissance in Indian Buddhism, coupled with an elective affinity between traditional Buddhist polities and new adherents. (Hallisey, 1995)

For most of the history of Buddhism, Buddhist clergy flourished or flailed against the backdrop of divine rulers. So I think it is important to note that the rise of lay Buddhist orders takes place on a canvas where government leaders are no longer divine. Like a phantom limb, some Buddhists still feel the pain and absent presence of the severed divine throne. Members of the sangha sometimes chastise or act obsequious to Presidents as if they were, or could be, divine. The habit of hierarchy asserts itself even when the Apex of it has evaporated. The varieties of lay Buddhism have this in common: they operate in a socio-political setting where there is an absence of temporal divinity, and they cooperate with a sangha that sometimes vestigially yearns for a divine government. Lay Buddhists, particularly lay Buddhist leaders, are those who cope with the absence of divinity in state leadership. To put it another way, modern lay Buddhists exist because government is no longer divine. Various lay Buddhist groups, whether within or in spite of national boundaries, can use the destruction of government divinity as a least common denominator in the quest for interdenominational fellowship.

Lay Buddhism in Japan can also be viewed as having arisen during the modern era. While there was no nineteenth-century British colonial power to usurp or sever the connection between sangha and the Japanese state, the Meji Restoration saw the Emperor reinvented as an even more divine figure. While the Emperor/Chakravartin was not deposed – indeed He became more powerful under the new arrangement – the relationship between the sangha and the government was jolted in a way similar to what occurred in Sri Lanka, Burma and other Buddhist polities. Relations between the government and the sangha deteriorated rapidly under the Meji system, with the government/Emperor proactively deconstructing Shintoism from the heretofore syncretic Buddhist matrix. Whereas in Sri Lanka the sangha declined after the jolt, but eventually reasserted itself under new forms of lay leadership and support; and whereas in Burma the sangha transitioned itself so as to flourish with a redefined lay/non-divine leadership and support network, the renewed-ly divine leadership in Japan also initially accreted disdain for Buddhism. In retreat, Japanese Buddhists saw themselves divested of their temple lands. The Meji government reduced the influence of Buddhism, ironically, by ceasing to regulate it (e,g., where once it had been illegal for Buddhist monks to act or dress a certain way, now anyone could dress up as a Buddhist monk, with impunity) again, effectively severing the connection between sangha and state. “Government ideologues succeeded for a time in censuring Buddhism as a corrupt, decadent, anti-social, parasitic, and superstitious creed, inimical to Japan’s need for scientific and technological advancement.” (Scharf, 1993) But the severed connection between sangha and state did not cause Japanese Buddhism to wither and die. Japanese Buddhists reinvented themselves as Emperor worshipers par excellence. (Victoria, 2006) The imprisonment and execution of a few of those who dared to buck the trend enshrined a Japancentric Buddhist fascism as the new orange. When military failure and Allied Occupation delegitimized Japan’s imperial edifice, the structure remained intact. New, or newly invigorated, religious movements took their cue from the Nichiren tradition and flourished as intensely chauvinistic clubs. Peace activism replaced militarism but the centricity of Japan remained paramount.

The Lotus Sūtra proved malleable enough to accommodate both a militaristic reading and a pacifist reading. “What the Lotus Sūtra does not contain is an explicit social ethic. . . . Indeed, the mythic quality of the sutra, and the ambiguity surrounding the presentation of the ‘one vehicle’ – extravagantly praised but ultimately never explained – have over the centuries enabled an astonishing range of interpretations, prompting one scholar to speak of the Lotus as an “empty” text into which generations of exegetes have poured their own meanings.” (Stone, 2012, pp. 205-206) The militarist reading of Buddhist scriptures saw Japan as the leader of a new order, victorious through war; and the pacifist reading of the Buddhist scriptures saw Japan as the leader of a new order, victorious through ‘peace education’. Ecumenicism was anathema to some, like the Sōka Gakkai, who viciously persecuted those within its orbit who failed to acknowledge the supremacy of their one, true, Lotus Sūtra-centric faith. While we can call these new Japanese Buddhist movements lay Buddhist at our own peril, intellectually we should recognize that church and state have never fundamentally been separated here. People in Japan worship their language and their culture as their religion. Most of the popular new religious movements in the Nichiren tradition read better as Japan worship. While they may work for world peace or cooperation between peoples, the hidden premise is that this peace or cooperation will be under the direction of Japanese leadership; again, something carried over from Nichiren’s philosophy. It may be more accurate to say that Nihon-centrism is the religion, it is not an aspect of the Buddhism here.

Whereas other polities have wrestled with and more or less accommodated themselves to the modern situation of having leadership hierarchies where the apex is no longer considered divine, Japan has not. In Japan, the apex of the hierarchy is still considered divine. This is not merely a cosmetic matter that sustains itself in antiquated, removed traditions surrounding a peripheral royal family, it is a matter which permeates all institutions and social relations, and survives in the honorific morphemes of the language as well. Thus the leader of the Sōka Gakkai, Daisaku Ikeda, is treated as a divine figure, worshiped and reverenced as such, and the leaders of other cults, sects, and groups are shown zealous deference antithetical to the democratic spirit. Both Sōka Gakkai and Rissō Kōseikai stress that, “harsh or inconsiderate treatment at the hands of others . . . is to be taken as a sign of one’s own shortcomings or karmic hindrances and as an occasion for repentance and further effort.” This Buddhism in Daily Life ethos harkens back to self-cultivation movements popularized in Edo Japan (1603 -1898). If we see this ethos as contiguous, it is anathema to post modern engaged or socially responsible ideals. De facto support of the status quo is corollary to this radical sense of individual responsibility, and in the pre-modern, modern, and post-modern Japanese socio-political landscape has worked and continues to work hand in glove with Emperor worship.

Emperor worship seems perilous to us especially during the late Taishō and early Shōwa eras, because we equate it with fascism, but we should see it as a contiguous feature of the islands’ socio-political landscape. Expressed in other ways, we can refer to the culture of Emperor worship as a totalitarian political structure, and as an autocratic socio-political system. This is the structure of the microcosm, the family unit and interpersonal relationships on the local level; as well as it is the structure of the macrocosm, the Japanese state and institutional structures. Karel Van Wolferen detailed this order in The Enigma of Japanese Power, “In the Japanese socio-political order, conflict is shunned, dismissed, disavowed, denied, exorcised by ritual, but rarely solved.” (Wolferen, 1993, p. 430) While personally empowering, “the idea that external change is a function of inner cultivation tends to be politically conservative,” (Hurst, 1992) and it, “may work to foster acquiescence to the status quo, rather than the critical spirit necessary to recognize social inequity and speak out against it.” (Stone, p. 217) The Buddhism in Daily Life ethos of Sōka Gakkai and Rissō Kōseikai reads well as an ethos which works to avoid conflict via the maintenance of hierarchy. As such, it fits in contiguously with other social institutions, innately opposed to the postmodern notions of engagement and social responsibility. This type of Buddhism in Japan thus functions as a handmaiden to a belief, “in the existence of some sort of mystical spirit of the Japanese language. This was the so-called kotodama, something that was supposed to make the Japanese language essentially different from all other varieties of human language.” (Miller, 1982, p. 97) We can speak, then, of a Buddha-ism which functions to support Japanese-ism; this religion of Japanese-ism being the primary religion, one secondarily supported by Buddhist rituals.

The allegedly unique Japanese spirit which functions through the Japanese language and is the object of worship more primary than the Buddha or the teachings of the Buddha is expressed through sympathetic magic in worship rituals surrounding, in the case of Sōka Gakkai, chanting (shōdai) magic words (the daimoku) at a magical scroll (the Moji-mandala Gohonzon). “Thus the belief has gradually evolved that by ritually pronouncing the “correct name” of something, that something would be placed under one’s power and eventual control.” (Miller, 1982, p. 136) This harkens back to a belief in early Japanese society, a, “belief that a certain amount of magic lurked within the name for anything.” (Miller, 1982, p. 135) In its teachings, Sōka Gakkai stresses that in order to achieve enlightenment, not only a practitioner, but anyone, must correctly pronounce the correct magical words. This claim to enlightenment is exclusivist. At times, Sōka Gakkai’s teaching stress that the correct combination of magical words chanted at magical items will be the most efficacious way to achieve enlightenment – a claim impossible to prove false, but open to the interpretation that there may be other ways to achieve enlightenment. Sōka Gakkai, however, does not stop with claims of the relative merit of their enlightenment technique. They go further and insist, at other times, that their magical method is the only way to achieve Buddhist enlightenment and that all other methods are ineffectual, misguided, and/or spurious.

These exclusivist claims put Sōka Gakkai well within the tradition begun by Nichiren (日蓮) (1222 – 1282), a tradition which attempted to discredit not only all other forms of Buddhism in Japan, but all other forms of Buddhism anywhere, and posited the Japanese way, the Nichiren Buddhist way, as the only way to salvation. It is not unusual to find premodern or ancient societies being both centrist and exclusivist. It is perhaps an artifact of their antiquity that they appear to us now as such, for absent contemporary notions of geography (including telecommunications), the placement of one’s self as the center – so important in the construal of hierarchies – suffers far fewer rational objections. The active carrying forward of these centrist and exclusivist claims, however, could pose a challenge to our theme here, the varieties of lay Buddhism. Must those varieties be arranged in a hierarchy? I suggest that centrist and exclusivist claims be relegated to the realm of the pre-modern and the archaic. Currently, we should all seek to develop ecumenical outlooks which regard the efficacy of the means to enlightenment impartially. While we may be steadfastly attached to the path in our own discipline, we should not regard that attachment as license to disparage the path of another. In order to be proper lay Buddhists, then, followers of Nichiren should renounce his Japan-centric proclamations and refute his exclusivist claims for the supreme efficacy of magic word induced nirvana.

What we are getting at here is my notion of what a proper lay Buddhist should be. I may be wholly in error in this formulation, and I welcome your suggestions and emendations. My understanding is neither perfect nor absolute, it is only the result of my studies and contemplations to date. In post modern times, I dislike the notion that as lay Buddhists we are free to construct Buddhism as we see fit, without the mediation of clergy, or as mediators who are co-equal with clergy. I prefer to see us as the late U.S. Senator Huey Long (1893-1935) might have seen us (were he a Buddhist) (“every man a king, but no one wears a crown” (Long, reproduced in Young, 2006)), to wit, every person a cakkavatti.


Hallisey, C. (1995). Roads Taken and Not Taken in the Study of Theravada Buddhism. In J. Donald S. Lopez (Ed.), Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialism (pp. 31-62). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Hurst, J. (1992). Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism and the Soikka Gakki in America: The Ethos of a New Religious Movement. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc. Long, H. (2006). Speech in the U.S. Senate, 1934. In R. E. Young, Dissent in America (pp. 455-464). New York: Pearson Education, Inc. Miller, R. A. (1982). Japan's Modern Myth: The Language and Beyond. New York: Weatherhill. Scharf, R. (1993). The Zen of Japanese Nationalism. In J. Donald S. Lopez (Ed.), Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialism (pp. 107-160). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Stone, J. (2012). Nichiren’s Activist Heirs: Sōka Gakkai, Risshō Kōseikai, Nipponzan Myōhōji. In L. Dolce (Ed.), Japanese Religions (Vol. 2, pp. 205-234). London: Sage Publications Ltd. Victoria, B. D. (2006). Zen at War. Lanham,Maryland and New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Wolferen, K. V. (1993). The Enigma of Japanese Power. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company.

ASIA: John the twenty–third -- Now a Saint

Special Contribution
By Basil Fernando
May 2, 2014


So you are now a saint Do remain human, all the same! You understood our times Our need to understand and respond To change; To have windows and doors open For all winds to blow through Daring to face diversity As a friend and not a foe;

Talk, talk, you said And ushered in the great council, The Vatican two. A great moment When a force greater than The Niagara Falls came down Untying the spirit of humans, To rise from their bondages To rediscover the sisterhood With all forces of nature; To break the knots of decadence Uprooting ourselves from utilitarianism Which caused Greatest unhappiness of the greatest number.

Now it is time for your second miracle Bring back again the living spirit of Those great documents And that great council And let the people again Cry out for an open Church Where love will prevail, Where fear has no place Where all embrace all To end destruction And make way For another flowering of the human spirit. A resurrection, yes A resurrection, please!

The Birth of a New Era: The End of Papal Authority and Corporatism, and the Rise of a new Common Law Covenant A Revolution is Launched in Maastricht, Holland

Rev. Kevin Annett
Maastricht and Rome: Last Easter Sunday, in an action akin to Martin Luther's posting of his Ninety Five Theses, a lone figure placed a Proclamation on the door of the oldest catholic church outside of Italy, and announced the end of an era and the birth of another. ( Like Luther, Kevin Annett is a renegade clergyman who is caught in a life and death struggle with the oldest corporation on our planet: the church of Rome. But unlike the defrocked monk, Annett represents a movement aiming to not reform that church, but abolish it entirely because of its “irredeemable criminal nature”.

And that abolition was announced this past Sunday. The manifesto posted by Kevin Annett on the door of St. Martin's catholic church is called the Maastricht Proclamation, and invokes both international law and the “law of heaven” to declare the legal and spiritual abolition of the Church of Rome. The Proclamation effectively nullifies the authority of the Roman Catholic church under the very laws and legitimacy by which the latter claims to operate. (see, April 20, 2014)

But the repercussions of Reverend Annett's action go far beyond Rome. Interviewed today in Spain, where he is meeting with eyewitnesses to Vatican crimes, Annett comments, “The modern Vatican is really the creation of Italian Fascism, whose Lateran Treaty in 1929 established the modern corporation called the roman catholic church: a de facto but legally fictitious and criminal body. In turn, that criminal syndicate helped spawn the horrors of the modern corporatist era, starting with Nazi Germany and leading to the present global New World Order. So by legally and spiritually disestablishing the Church of Rome, we are also dismantling that corporatist Order and all of the de facto, tyrannical authorities in the world, whether they be corporations, governments, or private courts. “In other words, the Maastricht Proclamation is really a call to arms to all people to re-establish lawful de jure society across our planet, under the supremacy of the divine law of equality and peace: what we know as the Common Law.”

In effect, what began in Rome on a bleak February day in 1929 ended last Easter Sunday, when the terms by which the Vatican operates as an overt criminal syndicate were lawfully negated under the terms of International Law. So while the church may continue to function as a de facto power, it does so as a rogue criminal body with no authority, and no right to its own property, wealth or laws. What does this new step mean for the twenty year campaign by Kevin Annett to expose and stop the murder and trafficking of children? “It's a whole new ball game now” says Annett. “This isn't about trying to hold a dying system accountable anymore, but about creating a whole new world through a new Covenant.

“Once we put church and state on trial, we really declared war on the entire system. And like Napolean once said, whoever makes a revolution half way is just digging their own grave. So now we need not just our own peace officers to enforce our Common Law court verdicts; we need to mobilize humanity to take back our world and the law from the criminals who are destroying us and our children's future. And to do that, we need to re-contract all our relationships. “So in truth, there are no more lawful authorities anymore, and we owe none of them allegiance. We need to remake such authority from the ground up, from among ourselves. That's why we call it the New Covenant. And that's what we've begun, with the Maastricht Proclamation.”

This new Covenanting movement has two fronts, one legal, the other spiritual. Annett calls these fronts the “two arms of liberation”. “Humanity is sick and dying, from the inside out, because we have forgotten our innate sovereignty and our bond with creation and the Creator. Nobody can mediate or create that bond for another, and justice is an empty shell without the personal capacity to be a just and virtuous man or woman. Benjamin Franklin said that only a virtuous people could be self-governing, for with personal corruption always comes political tyranny. So the new Covenant recognizes itself as both a new law and a new spirit, one supporting and feeding the other.”

In the wake of the Maastricht Proclamation, this re-covenanting movement,The Covenanters, is working actively to establish both common law courts and self-governing communities on the land that have declared their independence from existing authorities. As the seed of a new world, the Covenanters are working now in twenty one countries alongside the International Common Law Court of Justice and its Tribunal sponsor, the ITCCS. As for Kevin Annett, he is clearly a happy man. “It's been a long night, but it's always good to see the day break”.

Public Information Update from The Prosecutor's Office of The International Common Law Court of Justice

Lorna McNaughton

Bulletin No. 3: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 10 pm GMT In the Matter of the People v. Bergoglio, Pachon, Welby and others charged with global child trafficking and ritual murder

Summary: The Court adjourns for two weeks after the first round in the Prosecutor's Case discloses the startling testimony of eight witnesses. Two separate witnesses describe their alleged rape and ritual torture by chief defendant Jorge Bergoglio (alias “Pope Francis”) in 2009 and 2010. The Chief Prosecutor establishes a link between the British, Dutch and Belgian royal families and the disappearances and killing of Mohawk children at the Church of England's Brantford Indian residential school in Canada.

Jesuit records are introduced as evidence detailing the so-called “Magisterial Privilege” decreeing papal involvement in “Ninth Circle” ritual murder of newborn children. The same records identify Joseph Ratzinger as a member of the “Knights of Darkness” S.S. sacrificial cult during World War Two. ITCCS Field Secretary Kevin Annett is scheduled to testify before the Court during its second round of sessions in early May to corroborate witnesses' testimonies from his own work and experience. A prominent Vatican official initiates back channel communication with the Court and offers key evidence, as Magistrates consider extending closed Court sessions during May.

The Court and its affiliates will issue an Easter Proclamation this Sunday, April 20 and endorse public actions at the Vatican and Catholic churches across the world. Rev. Kevin Annett will lead a public ceremony of “exorcism and replacement” at a prominent Catholic cathedral on that day. The Details: Following eight days of Court procedure and the commencement of the Citizen Prosecutor's case against the three chief defendants, the first Common Law adjudication of evidence concerning global child trafficking has adjourned for two weeks, until 10 am GMT on Monday, May 5, 2014.

Commencing on Tuesday, April 8 after an opening Court session the day before, the case by the Citizen Prosecutor's Office presented evidence directly linking all three chief defendants with the planning and execution of child trafficking networks within the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and with the practice and concealment of the ritual rape, torture and killing of children. Along with considerable documentation, the Prosecutor introduced notarized affidavit statements from eight eyewitnesses to these crimes, including videotaped interviews with two adolescent women who claim to have been tortured and raped by chief defendant Jorge Bergoglio, alias “Pope Francis”, during the spring of 2009 and 2010, at horrific cult functions connected to the “Ninth Circle” child sacrifice network.

“Survivors of these rituals describe newborn babies being chopped to pieces on stone altars, and their remains were then consumed by the participants” described the Chief Prosecutor to the Court. “The survivors during the 1960's period were forced to rape and mutilate other children, and then cut their throats with ceremonial daggers. Former Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, Dutch Cardinal Alfrink, and Prince Bernhard were among the cult participants, according to these survivors. But significantly, the more recent incidents in 2009 and 2010 involved exactly the same kinds of ritualized murder of newborn infants in rural Holland and Belgium."

Other witnesses described their personal knowledge of efforts by the defendants to conceal the involvement of not only the Catholic and Anglican church, but the British, Belgian and Dutch royal families, in the ritual killing of Mohawk Indian children at the Brantford residential school in Ontario, Canada. These killings span over seventy years and include the period between 1942 and 1945 when exiled Dutch Queen Wilhemina and her family lived in Canada, and participated in Ninth Circle rituals at the Mohawk Indian school.

Introduced documentation* indicates that, to assist and conceal such involvement of Dutch “royals” in these cult killings, the Canadian government and Privy Council Office in London granted “extra-territorial exemption” to the Dutch royals from all criminal, civil and military jurisdiction while in Canada. (* The Canada Gazette , Issue No. 232, December 26, 1942, Ottawa) Dutch and Belgian royal participants in the rape and killing of Mohawk children and newborns included Bilderberger founder Crown Prince Bernhard and King Hendrick, consort to Queen Wilhelmina of Holland.

As part of the Prosecutor's corroborating evidence, secret archives from the Jesuit Order were introduced into the Court record that describe in detail the so-called “Magisterial Privilege” compelling the participation of every new Pope in the Ninth Circle sacrifice of new born children. The records suggest that the Ninth Circle was established by the Jesuits just prior to their staged “disbandment” in 1773 and their establishment three years later of the so-called Illuminati cult, although references are also made to organized child sacrifice rituals at Catholic cathedrals in Rome as early as the year 1528.

The Chief Prosecutor told the Court, “These archives clearly indicate a premeditated plan for centuries by the Jesuits to ritually murder kidnapped newborn babies and then consume their blood, born of a twisted notion of deriving spiritual power from the lifeblood of the innocent and thereby assuring the political stability of the Papacy in Rome. Every Pope was expected to and did in fact participate in these monstrous rituals ... These acts are not only genocidal but systemic and institutionalized in nature, and indict the Roman Catholic Church and the Jesuits as a whole, and every Pope since at least in the year 1773.”

The same collection of Jesuit archival records make reference to a child sacrificial cult known as The Knights of Darkness, established by the Nazi Waffen S.S. Division in 1933 with Jesuit backing. The archives identify former Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, as a member of the Knights and as an S.S. Chaplain's assistant at the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany, where he participated in sacrificial rites using children transported to the camp or kidnapped from political prisoners. The latter practice was a common Jesuit undertaking in Spain, Argentina and other fascist regimes, and one implicating chief defendant Jorge Bergoglio while he was a priest, Bishop and front man for the military junta in Argentina during the 1970's.

ITCCS Field Secretary Kevin Annett is scheduled to appear as a witness during the second session of the Court commencing Monday, May 5. Annett will provide thorough corroborating evidence and personal testimony to support the Prosecutor's case and the evidence concerning the Brantford killings, gained over twenty years' work with residential school survivors in Canada, including during his targeted persecution by church and state. (www, Meanwhile, in startling related news, a senior Vatican official initiated a back channel communication with the Court last week in order to offer key evidence to the Prosecutor's Office concerning its case against the chief defendants.

The Vatican official has requested strict anonymity and security, prompting the Court Magistrates to consider extending the closed sessions of the Court during its next round in May. Finally, this Easter Sunday, April 20, the Court and its affiliates in twenty one countries will issue a Public Proclamation to be read at Catholic churches in Rome and dozens of other cities.

Rev. Kevin Annett will lead a public ceremony of “Exorcism and Replacement” at a central Catholic facility on that day, and similar ceremonies will be held at the Vatican and at many other catholic churches. Details of the event will be posted this Sunday evening GMT at .

CST Workshop in Gujarat, organised by OJPD-CBCI

Special Report
By Rev Dr Charles Irudayam

Participants of the workshop

“Faith and Social action are the two sides of the same coin”, says Archbishop Stanislaus. Ahmedabad, 26-27 March: Inaugurating a two-day workshop on Catholic Social Teaching and delivering the keynote address, Archbishop Stanislaus insisted on the need for mutual accompaniment of faith and action for justice. He also said that the Christian social activism should be based on preferential option for the poor, protection of human dignity and human rights, solidarity, and common good.

Fr Charles Irudayam, Secretary, CBCI Office for Justice Peace and Development, highlighted the key thrusts of Catholic Social Teaching, and reiterated the Church’s insistence on the participation of Christians in building a world of solidarity and peace founded on justice. He was supported by a team of local facilitators, one of whom was Bishop Thomas Macwan of Ahmedabad Diocese. The other facilitators were: Fr Joseph Appavoo, Director of KSSS, Fr Arock, Director of YCS & YSM, Fr Sandeep, and Ms Shveta from the Centre for Social Justice.

Calling the attention of the participants to the various issues of concern, Bishop Macwan urged the participants to be the prophets of today. The bishop added: “Being prophets today invariably and inevitably means lending voice to the voiceless and the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.”

The 45 participants represented the dioceses of Ahmedabad, Gandhi Nagar, Baroda and Rajkot – the four Catholic dioceses in Gujarat. The participants deliberated on issues related to youth, women and children. The issues of the minorities in Gujarat were given a prioritised focus. The participants chalked out a common action plan for their region, which included awareness education on various issues in the light of the Catholic Social Teaching.

The workshop was held at Hansol, Ahmedabad, in Gujarat. Fr Joseph Appavoo convened the workshop on behalf of the CBCI Office for Justice Peace and Development, and ably managed the two-day event.


Kevin Annett

"Your oaths of allegiance are nullified and you are freed and obligated to serve God, the common law and the people” TODAY, ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE CRIMINAL CONVICTION OF POPE BENEDICT AND QUEEN ELIZABETH AND THEIR CORPORATIONS, a public notice of treason and order to comply was issued to all of the agents and officers of these felons by the Common Law Court responsible for their conviction. The legal order was issued by The Presiding Magistrates of the Criminal Trial Division of the International Common Law Court of Justice in Brussels.

One year after an historic common law court verdict convicted thirty officials of church and state for Crimes against Humanity, the Court issued a “stand down” nullification order to all of the agents of those bodies, including the Vatican, the Crown of England and the government of Canada. This order completes the legal disestablishment of the guilty institutions by releasing the police, judiciary, clergy, soldiers and all employees of these convicted bodies from their oaths of allegiance to the former head of state of the Commonwealth, Elizabeth Windsor, and to the Pope and the papacy in Rome.

The order negates the authority and jurisdiction of all of these officials. It notifies them that their continued allegiance to the convicted heads of state and church will constitute collusion with wanted criminals, and thereby an act of Treason against the people and the law, and may result in their arrest and imprisonment. The Order will be delivered in person and through the media to these officials by the community at large and by sheriffs authorized by the Court's Presiding Magistrates. Simultaneously, the Court has authorized the establishment of new Common Law police officers to enforce the Court's verdict and replace the disestablished authorities. “Quite simply, this is a revolution” explained Kevin Annett, Field Secretary for the International Tribunal that sponsored the Court, at a press conference today on sovereign territory formerly part of Canada and now under Common Law jurisdiction.

“To nullify the authority of the judges, the police and the politicians who are the agents of criminal institutions is the inevitable and lawful consequence of the Court's indictment of those bodies for crimes against humanity. This is being done legally and in the open. Under the law, there no longer exists what we knew as the Vatican, the Crown of England or the governments of Great Britain and Canada. Those populations are now under the sole jurisdiction of the common law and the covenants that they, the people, establish among themselves and with their Creator. “It is now up to every one of us to enforce this Order, and we are all equally empowered to do so. The old authorities and their laws can and must be actively ignored. And the standing citizen arrest warrants against Joseph Ratzinger, Elizabeth Windsor and others will be enforced.” This most recent Order from the International Common Law Court of Justice precedes the upcoming commencement of its second case, involving global child trafficking, on March 31, 2014. Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio, will be summoned as the chief defendant in this case, which will convene at an open hearing in Brussels. To pursue this and other convictions, Common Law courts have been organized by citizens and ITCCS affiliates in Canada, the United States, England, Ireland, Holland, Spain and Italy.

For more information and updates see and . Issued by ITCCS Central and the International Common Law Court of Justice, Brussels 24-25/02/2014

A Call for Building a Just, Peaceful, and Corruption-free India: A Christian Response to the Signs of the Time

Church provides clothes to the poor children in India

Inaugurating his ministry in Nazareth, Jesus made public his Manifesto of the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:16-21). As per His priority he kept the poor at the centre of the Kingdom (Lk 6:20). He proclaimed the love of God who created all men and women as equals and destined all to live a life of fullness in fraternity, justice, peace, freedom, love and truth. He commanded his disciples to proclaim the good news that “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 10:7). Thus, as Christians, we have a mandate from none other than Jesus himself to promote the values of the Kingdom and to establish the same here on earth.

Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, recommends the use of ‘evangelical discernment’ and states: “We need to distinguish clearly what might be a fruit of the kingdom from what runs counter to God’s plan. This involves not only recognizing and discerning spirits, but also – and this is decisive – choosing movements of the spirit of good and rejecting those of the spirit of evil” (no. 51). He adds: “To the extent that he [God] reigns within us, the life of society will be a setting for universal fraternity, justice, peace and dignity. Both Christian preach ing and life, then, are meant to have an impact on society” (no.180). Pope Francis recently warns us, Christians, to be on guard against becoming hypocrites or corrupt. The Pope described people engaged in corruption as “whitewashed tombs”, explaining that “they appear beautiful from the outside, but inside they are full of dead bones and putrefaction”. A life based on corruption was “varnished putrefaction”, he said. He holds that an authentic faith always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it. He also urges the Church to effect an ‘influence on societal and national life’; to develop a ‘concern for the soundness of civil institutions’; and to exercise ‘a right to offer an opinion on events affecting society’ (no. 183).

Our Bishops in India, during their 30th General Body Meeting in 2012, prayerfully reflected and envisioned “an India with more attributes of the Kingdom of God such as justice and equity with its consequent fruits of love, peace and joy” (Final Statement of GBM 2012, no. 10).

Vibrantly present in today’s India are the positive forces that dignify and sustain the delicate bonds uniting us all as one human family. Noteworthy and plausible is the recent movement against corruption that is growing all over the nation. On the other hand, there are also the negative forces that dehumanise others; degrade the environment; deny the poor access to natural resources; support exclusive development, mis-governance, corruption, communalisation, and criminalisation of politics; devalue the institution of dialogue; and marginalise the already marginalised, such as tribals, dalits, women, children, migrants, labourers, linguistic and religious minorities. Policies are being pursued with a bias on the growth-at-any-cost model. As a result, the poor and the environment suffer while the Corporate and Organised Sectors reap the benefits. What people actually enjoy is a kind of minimal democracy that does not let their participation in decision-making in most of the areas of their lives.

The people experience on daily basis suffering and hardships due to bad governance, maladministration, scams, scandals and corruption. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace rightly observes: “Corruption deprives peoples of a basic common good, that of legality: respect for rules, the correct functioning of economic and political institutions and transparency” (The Fight against Corruption, 2006, no. 5). Since corruption hinders the proper delivery of the resources to the poor, it negates two other principles of the Catholic Social Teaching: the preferential option for the poor, and the universal destination of goods.

As our nation is gearing up for the next general election, we need to demonstrate our social commitment. Second Vatican Council document on The Church in the Modern World states, “All citizens, therefore, should be mindful of the right and also the duty to use their free vote to further the common good” (no. 75). The same document instructs the politicians, with integrity and wisdom, to take action against any form of injustice and tyranny, against arbitrary domination by an individual or a political party and any intolerance. They should dedicate themselves to the service of all with sincerity and fairness, indeed, with the charity and fortitude demanded by political life.

The vision statement of our Office for Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is to build up a just and peaceful society inspired by the Gospel and the Social doctrines of the Church. Hence we urge all the citizens of this country, mainly our lay faithful, to make right choices at the time of the election and to elect from among the political parties – national or regional, old or new – representatives who can govern us in defence of human dignity and in promotion of inclusive development, common good, justice, peace, and fraternity. We need representatives who are interested in the welfare of the people; who are accountable and transparent; who protect the rights of the people; and who can commit themselves to make India a cradle of peace and prosperity. Let us also pray that we may have honest politicians, dedicated bureaucrats and well wishers to carry out our dream for a crime-free, discrimination-free, hunger-free, fear-free and corruption-free India.

Yours in Jesus Christ, Most Rev. Dr Yvon Ambroise Most Rev. Dr Mathew Arackal Chairperson Most Rev. Dr Gerald Almeida Rev. Dr Charles Irudayam Secretary, Office for Justice, Peace and Development Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India

The message from Pastor Steven P. Kosberg of International Lutheran Church in Seoul

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Jan 5, 2014

Pastor Steven holding a newly baptized baby

Pastor Steven came to Seoul in May 2009 by the invitation of International Lutheran Church. Before that, he served as a head pastor for large congregation in Hosanna Lutheran Church in Minnesota in US.

Pastor Steven revealed to Global Digest, challenges of International churches are mostly people are come and go they stay for maximum 2 years. That’s why it’s difficult for long-term leadership like the church in Seoul, he said, the church needs a stable leadership. His predecessors were changed estimate one every year, 6 pastors in the past 6 years, Pastor Steven cried out.

After he arrived in Seoul the church is growth, even now, he is thinking for a bigger building for more people, said Pastor Steven. Apart from foreign members, Korean are also involved almost the number of 50% of a total 350 members. However, Pastor Steven expressed he and his wife love Korean people and their food, culture and so on. Today service, only 190 people attended at his church, because people keep going in and out from Seoul, Pastor Steven explained.

Especially, Children love to coming at his church. Pastor Steven pointed out they offered two things, first is Jesus and second is English conversation for Korean. A lot of activity on Bible study, Pastor Steven said, in addition, he has to serve for care giving, such as a new born baby, funeral for death, hospitalizing and other humanitarian service. Pastor Steven proclaimed he is a servant, and he distances himself from power in the church.

Pastor Steven strongly expressed to Global Digest, that the church members need a good worship service, to hear a good news, like that Christ message into each personal life and connecting them with Jesus, that’s what he is doing here. Present time, spiritual life in western countries is dramatically declined, Pastor Steven confessed, he blames secularism life style. He feels Eastern people are generally high spiritual life, including many remained believe in Christian faith.

Pastor Steven confirmed Lutheran Church is part of Protestant Christian Churches. The origin of Lutheran Church came from Germany. They followed exactly a reformer Martin Luther’s teaching. Nowadays, there are 3 main branches of Lutheran, in US, Norway and Germany. The different from Germany is Liturgy worship, in US, they are more flexible, for example, they used guitar and drum for music.

International Lutheran Church was founded in the early 1960’s as a Lutheran mission to the nearby US military base in Seoul. While some US military personnel are still involved, the congregation is now people from all walks of life.

Lutherans often refer to three “solas” (latin for “alone”) as a summary of the faith that gives them hope: Grace alone - God loves all the people of the world, even though all have turned away from Him in sin. Faith alone - By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Scripture alone - The Bible is God’s Word and is the only reliable source that shows God’s will and His plans for our salvation in Jesus Christ.

Pastor Steven invited all of you at his International Lutheran Church as it is “a home – a family – a place to worship”.

Buddhist activist Lê Công Câu is arrested in Hue

Jan 1, 2014

Lê Công Câu(R)

PARIS, 1.01.2014 (IBIB) – The International Buddhist Information Bureau (IBIB) is concerned to announce that Buddhist activist Lê Công Câu was arrested at 10.15 (Vietnam time) this morning at Phu Bai Airport near Hue. He had boarded a plane bound for Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) when Security Police took him off the plane and detained him for questioning. Buddhists in Hue who witnessed the scene informed IBIB this morning. There has been no news of his whereabouts since then. Lê Công Câu is head of the Buddhist Youth Movement (Gia đình Phật tử Việt Nam), affiliated to the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV).

Lê Công Câu was going to visit UBCV Patriarch and prominent dissident Thich Quang Do, who is under de facto house arrest at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Saigon. Buddhists in Vietnam are extremely concerned about the health and situation of the 86-year UBCV leader, who has been held under conditions of extreme isolation at the Monastery since the beginning of last month. On 9th December 2013, Thich Quang Do issued Executive Order No. 10 dismissing two senior UBCV monks for grave violations of the UBCV Charter; Venerable Thich Vien Dinh, the UBCV Deputy leader and Head of the UBCV Secretariat at the Giac Hoa pagoda in Saigon and Venerable Thich Vien Ly, head of the Overseas UBCV based in California, USA. Following Thich Vien Dinh’s dismissal, the UBCV Secretariat is no longer at Giac Hoa Pagoda and will shortly be moved elsewhere.

Since Thich Quang Do made this announcement, he has no longer received visits from the monks of Giac Hoa Pagoda as in the past. Lê Công Câu and members of the Buddhist Youth Movement have been taken turns to visit the Patriarch and ensure he is in good health, hence his trip to Saigon from Hue today. Lê Công Câu was previously detained in March 2013 and interrogated for three days for posting articles on the Internet calling on Vietnam to re-establish the UBCV’s legitimate status and cease repression against UBCV Buddhists. Police accused him of violating Article 87 of the Vietnamese Criminal Code on “undermining the unity policy” and Article 88 on “circulating anti-state propaganda”, offences which carry prison sentences of up to fifteen and twenty years. “Detaining Lê Công Câu simply for seeking to pay a visit to an elderly monk is a serious violation of the right to religious freedom”, said IBIB director Vo Van Ai.“Vietnam will host the UN International Vesak Day (Buddha’s Birth) this year and claims to respect the rights of Buddhists and other religious communities. It should demonstrate its commitment by immediately releasing Lê Công Câu”.

The Buddhist Youth Movement (Gia đình Phật tử Việt Nam) is an educational organization affiliated to the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV). Although the UBCV is effectively banned by the communist authorities, the Youth movement has a semi-official status because of its widespread social, humanitarian and educational activities which are tolerated by government. It has some 500,000 members in Vietnam. ---

Apr-Dec 2012, 2013


Jan 2011-Mar 2012