DVD Review: Dhamma Dana

Dhamma Dana
Low Pressure Films/ Theodore Martland

Dhamma Dana is an extraordinary look into a culture that is hidden under a governmental shroud. Rarely are we giving a glimpse into such a serene lifestyle.

Theravada Buddhism, which is on of the two main branches of Buddhism, is considered the “Doctrine of the Elders” drawing it’s teachings straight from the Tipitaka which is believed to be one of the oldest teachings of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Burma, or as it’s know now Myanmar, is traditionally a Theravada practicing country. Nearly 90% of the country practices Theravada Buddhism, including (believe it or not) the tyrannical ruling junta of the country.

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Suu Kyi Sentenced, Clinton Issues Statement

From The Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Tuesday for the release of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying she “should not have been convicted” on a charge of violating house arrest.

Suu Kyi, the 64-year-old Nobel Peace laureate, has been in detention in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for 14 of the last 20 years, mostly under house arrest. She has now been ordered to serve an 18-month sentence for allowing an uninvited American to stay at her home.

“She should not have been tried. She should not have been convicted,” Clinton told a news conference here. “We continue to call for her release.”

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Rangoon locked down ahead of Aung San Suu Kyi trial

From The Times Online

Squads of pro-government militia men were brought into the area around Rangoon’s Insein Prison, and local shops were ordered to close, as the authorities acted to pre-empt public anger ahead of tomorrow’s trial of the Burmese democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

According to Burmese journalists in Rangoon, members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association and the Swan Arr Shin paramilitary group have taken up positions close to government buildings and monasteries. They are stopping and searching cars and pedestrians, apparently fearing a repeat of the events of September 2007, when tens of thousands of Buddhist monks led anti-government protests which were violently quashed.

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Aung San Suu Kyi taken from “house arrest” and sent to Insein Prison

From The New York Times

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was taken to prison by Myanmar security officials on Thursday morning and was scheduled to stand trial later in the day for allowing an American man to stay overnight in her home, an apparent violation of her long-term house arrest, her lawyer said.

The American, identified as John William Yettaw, of Falcon, Mo., swam across a lake in central Yangon last week and sneaked into Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s heavily guarded residential compound. She pleaded with him to leave, her lawyer said in an interview on Thursday, but he complained of cramping and she allowed him to stay.

The lawyer, U Kyi Win, called Mr. Yettaw “a nutty fellow.”

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Burmese Monk Talks about Compassion, Obama in Mahachai

From Irrawaddy

About 10,000 Burmese migrant workers living in Mahachai, in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon Province, attended a Buddhist sermon on compassion given by Dr Ashin Nyanissara, a famous Burmese monk, on Monday night, said one of the organizers of the talk.

Dr Ashin Nyanissara, who is better known as Sitagu Sayadaw, is the abbot of the Sitagu International Buddhist Missionary Center in Sagaing and one of Burma’s most respected monks. He has been active in raising funds for relief efforts in the Irrawaddy delta, where over 130,000 people were killed by Cyclone Nagris on May 2-3.

Monday’s talk raised about 400,000 baht (US $11,450) in donations, according to Ashin Wayama Sayadaw, a monk who helped organize the event.

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Burma: Struggling for human rights

From Mizzima News

December 10th marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations, to which military-ruled Burma is party.

While the world marks the occasion, Burmese continue to live without their basic rights, denied by their military rulers, says David Scott Mathieson, Burma consultant for the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), who has closely monitored human rights developments in Burma for years.

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Students take a STAND to help Darfur, Myanmar

Ed. Note: Saw this news today in my local paper and was very proud of it. These are kids from the high school I attended and graduated from in 1992.

From The Cape Cod Times

A growing number of Harwich High School students are passing up their chicken quesadillas and other school lunches this week to focus on international tragedies.

The 25 to 30 members of the school’s chapter of STAND, the student-led division of the Genocide Intervention Network, are fasting dawn to dusk to raise money to protect civilians under attack in Darfur, part of the Sudan, and in Myanmar, which was renamed from Burma by its military rulers.

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Gambira, Five Others Sent to Remote Prisons

From The Irrawaddy

At least six political activists including the prominent Buddhist monk Ashin Gambira, one of the leaders in the September demonstrations last year, were sent to prisons in remote areas around Burma on Monday, said reliable sources in Rangoon.

Ashin Gambira, who received the longest prison term of 68 years, was transferred from Insein Prison to Hkamti Prison in Sagaing Division while his older brother, Aung Kyaw Kyaw, was sent from Insein Prison to Taunggyi Prison in Shan State in eastern Burma, according to a source who requested anonymity.

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To school, to school… if only it were in Singapore.

From The Straits Times

It is 5.30am. The towering 100m Shwe Dagon Pagoda is draped in morning mist. Inside the temple complex is a hive of activity. Prayers swirl through the air. Monks swathed in burgundy robes chant the sutras, and knots of Myanmar nationals, in their traditional longyi dress, sit cross-legged, eyes closed, mouthing earnest prayers.

Under a banyan sits Mr Khaw Myint, 45, a father of three. He glances occasionally at his watch but does not hurry. He has come to Yangon’s most sacred shrine to offer thanks for his 16-year-old son passing the all-important Myanmar high school matriculation examinations.

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