The meeting was about 3 hours, and had representatives from most of the major religions in Australia, with indigenous and Hindus being notable exceptions. There was a warm and inclusive feeling at the meeting, and I felt welcomed and encouraged to participate. Chatham House rule applied. Many of the representatives were very professional, in the sense that they are actively employed or formally studying in this area. As such they brought a detailed and informed perspective that I was not able to do.
The focus on the meeting was "strong harms" that people have faced due to their religion. This includes things such as physical violence, terrorist acts, abuse, and the like.
The major religions that suffer this are Islam and Judaism. While it is well known that Islam suffers from bad image—the number of negative articles in Murdoch press is quite shocking—but I did not realize how difficult it is in modern Australia for the Jewish community. Apparently they have to have serious security at events on a regular basis. One person told of when they attended a Jewish event, and their shock when their car was canned for bombs.
Accurate data is hard to come by, and it seems that Australia, unlike US, Canada, and UK, fails to keep any records of religiously-motivated harm. Some data collection is being done by the religious communities themselves, but it is very patchy. Lacking accurate data it is virtually impossible to get government to do anything.
Another area that was identified was lack of training and resources among police. Cops often do not know how to differentiate between religious or ethic/racial incidents, and of course, this is not easy. But with a proliferation of people from different backgrounds, languages, religions, and so on in Oz, it becomes essential to understand what the motivation is for an incident.
Despite the lack of data, there was a strong agreement among participants that Australia was seeing a major rise in religiously-motivated harm. This obviously relates to the rise of the alt-right globally. We did not discuss the role of Australia's current administration in enabling or promoting such views.
One proposal that was broadly supported was setting up an interfaith consultation council at the federal level. APRO has, in fact, proposed this and discussed it a number of years ago, but it has never gained traction. Perhaps this time will be different.
From a Buddhist perspective, I said that we do not experience, to my knowledge, such "serious harms". We do however suffer from many structural forms of discrimination. I mentioned, as an example, our long-term and ongoing efforts to get a more appropriate visa for Buddhist monastics. I expressed the Buddhist community's solidarity with other religious groups, and invited them to contact us whenever they need support. I also mentioned that the Buddhist community feels a strong connection with their countries of origin, and that events in the home countries, such as the Easter Sunday attack in Sri Lanka, are felt deeply and painfully here. The Buddhist community in Australia has been very strong and pro-active in working together on an interfaith basis in response to such problems.
I was honored to take part on behalf of the Buddhist community! Please let me know if there is any other questions. Also, please feel free to use the above and modify it if you wish to share or post, etc.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not over yet. We need to keep looking after ourselves and our community to stop the virus spreading.
Due to increased cases in Victoria, some restrictions have changed. From 22 June 2020:
· You cannot have more than five visitors in your home
· You cannot gather outdoors with more than 10 people
· Schools, libraries, places of worship and businesses remain open
· Stay close to home and do not travel if possible
The Book was first published in 1942. The present edition has been revised and expanded. Though primarily intended for the students and beginners rather than scholars, the reader will find it an extremely valuable handbook, offering a sound foundation to the basic tenets of Buddhism as found in its original Pali tradition.
You are invited to a multifaith gathering to acknowledge Victoria’s bushfire crisis
Join Victoria’s faith and political leaders for a special multifaith gathering on the steps of Parliament House on Tuesday 4 February 2020.
Hosted by the Faith Communities Council of Victoria and the Multifaith Advisory Group (convened by the Victorian Multicultural Commission), the gathering will bring Victorians together to pray for those who have lost their lives and for the devastation of land, property and wildlife caused by the recent bushfires.
Together, we will show our appreciation and say thanks to the firefighters, emergency services and volunteers for their dedication, bravery and service.
We will also demonstrate our support for leaders on all sides of politics as they continue to lead our state through this unprecedented tragedy.
With the fire season not yet over and with relief and recovery efforts expected to take months, if not years, this event will demonstrate the stren
I consider myself to be one of the extremely lucky ones to study the Dharma at the Phap Bao temple every Sunday with awise, caring and compassionate teacher like Ven. Bhikkuni Giac Anh. The classes are like an endless supply of cool and pure water from a gentle stream that my Dharma friends and I can always drink from to quench our thirst and purify our body and mind.Over the years, I have seen incremental improvements in myselfsuch as being calmer, learning and practicing the Dharma better and applying the practical advice from my Teacher to better deal with everyday challenges.
INTRODUCTION "WITHIN A TREE, THERE IS A FLOWER
WITHIN A ROCK, THERE IS A FLAME" BY SENIOR VENERABLE THICH NGUYEN TANG, QUANG DUC MONASTERY MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA.
"...The gift of the Dhamma excels all gifts; the taste of the Dhamma excels all tastes, and delight in the Dhamma excels all delights. The eradication of craving (i.e., attainment of arahatship) overcomes all ills (samsara dukkha).
The gift of the Dhamma is the greatest giving among the all other givings. The one who is well trained in the Dhamma will share his understanding of the Dhamma either by writing a book, by preaching Dhamma, by discussing Dhamma, or by writing an article. Master Thich Nguyen Tang has used all these methods in his contribution to the Dhamma. Giving food or clothes or any other material items to a person makes them happy and they indeed will survive in the world, but they cannot get rid of this terrible circle of birth and death. It can be done only by understanding the noble Dhamma. Thus, the wr
Freedom, democracy and human rights together with commerce and investments in the economy, to bring about social order and stability, not unlike light and the atmosphere, are essential requirements for human life in the expanse of a world in full progress.
Hong Kong is a former British colony returned to China in 1997 and its people are guaranteed basic freedoms under the “One Country, Two Systems” regime, in order to administer the proper maintenance and development of this territory.
The Buddha’s ethical teachings, these essential points of the eightfold path aim at promoting as well as perfecting the three heads of Buddhist training and discipline, namely (a) Ethical Conduct (b) Mental Discipline and (c) Wisdom. According to the capacity of each individual harmoniously cultivated, these points are all linked together and each helps the cultivation of the others.
Buddhism is not a religion for men just to follow but to learn, to understand, to practise, to gain experience. When men come to know the Buddha’s teaching and perhaps practise it to some extent, sometimes they wish to make the Dhamma their direction in life or their guide through life. At that time, their thoughts turn to become a Buddhist.
The Catering Unit of Minh Quang Retreat in Sydney, Australia has offered good services in a very solemn and deliciated manner and its very first meal reminded me of the nice smell of the Bowl of Rice of Fragrance in the old times.