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H.H. the Dalai Lama Speaks on Compassion at Event Honoring India

Posted on 2002/12/31 8:48:02 ( 816 reads )

Source: Rajiv Malik, HPI Correspondent Delhi

NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 18, 2002: Hundreds of Tibetans and a large number of New Delhi's social elite gathered to attend the closing ceremony of the Tibetan Festival of Compassion. The festival included the presentation of the Light of Truth Award to The People of India. The award has been instituted by the International Campaign for Tibet, whose chairman, Richard Gere, was also present at the function. The award was presented to India for its continuing support of the Tibetans and was received on behalf of the People of India by Sri Rabi Ray, former speaker of Lok Sabha [lower house]. His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivered his keynote speech on the subject of "Compassion: An antidote to Terrorism." In his address His Holiness said, "Compassion is a human emotion that is there in every human being since his birth. Compassion is a part of a human being. And it is compassion which gives a person a deeper satisfaction and is the basis of permanent happiness. Compassion is nothing special for Tibetans, it is a way of their life." His Holiness continued, "Compassion is the essence of all religions despite there being philosophical differences in them. Compassion can transform the human mind and human emotions. Human beings all over the world today are interdependent and interconnected. We have to realize that our future depends on others. Human future depends on inter-relationships. You have to see everything from this point of view. Then you will perceive the complete picture of the humanity and of the world." In his speech Richard Gere said that there was a very special relationship between India and Tibet. Mr. Gere said, "It is because of India's support that the Tibetans have been able to rebuild their secular and monastic traditions even while living in exile. This has made Tibetan Buddhism available to people from around the world, like myself."

Angkor Temples, Jewel of Cambodian Heritage, Under Threat From Tourists

Posted on 2002/12/31 8:47:02 ( 1046 reads )

Source: Associated Press

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA, December 29, 2002: Until recently, Cambodia was happy to let the temples of Angkor exist as a beacon of Khmer pride, rising from a jungle canopy like jewels dotting a green silk scarf. Now the ancient Buddhist and Hindu monuments have become the pillars of Cambodia's nascent tourism industry, and officials are counting on them to lift the country out of a downward economic spiral. But Cambodia's culture leaders warn that the very survival of the 9th-14th century temples may be in jeopardy as planeloads of invasive tourists trample through the hallowed corridors, climb the stone steps to the shrines and brush grubby fingers on the magnificent bas reliefs of Gods and Goddesses. The concerns are typical of the debate going on at ancient monuments around the world -- from the Pyramids of Egypt to the Taj Mahal in India -- on how to balance the hunger for tourism dollars with the need to protect the stunning legacies for future generations. The Cambodian government has vowed it will do everything to protect the 40 or so sacred structures, located on the outskirts of the northern town of Siem Reap. Some 250,000 foreign tourists visited the temples in 2001, up from 60,000 in 1999, according to government figures. The government's goal is to host 1 million annually by 2010. Tens of thousands of Cambodians also visit each year. Until five years ago, a visitor to Angkor could be virtually alone while watching the sunset from Phnom Bakeng, a 70-meter (230- feet) hill between Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Today, the peak is elbow to elbow with people at dusk and its base is a quagmire of honking tour buses, cars and motorbikes jostling for parking space that doesn't exist. "It's a view pollution," Teneishvili, the UNESCO official, said. There are varying figures for income generated by tourism. Estimates range from US$200 million to $450 million in 2001, making tourism a major engine driving the economy that largely depends on foreign money. "Angkor can help the whole country by bringing people with money to Cambodia," said Chap Nhalyvudh, the governor of Siem Reap province, noting how tourism kick-started neighboring Thailand's economy 40 years ago.

World Championship of Liars

Posted on 2002/12/31 8:46:02 ( 949 reads )


BURLINGTON, UNITED STATES, December 31, 2002: You probably don't know this, and it has nothing to do with Hinduism, but Sandi Weld of Sorrento, Florida, just won the 72nd World Champion Liar Contest over hundreds of competitors. Weld won by writing: "When I moved to Iron Mountain, Michigan, (a real mining town) I brought my pet sheep. He grazed on the mineral rich grass. When it came time to shear it in the spring, I ended up with nine pounds of steel wool." R.M. Eimermann, of Oconomowoc, received an honorable mention for saying his brother Ollie is so smart he can do crossword puzzles without looking at the clues. Gene Lasch, of Shawno, was mentioned for writing that when he speaks, his wife listens. And Pleasant Praire's Wayne Everts was honored for his lie about his father's horse, who was so smart, he could put on his own shoes.

Chennai High Court Rules on Personal Laws

Posted on 2002/12/30 8:49:02 ( 1098 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, December 30, 2002: In a significant ruling, the Chennai high court on Friday said that Personal Laws cannot be declared void, since they do not come under the ambit of the Constitution. The ruling came when a division bench, comprising Justice R. Jayasimha Babu and Justice G. Padmanabhan, dismissed a petition by a Muslim divorcee, Parveen Akhtar, who sought to declare the Talaq-ul-biddat, a form of divorce followed by the Muslim community, "void and unconstitutional." The petitioner contended that the Koran did not provide for Talaq-ul-biddat, under which one can seek divorce by pronouncing talaq ("divorce") in the presence of two witnesses. Solicitor General B. G. Gopalan, appearing on the behalf of The Union ministry of law and justice, one of the respondents, argued that Section two of the Muslim Personal Law [Shariat] Application Act of 1937 does not come under the purview of the Constitution. Some Muslim organizations also told the court not to interfere in personal laws. HPI adds: Personal laws govern marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and related family issues. In India, each religious community has its own personal laws. In other countries, such as the USA, there is a one common civil code applicable to everyone on these matters. The existence of these separate personal laws, which is contrary to the concept of a secular state, is a perennial issue in India, especially with regard to women's rights.

Concert Revives Awareness of India's Classical Instruments

Posted on 2002/12/30 8:48:02 ( 962 reads )


NEW DELHI,INDIA, December 29, 2002: A three-day concert was held in Bhopal to revive people's interest in classical music instruments. The instruments, which played a big part in palace concerts, are slowly on the way out with the advent of fast-paced music. Lack of trained musicians also have led to a decline in the use of such instruments like the veena, santoor and flute-like sundari. "We used to think that sarangi was dying down, santoor was dying down, and veena was dying down, but when shows like these are organized, people and artists get enthused and the artists start practicing with full vigor," said Om Prakash Chaurasia, organizer of the concert. Artists, who had come mainly from the cities of Lucknow, Kanpur and Varanasi, said they wanted to impart their traditional knowledge to the present generation.

Saris Lose Popularity in Tamil Nadu

Posted on 2002/12/30 8:47:02 ( 863 reads )


TAMIL NADU, INDIA, December 27, 2002: South India is the treasure trove of silk saris with gold embroidery -- the six yards of fabric has been draped in styles seen today for centuries. However, today many younger women feel it's too cumbersome for daily wear. Younger girls for centuries have worn the half sari (pavadai thavani) consisting of a skirt and half a sari draped around the body. It is very elegant and something that mothers and grandmothers wanted their daughters to wear, especially at weddings. But the thavani is no longer popular, not even the pattu pavadai or silk long skirt. A sure indicator is that new malls coming up all across Tamil Nadu no longer display saris or thavanis on their mannequins. An entire generation of teenagers have taken to Western and north Indian attire. On college campuses, jeans and salwar kameez can be seen everywhere.

Source Correction for "Indian"

Posted on 2002/12/30 8:46:02 ( 1007 reads )


UNITED STATES, December 30, 2002: A recent story on the origin of the word "Indian" as it applies to Native Americans gave an incorrect source. Readers wishing further information or have information to add may contact "source" above.

Dakshineshwar Ganges Ghats to be Renovated

Posted on 2002/12/29 8:49:02 ( 959 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 28, 2002: Renovation work on the historic Dakshineshwar ghats in West Bengal is expected to start within a month. Ghats are the steps, often hundreds of feet wide, which lead down into a river or lake, allowing easy access fetching water, bathing, etc. The central tourism and shipping ministries have also decided to undertake the repair of about 40 other ghats in Kolkata with the involvement of the state government. Stating this, Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandopadhyay said he had a meeting with the concerned ministers here yesterday to go over the details of the proposed project. The proposal is to renovate and beautify all ghats along the river.

Rajasthan's Famous Jain Temple Insured

Posted on 2002/12/29 8:48:02 ( 881 reads )


JAIPUR, INDIA, December 28, 2002: The Akshardham temple attack in Gujarat last month opened the eyes of temple managements all over the India to the threat of terrorism. Taking steps to improve security in this direction, the temple management of the world famous Shri Jain Shwetambar Nakodha Parvathnath temple in Rajasthan has insured its property and pilgrims with the Oriental Insurance Company. The insurance, for US$9 million, which will cover the temple premises, temple jewelry and the dharmshalas against all kinds of threats -- fire, accident, earthquakes, riots and even attacks by terrorists.

Pregnant Women in Los Angeles Turn to Yoga for Exercise and Comfort

Posted on 2002/12/29 8:47:02 ( 828 reads )


LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES, December 16, 2002: Women in Los Angeles are turning to yoga for exercise, emotional support, and to be with others who are also pregnant. One class is taught by Seva Simran Siri Kaur Khalsa, a certified prenatal yoga instructor. She teaches chanting, stretching, deep breathing, strengthening exercises, and visualizations. Khalsa's goal is to ensure that the women attending her class have flexible spines, strong immune systems and healthy auras. "Anytime you are doing difficult things, remember, this is all preparation for labor. Think ... 'I am good. I am beautiful. I am a powerful woman,' " says Khalsa. The class ends with a prayer for the baby growing inside the pregnant women and a song about sunshine and love. After class, the women talk while drinking cardamom tea and eating graham crackers. Heather Catalena, who is eight months pregnant, attends the yoga class every week and says, "I come for the spiritual aspect of it. There is a sense of calm I get here that I do not get anywhere else. One night a week I can feel centered and focused on the pregnancy." Another woman says, "This yoga class is the one place in my high-speed life where I have the chance to slow down and reflect on the miracle of what is happening inside me."

Vastu, a Registered Trademark in Germany

Posted on 2002/12/29 8:46:02 ( 855 reads )


BERLIN, GERMANY, Dec 26, 2002: After the patents of neem and turmeric, it is now the turn of Vastu, an ancient Indian architectural philosophy. It was recently discovered by the Delhi-based Vastu Shastra Institute that Vastu had been registered as a trademark nearly five years ago by a German company. They are considering legal recourse against the registration. "We found out that the term Vastu is a registered trademark in Germany and under the World Trade Organization rules, companies in other countries cannot use the word Vastu in any commercial venture. We are planning to fight the registration and will examine what legal recourse we can take under the German trademark law," Ashwini Bansal, director of the institute, said in New Delhi. Bansal said the fact came to light during his interaction with German Vastu scholar Marcus Schmieke, who had been taken to court by a Germany-based company Samhita, which has registered the term, for using Vastu in his academy's name. Subsequently, he had to change the name of his academy from Vastu Academy to "Vasati." When contacted Schmieke said that the trademark for Vastu was given to Samhita, a Maharishi Mahesh Yogi run institute, sometime in 1998-99. Bansal said no Indian company has registered the term Vastu, even though the science has existed in the country since the Vedic period. "We find the mention of Vastu in the Rig Veda," he said.

Genetically Modified Crops Result in Herbicide-Resistant Weeds

Posted on 2002/12/29 8:45:02 ( 924 reads )


UNITED STATES, December 29, 2002: With the introduction of GM (genetically modified) corn, soybeans and other crops, a debate has emerged over their long-term effectiveness and safety within the present biological environment. One concern has been the weeds would evolve to resist the herbicides used to destroy them, rendering them immune to the poisons. This concern voiced by some scientists appears to have become reality in less than a decade. GM corn is resistant to Roundup, a popular and effective herbicide. Farmers can spray their GM corn crop with Roundup to kill weeds, but leave the corn unharmed. But weeds resistent to Roundup have already appeared in many countries. Not only is the benefit to the crop being reduced or eliminated, "super weeds" have been created. For further information, see "source" above, which is not an environmentalist site, but one dedicated to commercial agriculture.

Lottery Winner Puts Family, God First

Posted on 2002/12/29 8:44:02 ( 839 reads )


WEST VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, December 26, 2002: Andrew Jackson "Jack" Whittaker J., a contractor in West Virginia, won the US$113.4 million Powerball payout from the Multi-State Lottery Association on Thursday. Mr. Whittaker said to interviewers that work, family and God have long been the three most important things in his life, and he said the winnings won't change that. Mr. Whittaker, who has tithed for many years, is going to give $17 million, or 10 percent of his gross lottery winnings, to three Church of God pastors to create a fund to help the poor. "I truly believe this is an opportunity for me to give testimony about tithing and spreading wealth." Tithing is also an ancient Hindu practice.

Radio Adhyatma Jyoti on the Air From Nepal

Posted on 2002/12/28 8:49:02 ( 2150 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, December 28, 2002: FM Adhyatma Jyoti 104.80 MHz is the only one full time (12 Hours) spiritual FM radio station from Nepal. Its purpose is to preserve and promote cultural, religious and spiritual norms and values in turn contributing what they can to make the world more peaceful and better to live in. Their programs mainly consists of extracting pearl-like knowledge from our ancestors. The lessons of love, brotherhood, meditation, yoga, etc. are still practical and up to date. the organization highly appreciates any form of help and support from outsiders to make their mission a success. Readers wishing to help or seeking additional information may contact "source" above.

Conversion Activity Among the Ethnic Nepalese

Posted on 2002/12/28 8:48:02 ( 919 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, December 23, 2002: The following is a recent article from a Christian group sending missionaries into Nepal: "On December 2, twelve mothers and I left for Nepal to visit four branch churches in the Himalaya Mountain area. We went as far as we could by vehicle; then we walked from church to church. I taught the women, and the mothers from our home church shared their testimonies. In one place the mothers were very old -- one was 90. In every place, we had wonderful fellowship and the women received a special blessing from God. We slept in the churches at night and held our meetings during daylight hours. The believers from the host churches prepared our meals. We didn't have any night meetings as the political situation [activity of rebels in the area] is very unstable. The people of these places are very poor and live in miserable conditions. We were very touched to see their impoverished condition, but praise God that we were able to encourage them. The last place we went had a larger and better meeting hall than the others. We rested there and had fellowship with the mothers both old and young. The next day we went to a hill town where we rented two cars and drove two hours to the location of a watchtower on a hilltop. We all climbed up and from there we looked in all directions and prayed for Nepal...The mothers of our church are now praying to go out to other places and minister to our sisters in the Lord..." HPI adds: It is illegal to convert a person from one religion to another in Nepal, but the law is not enforced.

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