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Temple Staff Resorts to Strike
Posted on 2000/12/8 22:48:02 ( 859 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, December 8, 2000: Normal activity in more than 36,000 temples in Tamil Nadu, India's southern-most state, was interrupted as temple employees went on a day's stay-in strike in support of their 15-point charter of demands. They are asking for pay parity with other temple staff, pension and other benefits. According to official sources, the strike was near-total success with about 80 percent of the employees participating. Pay for temple employees is fixed on the basis of revenue of the temples. The result of this in many small temples is that priests and employees are getting a pay of less than US$2.00 a month. Even this meagre salary is not paid regularly, according to employees. The normal pujas of the day were still conducted by all priests, but special requests for archana were not available.




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Asian Domestic Violence in America
Posted on 2000/12/8 22:47:02 ( 863 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Imagine travelling thousands of miles away from home to marry a man in a country where the language and culture are foreign, only to find out that your husband, supported by your in-laws, is a wife-beater. Isolated and terrified, many of these Asian women from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are battered, beaten and burned at the hands of those who should be offering love and nourishment. An organization called Sakhi, "female friend," has been in operation in New York City for over 10 years. A phone call away, this support group offers language assistance and legal advice in court cases, finds women places to live and teaches them about their rights in America. Sakhi volunteers, who are of Asian origin themselves, work with the abused women until they have established themselves. A database is now in place at Sakhi to log in the 15-30 new calls for help each month. Dr. Margaret Abraham, a Ph.D. from Syracuse and head of the sociology department at Hofstra University, has published her book, "Speaking the Unspeakable: Marital Violence Among South Asian Immigrants in the United States." Doctor Abraham believes that the Asian community needs to be aware of and take action to rectify its social problems. By attending Hindu temple committee meetings with its campaign, Sakhi is trying a new approach to make the community accountable for the domestic violence.




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Corporal Punishment
Posted on 2000/12/8 22:46:02 ( 933 reads )


Source: Frontier Post, December 4,2000





LAHORE, PAKISTAN: The government of Punjab, Pakistan's second largest state, joined other countries in eliminating hitting of children in school. The Frontier Post states,"Directives have been issued to all private and public sector educational institutes strictly banning teachers from awarding corporal punishment to students." If non-compliance persists, disciplinary action will be brought against the teachers involved.




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Sacred River Discovered in Cambodia
Posted on 2000/12/7 22:49:02 ( 985 reads )


Source: Sunday Times, London





CAMBODIA, VIETNAM: In the jungle of Cambodia, at the site of Phnom Kulen, 20 miles from the temple complex at Angkor Wat, a priceless devotional work of art, the "River of a Thousand Lingas," has been discovered. Carved in the rock of a riverbed, the Siva Lingas blessed the water flowing over them from the mountain as it irrigated the rice paddy fields or provided a water source to the ancient city of Angkor on the plains. Similar river carvings exist in India. Dating as far back as 802 ce, when the Hindu Khmer Empire ruled most of IndoChina, the Phnom Kulen plateau has multiple temples with sculptures of elephants and lions six meters high. However, the Vietnamese war has left its mark on this holy site. The area is infested with landmines and the Cambodian government, lacking in funds to nurture the temples, has tendered its development out to a company headed by Seang Nam, the MP for Siem Reap. A road has been cleared to the Phnom Kulen temples where there are plans for a hotel. Looters are stealing precious carvings from the site to sell in Bangkok.




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Time Magazine Names Six Innovators in Religion
Posted on 2000/12/7 22:48:02 ( 942 reads )


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USA: Time Magazine has named a black Pentecostal megachurch leader in Dallas and the founder of the Internet's hottest religion-based Web site among its six "innovators" in the world of religion and spirituality. Cable network CNN is preparing a televised companion to the 18-month series, which Time launched in June. Spiritual leaders cited by the magazine and sharing the honors are as follows: Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the 26,000-member Potter's House in Dallas and a prophet of the "prosperity gospel;" Rev. Virgilio Elizondo of the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas, who pioneered the belief that Jesus was of mixed racial heritage; Steve Waldman, a 38-year-old Internet entrepreneur who founded Beliefnet.com, the Web's hottest religion site; Byron Kate, a 58-year-old divorced grandmother who developed "The Work," a New Age-Zen Buddhist program to help people take responsibility for life's problems; Tariq Ramadan, a Geneva-based lecturer who says European Muslims need to develop an "Independent Islam;" Jan Willis, a professor of Buddhism at Wesleyan University, who was able to find peace in a racist society through Buddhist meditation.




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Houston's Thriving Vietnam Buddhist Center
Posted on 2000/12/7 22:47:02 ( 919 reads )


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SUGAR LAND, TEXAS: Houston is home to over 100,000 Vietnamese immigrants. The city's Vietnamese population is second only in size to that of Los Angeles. Helping to unify the large immigrant population is the Vietnam Buddhist Center located on 10 acres in suburban Houston. Along with an 8,000-square-foot temple containing a 35-foot-high Buddha, the property houses a monastery where monks live and train. Under the guidance of Thich Nguyen Hahn, the monastery's abbot and founder, about 20 resident monks serve the community by helping the areas newcomers adjust to American life while preserving the Buddhist philosophy and Vietnamese culture. Since 1994 when construction began, the center has been gaining recognition. Immigrants and visitors from all parts of the country travel to the monastery, which Hahn is working to make an international training facility.




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Gujarat Ayurved University Advocating Global Standards
Posted on 2000/12/7 22:46:02 ( 907 reads )


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JAMNAGAR, INDIA: The second international seminar on ayurveda is being held in Jamnagar, India from January 5-7, 2001. This will coincide with the Gujarat Ayurved University's 35th Foundation Day. Taking a leading role in ayurvedic medicine, the university has advocated that a "Memorandum of Understanding" to create uniform standards for ayurvedic practice and medicines be signed between six countries; namely Australia, Japan, Argentina, The Netherlands, Italy and Germany, as well as the State of California. Proposals are in the final stages for the official signing of the memorandum on January 5, 2001. The Naami Institute of Russia has already connected itself with India and the university. Through this process of affiliation, uniformity of education and training programs will be discussed at the international seminar, as well as the availability of raw materials, and clinical aspects of ayurveda.




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Vandals Target Temple Site
Posted on 2000/12/6 22:49:02 ( 930 reads )


Source: Express & Star News Paper, November 30, 2000





SMETHWICK, ENGLAND: Vandals have smashed down the walls of a US$1.6 million temple and community centre being built in Smethwick, causing damage put at $16,000. Community leaders have condemned the "misguided, weak minded" thugs and say they are very much hurt by the attack on the Durga Bhawan site in Spon Lane south. The vandals used scaffolding poles stored on the site to demolish the six-foot-high, partially-built walls of the Hindu temple last night. It followed the theft of tools worth $8,000 from the building site two months ago. Work on the building started in August, and the Hindu Cultural Resource Sandwell, which spent ten years planning the community facility, hoped to open in August, 2001. The temple and community center complex will house exhibition, conference, wedding, leisure and sports facilities, a day centre for the elderly, a youth wing, and counselling and legal services. Classes will also be run in a range of subjects, including History, English, music, languages and literacy.




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Birmingham Loves Ramayana
Posted on 2000/12/6 22:48:02 ( 931 reads )


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BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, October 26, 2000: Epics are everywhere. Theatre critic Micheal Billington was captivated by a new version of the legendary Sanskrit saga, the "Ramayana," adapted by Peter Oswald and produced by Indhu Rubasingham, hailing it "witty and inventive" delighting the large, multiracial audience. He wrote, "What struck me was its blend of the spiritual and the secular. It is an adventure story, but the basic themes are universal: sacrifice, fidelity, sexual and fraternal love, the conflict of good and evil. What is impressive about Oswald's version is the way it captures both the story's Hindu origins and its cross-cultural appeal. If the narrative leaps lightly over East-West barriers so, too, does Rubasingham's production, which is characterized by its merry eclecticism. In an age of parsimony it is also astonishing to see 21 actors and two musicians on stage. From a vast company, I would single out Gerald Kyd as a stately, turquoise Rama, Andrew French as the rapacious Ravana, Miltos Yerolemou as a hairy, Pan-like Lord Hanuman and Charlotte Bicknell, who has a remarkable capacity to stay in character while dangling upside down from a rope. Erratic lighting aside, this is a totally charming show that gives us access to an Indian classic and combines uplifting spiritual odyssey with old-fashioned magic."




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Hindu Books Now Available in Zulu
Posted on 2000/12/6 22:47:02 ( 894 reads )


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: The first two in a series of books on Hinduism in indigenous languages were released at a conference focusing on commonalities in Indian and African culture. The books written in Zulu and several pamphlets in Xhosa were launched as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of Africa's Arya Pratinidhi Sabha (APS). For the first time, the South Africans of African culture have the opportunity to discover the cultural background of the Indian people and the basic tenets of Hinduism in their own languages. South Africa Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi lauded the books and the Indian community for its cross-cultural exchange and promoting a greater tolerance, acceptance and affinity among the people of South Africa.




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Pepsi's High-Profile Indian Executive
Posted on 2000/12/6 22:46:02 ( 857 reads )


Source: Reuters, December 4, 2000





NEW YORK, NEW YORK: PepsiCo's current chief, Roger Enrico, announced that Indra Nooyi will expand her duties as PepsiCo's chief financial officer and assume the additional post of president. The change is connected with PepsiCo's US$13.4 billion acquisition of Quaker Oats Co. next year. This will make her the highest-ranking Indian-born woman in corporate America. Born in India, Nooyi, 44, came to the United States in 1978 to attend Yale University's Graduate School of Management. Since joining PepsiCo six years ago, she has been directly involved in all major strategy moves the company has made. Nooyi, maintains a "puja" (Hindu prayer) room in the Greenwich, Connecticut home she shares with her husband and two daughters. Her family and her Hindu faith provide a balance for her high-powered business career.




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Pilgrimage on Grand Scale
Posted on 2000/12/5 22:49:02 ( 869 reads )


Source: Free Press Journal, November 30, 2000





ALLAHABAD, INDIA: Once every 12 years, a pilgrimage takes place on a grand scale at the confluence, "Sangam," of the Rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and celestial Saraswati in Allahabad. The months-long Maha Kumbha Mela will bring 70 million devotees from all over India and many other countries to bathe in the Sangam for purification. In the past, devotional fervor has led to injuries on main bathing days. To compensate, the army has offered to build helipads for emergency landing of helicopters. However, the Kumbh Mela committee felt that a helicopter landing would only escalate any emergency situation. In preparation for the pilgrims, ponds have been created to collect sewer water so that the River Ganga has pollution-free water. Pontoon bridges are being built across the Yamuna and 50 additional trains will be transporting people to and from Allahabad -- but this number of trains is acknowledged to be insufficient to handle the massive crowds expected on the main bathing days.




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Bali Hindu Priest Protests Sea Turtle Massacre
Posted on 2000/12/5 22:48:02 ( 1018 reads )


Source: http//:article archives0,4273,4095631,00html





TANJUNG, BALI (November 24, 2000): Tanjung Benoa is a fishing village on the idyllic south-east coast of Bali with fishermen tending their ageing boats and small Hindu temples on the shoreline. But underneath this veneer of normality, Tanjung is the centre of a deadly illegal trade in tortoise shell and meat that is threatening to exterminate one of the world's most ancient species. Dozens of majestic green sea turtles are being brutally slaughtered, many of them for export to Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Turtle experts based in Australia believe that at the turn of the last century the region was home to up to one third of the world's turtles -- a time when sailors claimed one could walk from one island to another on the backs of turtles. The scale of the slaughter in recent decades, especially the past 10 years, has been so great that the figure is now down to five percent. The government gave special dispensation to Bali, in the form of a 5,000-animal annual quota for religious and traditional village ceremonies that are part of Balinese culture. But the quota was abused, say the Indonesian campaigning group, Animal Conservation For Life. Responding to pressure, the Balinese governor withdrew the quota and banned turtle trading and consumption. Far more threatening to illegal traders are the calls from Balinese religious leaders to stop the turtle trade altogether. Hindu high priests such as Ida Pedanda Gede Ngurah Kaleran are now admitting that turtles are not crucial for religious or traditional rituals. "Substitutes can be used," he says. "Either other animals or even virtual animals in the form of drawings or models. Nowhere does it say that the actual animal has to be killed." Such slaughter of turtles goes against Hindu teaching, he says. "Hindus are not allowed to be violent against others of God's creatures. What is going on with the turtles certainly contravenes that teaching."




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New College-Level Online Course On Vegetarianism
Posted on 2000/12/5 22:47:02 ( 795 reads )


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A college-level online course on vegetarianism is now available, according to Vegetarian Resource Group. It is taught by Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD. Originally designed as an advanced nutrition class for culinary students, the course has been expanded to include topics of interest for everyone interested in food, health, small business and vegetarianism. Consumers can learn more about vegetarian cooking; institutional food service staff and managers can expand their knowledge about new products and cooking styles and restaurateurs will certainly be better able to please their vegan diners. Topics will include types of vegetarians, recipe and menu design, careers in vegetarian food services, ethnic cuisines, ingredient selection, vegetarian nutrition and health trends and vegetarian business topics. College credit is optional and the course is open to the public. The cost for the course is $100. There is an additional cost to receive college credit.




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Priests and People Pray for Rain
Posted on 2000/12/4 22:49:02 ( 985 reads )


Source: Nai Duniya [Hindi], November 28, 2000





INDORE, MADHYA PRADESH: From November 13 to 23, massive ceremonies were heldd in Tarana area to alleviate a drought. Eleven brahmins brought from Ujjain did 121 ceremonial bathings of Lord Siva at the local Shri Tilbhandeshwar Mahadev Temple. They also did 121 rudrabhishekas in praise of Lord Siva, as well as chanted the famed Mahamrityunjaya mantra to Siva 250,001 times. Revenue officials helped organize the chanting of "Om Namah Sivaya" more than 100 million times by priests of five hundred temples, as well as people of the villages and cities. People also sang bhajana every night. One 12-year-old boy did Om Nama Sivaya 70,000 times in two days. In another instance, local Muslims participated in the chanting.




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