Our friends at Metta Forest Monastery, whose buildings and grounds were spared by the terrible September October fires in southern California, have not been so lucky with their website. Their site is down and it might be nice for some web-savvy friendly Buddhist webmaster-type in southern California to lend a hand. Their contact information is here. I visited Metta Forest a while ago and had a wonderful time. So why aren’t I living there as a renunciate and earning merit for you all? Sigh.

BURMA: Blood rubies, bloodshed, kleptocratic bureaucrats, monks bludgeoned in the streets, and now bird flu. Here’s an opinion piece about the suffering of Muslim refugees in Burma — Burma is 4% Muslim, most coming from neighboring Bangladesh. Bangladesh itself is suffering acutely now, with hundreds of thousands homeless from the typhoon cyclone. The U.S. military, very nobly and ably doing the work it should be doing instead of being slowly bled in Iraq, is helping ameliorate the situation.

TIBET: Reuters tells us that the Dalai Lama is a thorn in China’s side and that many governments are meeting with HHDL even if it irks Hu Jintao:

For a Tibetan government-in-exile that has operated for nearly five decades from the Indian hill station of Dharamsala, many feel there is nothing to lose by intensifying diplomatic engagement — even if it antagonises China.

Well, maybe. But it had been reported earlier that Pope Benedict XVI would meet with the Dalai Lama when the DL visits Italy, but that’s off. “No audience is planned,” says Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office. The Vatican has a lot of stuff going on in China. You’ll see Cardinal Zen, based in Hong Kong, in the news in this regard if you poke around. China tries to pull the same type of stuff with Catholic bishops they do with Tibetan tulkus. That’s what totalitarianism — total control. Imagine what they’ll do to the moon-men when they land on the moon in 2014. (They have “no plans” to put a man on the moon, like Stalin told Eisenhower he had “no plans” to invade Berlin in April 1945.) China and the Vatican haven’t had normal relations since the Communist takeover in 1949.

Also: an interesting piece on Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek and Western Buddhism from And Now For Something Completely Different (cross-posted on the Progressive Buddhism blog, which seems headed in the Batchelor-esque direction of eschewing karma and rebirth from its flavor of the dharma.)

– Philip Ryan, Web Editor