CIA Archives: Buddhism in Burma – History, Politics and Culture



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Buddhism in Burma (also known as Myanmar) is predominantly of the Theravada tradition, practised by 89% of the country’s population. It is the most religious Buddhist country in terms of the proportion of monks in the population and proportion of income spent on religion. Adherents are most likely found among the dominant ethnic Bamar (or Burmans), Shan, Rakhine (Arakanese), Mon, Karen, and Chinese who are well integrated into Burmese society. Monks, collectively known as the Sangha, are venerated members of Burmese society. Among many ethnic groups in Myanmar, including the Bamar and Shan, Theravada Buddhism is practiced in conjunction with nat worship, which involves the placation of spirits who can intercede in worldly affairs.

With regard to the Daily Routines as Buddhists in Myanmar, there are two most popular practices: merit-making and vipassana (Insight Meditation). The weizza path is the least popular (an esoteric form somewhat linked to Buddhist aspiration that involves the occult).[4] Merit-making is the most common path undertaken by Burmese Buddhists. This path involves the observance of the Five Precepts and accumulation of good merit through charity and good deeds (dana) in order to obtain a favorable rebirth. The vipassana path, which has gained ground since the early 1900s, is a form of insight meditation believed to lead to enlightenment. The weizza path, is an esoteric system of occult practices (such as recitation of spells, samatha meditation, and alchemy) and believed to lead to life as a weizza (also spelt weikza), a semi-immortal and supernatural being who awaits the appearance of the future Buddha, Maitreya (Arimeitaya).[5] This last one is frowned upon by many practicing Buddhists and almost all Monks in Myanmar nowadays.

Burma (Listeni/ˈbɜrmə/ BUR-mə), also Myanmar (Listeni/ˌmjɑːnˈmɑː/ MYAHN–MAR), is a sovereign country in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. One-third of Burma’s total perimeter of 1,930 kilometres (1,200 mi) forms an uninterrupted coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. At 676,578 km2 (261,227 sq mi), it is the 40th largest country in the world and the second largest country in Southeast Asia. Burma is also the 24th most populous country in the world with over 60.28 million people.[6]

Burma is home to some of the early civilizations of Southeast Asia including the Pyu and the Mon.[7] In the 9th century, the Burmans of the Kingdom of Nanzhao entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Empire in the 1050s, the Burmese language and culture slowly became dominant in the country. During this period, Theravada Buddhism gradually became the predominant religion of the country. The Pagan Empire fell due to the Mongol invasions (1277–1301), and several warring states emerged. In the second half of the 16th century, the country was reunified by the Taungoo Dynasty which for a brief period was the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia.[8] The early 19th century Konbaung Dynasty ruled over an area that included modern Burma as well as Manipur and Assam. The country was colonized by Britain following three Anglo-Burmese Wars (1824–1885). British rule brought social, economic, cultural and administrative changes. Since independence in 1948, the country has been in one of the longest running civil wars among the country’s myriad ethnic groups that remains unresolved. From 1962 to 2011, the country was under military rule. The military junta was officially dissolved in 2011 following a general election in 2010 and a nominally civilian government installed, though the military retains enormous influence.

Burma is a resource-rich country. However, the Burmese economy is one of the least developed in the world. Burma’s GDP stands at $42.953 billion and grows at an average rate of 2.9% annually — the lowest rate of economic growth in the Greater Mekong Subregion.[9] Among others, the EU, United States and Canada have imposed economic sanctions on Burma.[10] Burma’s health care system is one of the worst in the world: The World Health Organization ranked Burma at 190th, the worst performing of all countries.

The United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country, including child labour, human trafficking and a lack of freedom of speech. In recent years, the country and its military leadership has made large concessions to democratic activists and is slowly improving its relations with the major powers and the UN.

Trial for Charleston Church Shooter Set to Begin



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The death penalty trial for a white man who said he wanted to start a race war by killing black people in their South Carolina church is set to begin. (Dec. 7)

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One dead, 7 Injured in Tennessee Church Shooting



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Authorities in Tennessee say one person is dead and seven people sustained injuries after a gunman opened fire at a church in Nashville. A spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department said the gunman was wounded and taken to a hospital. (Sept. 24)

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Mormon Stories #952: Church and State – Toppling Utah’s Gay Marriage Ban



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Join us as we interview key contributors to the documentary “Church and State,” James Huntsman, Holly Tuckett, and Mark Lawrence.

This movie is the improbable story of a brash, inexperienced gay activist and a tiny Salt Lake City law firm that joined forces to topple Utah’s gay marriage ban. The film’s ride on the bumpy road to equality in Utah offers a glimpse at the Mormon church’s influence in state politics and the squabbles inside the gay community that nearly derailed a chance to make history.

Mormon Stories is honored to host a private screening of this award-winning documentary which will be held on Wednesday, July 18th, 2018 at 7:00 pm at the Broadway Theater in Salt Lake.

JFK and LBJ: A Time for Greatness



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In many ways, President Lyndon B. Johnson was the most unlikely champion of Civil Rights. But his actions in the White House told a different story when he dared to champion two laws that changed America and the world—the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now, fifty years later, JFK and LBJ: A Time for Greatness sheds light on the fascinating story of a president who knew how to harness the nation’s grief over John F. Kennedy’s assassination, twist arms, and get his way. The film includes rarely seen footage, secret White House tapes, and personal testimony from LBJ’s advisors, biographers, friends, and family.

Wedge Issues: Christian Voters Talk About Faith and Politics



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“When Politics Meet Religion” – Original Air Date: 8/31/18

Cap Times reporter Katelyn Ferral traveled to three Wisconsin communities earlier this month to hear from Christian voters about how their faith influences their political beliefs.

Of those who claim a religion in Wisconsin, 70 percent are Christians, including 25 percent who are Catholic, 18 percent who are mainline Protestant, 22 percent who are evangelical, and 4 percent who are historically black Protestants, which include the Missionary Baptists and African Methodist Episcopal denominations.

Ferral spoke with Latino Catholics in Green Bay, faith leaders in some of the oldest predominantly black churches in Racine, and leaders and churchgoers from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lake Mills, part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS),

She joined Wedge Issues host Jessie Opoien in the studio this week to share what she learned from her conversations.

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Police: 9 Dead in Charleston Church Shooting



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Police in Charleston, South Carolina say a gunman killed nine people at an historic black church on Wednesday night. Police are searching for a white male, approximately 21 years old, with sandy blond hair. (June 18)

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EXPLICIT – Arizona Cops Gun Down Unarmed Man – (TheLibertarianChannel)



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Cops gun down and unarmed person after a small police chase.

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Jimmy Kimmel on Mass Shooting in Las Vegas



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After the tragedy in Jimmy’s hometown of Las Vegas, he sends love to everyone affected, talks about the major gun violence problem we have in this country, calls out the senators who are in the pocket of the NRA, and asks for common sense and action from our elected officials to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

Young vs. Old in a Game of Generation Gap

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Jimmy Kimmel on Mass Shooting in Las Vegas

Bees attack man: Arizona man stung thousands of times and revived after deadly bee attack – TomoNews



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BUCKEYE, ARIZONA — A 71-year-old Arizona man is lucky this week to be alive thanks to the quick actions of his wife and emergency responders following an almost fatal bee attack.

According to ABC News, Jerry Mora was working in his backyard on Tuesday afternoon when suddenly a swarm of bees attacked him. His wife heard him screaming and called 911.

Firefighters sprayed the swarm with foam, while others got Mora to safety. He suffered around 20 to 25 stings. To make matters worse, he’s allergic to bees.

When he was put in the ambulance, Mora wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. But firefighters were able to revive him en-route to the hospital. He is listed in serious but stable condition, ABC News reported.

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Undocumented Father Finds Sanctuary in Denver Church to Fight Deportation to Mexico



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– Broadcasting from Denver, Colorado, Amy Goodman visits the First Unitarian Society Church to meet Arturo Hernández García, an undocumented immigrant and father of two. Since October, García has sought sanctuary at the church as he fights his deportation. We also hear from his nine-year-old daughter Andrea, a United States citizen. Her status means he may be allowed to stay in the country under President Obama’s new deferred action program starting in May — if he is not deported before then. We also hear from Beth Chronister, assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society Church in Denver, and activist Jennifer Piper of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, who helped García enter sanctuary.

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Tom Petty: “No One’s Got Christ More Wrong Than The Christians”



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Veteran rocker Tom Petty isn’t pulling any punches with his new song “Playing Dumb.”

In an interview with Billboard magazine, Petty said that he wrote the song about the decades of child sex abuse in the Catholic church and the elaborate lengths that priests and their leaders have gone to cover up the crimes.

“I’m fine with whatever religion you want to have,” Petty said, “but it can’t tell anybody it’s OK to kill people, and it can’t abuse children systematically for God knows how many years.”

Petty went on to say that he doesn’t understand why people continue to donate to the church, which has paid out millions of dollars in legal settlements to the victims of child-molesting priests.

“If I was in a club, and I found out that there had been generations of people abusing children, and then that club was covering that up, I would quit the club. And I wouldn’t give them any more money,” he said.

“Religion seems to me to be at the base of all wars,” said the Florida-born singer and guitarist. “I’ve nothing against defending yourself, but I don’t think, spiritually speaking, that there’s any conception of God that should be telling you to be violent. It seems to me that no one’s got Christ more wrong than the Christians.”

Petty’s career has spanned more than 30 years, spawning multiple gold and platinum records, including the hit singles “Refugee,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Won’t Back Down.” He has performed as a solo artist, with his band the Heartbreakers and as a member of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys alongside rock legend Roy Orbison, ELO founder Jeff Lynne and George Harrison of the Beatles.

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