Two years into its transition from dictatorship to democracy, Myanmar is finding out how dangerous freedom can be. Since June 2012, when fighting broke out between Buddhists and Muslims in western Arakan state, attacks against Myanmar’s tiny Muslim minority have spread throughout the country. More than 200 people have been killed in Buddhist- Muslim riots, and more than 150,000 rendered homeless -- most of them Muslims.
In the sanctuary above an herbal tonic bar, before a seated Buddha and a pair of mandalas, 48 volunteers for congressional candidate Marianne Williamson close their eyes and meditate as Annelise Balfour, the manager and head facilitator of the Source Spiritual Center, intones a welcome prayer.
Koyasan Shingon Buddhism, the Japanese owner of a cluster of World Heritage Site temples founded in the 9th century, reported losses equal to about a quarter of its assets after bets in the Australian dollar and structured bonds soured.
China’s official Tibetan spiritual leader, the Panchen Lama, in a visit to the country’s northwest has told Tibetan Buddhists to obey the law in what analysts say is a government effort to undermine anti-Chinese protest and the exiled Dalai Lama.