“Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.” – The Dalai Lama at Harvard University, 1988 A devout monk in Phattalung’s Kongra District took the quest for non-attachment to an unprecedented level recently, when he cut off his erect penis, which was was distracting him during a meditation session. News of the story was revealed after the monk, Phra Niwat Kaewnopparat (aka Phra Boonlert), was transferred on November 22 to Maharaj Hospital in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, where he denied offers by doctors to reattach the severed member. Phra Boonlert, described as highly devout by villagers and fellow clergy at a remote temple in Tambon Klongsai, was practicing Vipassana “insight” meditation on November 11 when he was distracted by the erection. He had earlier told relatives that he had encountered problems of “distraction” that affected his meditation, but never specifically mentioned that sexual urges were the source of the interference. That fact only became apparent when villagers heard screams for help coming from Phra Boonlert’s cell at about 8 pm. Rushing to assist, a villager found blood streaming down the monk’s leg and his severed four-inch penis laying next to a small length of wood, used as a makeshift cutting board to slice off the offending organ with a sharp knife. He was rushed to Kongra Hospital for treatment by villagers, who collected the severed organ, wrapped it in a plastic bag and put it on ice in the hope it could be reattached. Phra Boonlert told them their action was not necessary, as he no longer had any use for the organ. At last report, doctors at the hospital continued to keep the monk sedated and under close observation – even though his wound was healing well. People who know Phra Boonlert said this was unnecessary as he had never previously displayed any signs of mental illness. He was only more ardent in pursuing the path to enlightenment than other monks, they said.
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China has the most atheists. Indonesia and Philippines the most believers.
China is the least believing country in the world but belief in a God gets 100 per cent mention in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Philippines, according to the survey by Gallup International.
According to the survey exploring religious tendencies of 66,000 people in 68 countries across the world, 62 per cent of people in the world define themselves as religious, 74% of people globally believe we have a ‘soul’ and 71% believe in a God. Another 56% believe in heaven, 54% in life after death and 49% in hell.
China has the highest percentage of atheists in the world with 67% not believing in any religion. Every seven out ten people are atheists, more than double than any other country. 23% consider themselves as non-religious. Less than 10% identify themselves as religious in China.
China’s atheist percentage is followed by Japan, a long way behind in second place at 29%, Slovenia (28%) and Chech Republic (25%). Despite rapid industrialisation and urbanisation religion has stayed relevant in the South Korean region with only 23% identifying as atheist.
European countries like Belgium (21 %), France (21%) , Sweden (18%) and Iceland (17%) also have a large percentage of believing population.
Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines are the most believing countries with entire population claiming to believe in God, soul, hell and heaven. Thailand and Pakistan have 99% believing population, followed by India, Vietnam and Mongolia.
The survey shows that the levels of religiosity diminish as income and education levels increase. While 66% of people with low income affirm to be religious, this percentage drops to 50% among people with higher incomes. The same trend is verified in relation to education levels: 83% of people with lower education level are religious against 49% of higher level.
According to the survey there is a connection between religiosity, beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics like age, income and education level. As education and income levels grow higher, religiosity levels tend to go down. Also, the expression of different beliefs is higher among young people.
The level of education has a considerable influence on the perception of religion by the society. Women and young children show higher percentage for spiritual forces.
SOURCE: Data Leads
Stunning Malaysian election result ousts Barisan Nasional
Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition has crossed the minimum threshold of 112 seats needed to form government in Malaysia. The Election Commission continue to count a few remaining votes this morning but have confirmed the win of the Pakatan Harapan party and coalition members.
The result brings to an end the rule of Barisan Nasional (BN) and it’s leader Najib Razak. Barisan Nasional, a nationalist right-wing government with strong links to it’s ethnic Malay constituency, has dominated Malaysian politics for decades.
In a press conference just before the official confirmation, opposition leader and former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad, now 92 years old, said his party had achieved a victory.
He said he hoped a swearing-in ceremony would be held on Thursday. Mr Mahathir will become the oldest elected leader in the world.
The final official results indicate PH had won 115 seats, with BN on 79 (these numbers will alter slightly as the counting finishes today).
The 92 year old pledged a government that would include a “young person”, referring to criticism during the campaign that he was too old to lead Malaysia again. Mahathir said he would honour his agreement to help secure a royal pardon for jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. The two became the odd couple of Asian politics after decades working together, then becoming bitter enemies. Anwar was Mahathir’s deputy PM at one stage but then fell out of favour.
But the two formed a curious coalition to bring down PM Najib Razak who they claimed was corrupt and had stained the country with the 1MDB financial scandal.
Mahathir said Anwar would have to win a by-election or be elected senator in order for him to take over as prime minister from Dr Mahathir, as per their agreement.
An upset was on the cards when unofficial results started trickling in about four hours after the ballot boxes were closed at 5.30 last night.
• 9pm – Bernama reported that caretaker Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, the president of BN component party Malaysian Chinese Association, had lost his Bentong seat.
• Caretaker Health Minister S Subramaniam, of BN coalition party Malaysian Indian Congress, was the next major casualty, losing his Segamat seat in Johor.
• 9.30pm, there was respite for BN when word came in that incumbent PM Najib Razak had successfully defended his Pekan seat in Pahang.
By 9.45pm last night, another four deputy ministers fell. At about the same time, it emerged that Mahathir would make a return to parliament after winning his Langkawi seat.
The result throws into doubt Najib Razak’s position in his party.
While he had been praised for his fiscal policies, he was also unpopular for rolling out a goods and services tax in addition to being a target of unwanted international attention over allegations funds were misappropriated from a state fund he advised, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He has denied consistently any wrongdoing.
Mahathir had accused his former protege Najib of corruption and abuse of power before quitting UMNO to form his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
But Mahathir has vowed: “We are not seeking revenge. We want to restore the rule of law.”
92 year old PM-elect Mahathir Mohamad, with a shirt emblazoned with his name, in case he forgot it whilst campaigning for the historic election.
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