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Ethik    engagierter Buddhist     engagierte Menschen    engagierter Buddhismus    Santi Asoke    engagiertes Dhamma   engagierte Webs   Ajahn Buddhadhasa     Entmythologisierung    Theravada  Mahayana    Zen      E-P II (andere Religionen)    Ethik-Portal I (Mummwelt)

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Buddhisten, die mitten im Dhamma stehen und handeln:

 Für Demokratie und  gegen Korruption kämpfen, auch wenn ein grosser Teil der Thais das nicht begreifen können oder wollen, weil sie schon viel zu tief  mit im Korruptions Schlamm stecken.

Bangkok, - THAILAND : Thai media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul (L) along with fellow protest leader Chamlong Srimuang sits in front of the Government House in Bangkok, 14 March 2006, demanding the resignation of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Protestors surrounded Thaksin's office to demand he step down, as the premier threatened a state of emergency if the demo turned violent. AFP PHOTO/ PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL

              
by Sarah Stewart, March 14, 2006
BANGKOK (AFP) - Chamlong Srimuang, a former general who led a 1992 "people power" uprising, has emerged as a potent force in Thailand's latest political crisis, backed by his sect of celibate, vegetarian Buddhists.
       
       The austere 71-year-old, who retains his military bearing and close-cropped hair, personally invited Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra into politics in 1994, giving him leadership of his party and assuming the role of mentor.
       
       But last month he changed his mind about Thaksin and urged him to resign, joining a protest movement that has staged weekly rallies drawing tens of thousands of people who accuse the premier of being corrupt and authoritarian.
       
       The move lent much-needed credibility to the somewhat rag-tag protest alliance and came as a major blow for Thaksin, who days later dissolved parliament and called snap elections for April 2 in a bid to defuse the crisis.
       
       Chamlong and his "Dharma Army", members of a radical sect which broke away from mainstream Buddhism, staged a week-long vigil in a field near the royal palace which culminated in a march on Thaksin's office Tuesday.
       
       The 10,000 members of the Santi Asoke sect live in self-sufficient communes based on strict monastic discipline, abstaining from sex and alcohol and eating just one vegetarian meal a day.
       
       Political analysts say Chamlong and his followers have breathed new life into the protest movement by drawing thousands more middle-class working people to the regular protests.
       
       "They have a wider circle of sympathisers and admirers, people who occasionally visit their centers, people who just see them as more true to the spirit of Buddhism than the mainstream," said Thai historian Chris Baker.
       
       As well, Chamlong's contention that Thaksin lacks the legitimacy to lead the country of 63 million is significant coming from a figure who has a long and close association with the billionaire-turned-politician.
       
       "Chamlong brought Thaksin into politics, so people think Chamlong has secrets about Thaksin" that could be used against him, said political analyst Sirirat Choonhaklai.
       
       Chamlong's ascetic lifestyle and spotless ethics helped elevate him to the status of democracy hero in 1992, when he led demonstrations in Bangkok that helped topple a military dictatorship and restore democratic rule.
       
       In dramatic scenes that reverberate to this day, Chamlong and regime leader General Suchinda Kraprayoon were summoned by Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and urged to negotiate a settlement and stop the bloodshed.
       
       But although Suchinda's downfall was widely applauded, some accused Chamlong of having blood on his hands after soldiers shot dead about 50 demonstrators during the unrest.
       
       Charges that he has become an extremist who does not know how to compromise -- a failing in a country where harmony is highly valued -- grew louder last month when the Dharma Army staged a protest against alcohol manufacturers.
       
       Chamlong and some 1,000 followers camped outside the headquarters of Thailand's financial markets regulator to campaign against allowing alcohol firms from listing on the Thai stock exchange.
       
       The son of an immigrant Chinese fish vendor, Chamlong attended the Royal Thai Military Academy and served in Laos and Vietnam before taking on high-level posts in the government.
       
       After being elected Bangkok governor in 1985, he won applause for bringing order and cleanliness to the city's chaotic streets, personally taking up a broom in a campaign to curb garbage and pollution.
       
       He went on to lead the anti-corruption Palang Dharma Party which formed Thaksin's power base in his early days in politics.
       
       Chamlong's wife Sirilak, a former major in the Thai army, has long shared his background and religious beliefs. The couple have no children.

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