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Buddhism In Italy

From: "Camellia Darmawan"
Subject: Fw: Buddhism in Italy
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 17:23:09 +0700

Dear All,
I'd like to share an interesting article regarding the acceptance of
Buddhism as a recognised religion in Italy. It certainly is a
positive progress of Buddhism in a Catholic/Christian majority
country.

May the Buddha Dhamma spread further to many corners of the world.

With metta,
Camellia Darmawan

Subject: Buddhism in Italy

An article published in a Buddhist magazine (Buddhayana Quarterly )
from
Holland, on
page 5, January 2001, European News:
ITALY - BUDDHISM RECOGNISED
========================= ==

Rome, October (Mandala) -

Italy has accepted Buddhism as a religion, the first religion other
than Christianity and Judism to be recognised there. At the
beginning of 2000 the Italian Parliament accepted an agreement
between the Unione Buddhista Italiana and the Government. The
Unione Buddhista Italiana, which was established in 1984, has thirty
two Dhamma Centres following the Theravadan, Vajrayana and Zen
Traditions. Centres wishing to become members must comply to the
following conditions: refugee to the Triple Gem must be taken, the
five precepts must be followed in their centre, and there must be a
qualified teacher from an unbroken line leading the centre, and the
centre must have statues which are compatible with the Unione
Buddhists Italiana's general rules.

Under the current Italian constitution every religious organisation
has to reach an agreement with the state, under which the religion is
examined to see if its customs, rituals, etc. are in accordance with
the constitution and law. When a formal agreement is reached, the
religion becomes a state religion, with the same rights as other
state religions.

This means that Buddhist monks and nuns are officially recognised and
have special provisions for their old age and the right of secrecy
(ie. the police cannot question them over other Buddhists). They can
visit prisons and intensive care departments in hospitals, and they
can lead marriage and funeral services. Buddhism will also be
introduced to public schools.

There are also tax advantages of 0.8% for those people offering
monetary gifts to Buddhist organisations.
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