Friday, February 8, 2008

On February 8, ...

... 1983 (15 years ago today), the Defence Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, was forced to quit after an Israeli tribunal found Sharon at fault for failing in 1982 to prevent the Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia from massacring more than 800 refugees in the Sabra and Shatila camps near Beirut. Years later, plaintiffs invoked Belgium's universal jurisdiction law in an effort to call Sharon, by then Israel's Prime Minister, further to account. This invocation and others led to Belgium's gutting of the statute. Among those who've written about this are IntLawGrrl Diane F. Orentlicher, in Whose Justice? Reconciling Universal Jurisdiction with Democratic Principles, 92 Georgetown Law Journal 1057 (2004), and, in 2003, our colleagues Steven R. Ratner, Belgium’s War Crimes Statute: A Postmortem, 97 American Journal of International Law 888, and Malvina Halberstam, Belgium’s Universal Jurisdiction Law: Vindication of International Justice or Pursuit of Politics?, 25 Cardozo Law Review 247. Sharon's been in a coma since a 2006 stroke.
... 2008 (today), is celebrated the Buddhist festival of Nirvana Day, marking the death of Buddha (right) at age 80. On this day,
Buddhists think about their lives and how they can work towards gaining the perfect peace of Nirvana. Nirvana is believed to be the end of rebirth and is the ultimate aim of Buddhism. It is reached when all want and suffering is gone.


Patrick S. O'Donnell said...


I think it would have been better had you provided a link to a different Buddhist group, site, or tradition, given the controversy that surrounds the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), especially that arising from the group's vociferous if not disrespectful criticisms of the Dalai Lama and its continued Dorje Shugden practice despite the Dalai Lama's admonitions against same. Those not familiar with this controversy can read an introduction to it in the Wikipedia entry on NKT:

Better sites (I would call them more trustworthy, from a Buddhist perspective), especially for those new to Buddhism, are here:
and here:

Still, thanks for mentioning the festival, which is better termed Parinirvana (Parinibbana in Pali) if only because the other appellation can be taken to imply that the Buddha did not enter nirvana until his death, which is of course not true. Parinirvana is a technical terms simply referring to the physical death of one who has already attained "awakening" or liberation from samsara. It is not in any way a higher form or "ultimate state" of nirvana.

An early draft of my "select bibliography" for Buddhism is found here:
I can send an updated Word version to anyone interested.

All good wishes,

Diane Marie Amann said...

Dear Patrick,

Many thanks for this informative & corrective comment to this post.