Articles

This section of website presents texts regarding religion and new religious movements in Lithuania for our international readership.

Neo-Buddhist "White Lotus" Movement in Ukraine and Lithuania

by Donatas Glodenis

"White Lotus" phenomenon: an overview

The "White lotus" movement is an interesting phenomenon in the post-soviet Ukraine, Lithuania and a few other countries in Europe[1]. The movement was started by Vladimir Ivanovich Skubajev (1956 - ) a Ukrainian national, who has graduated from a pedagogical institute (nowadays it would be called university), worked in a high school and later as an elevator maintenance man. He got acquainted with students from Laos, with whom he began to practice Kung Fu, later spending some time in Laos. Upon return he claimed he has been initiated as a teacher in a Laos Buddhist martial arts school "Sha Phoot Phan", and began to teach Kung Fu in 1988 in Cherkassy, Ukrainian town of about 400,000, where the construction of a Buddhist temple was started by the movement in 1989, and is continuing to date. The "White Lotus" movement has continued to spread since and currently it has branches in many of the former Soviet Union republics including Lithuania and other Baltic States, also Greece, USA (branch in Chicago), United Arab Emyrates and Germany[2]. The movement's manifold activities provide it with many marketable features, so the spread of the movement should be expected in the future.

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The Role of Religion in the Emergence of Civil Society in Lithuania

by Andrius Navickas

The religion has long been recognized as an important institution of civil society, significant to the regime for its support and promotion of the values important for political culture. Together with schools, families and a variety of political and other voluntary interest organizations, churches influence political and societal attitudes. On the other hand, there is no firm consensus – does religion promote or subvert civil society? In his famous book about Italy and social capital “Making Democracy Work” Robert Putnam states that the hierarchical structure of Catholic Church is rather alternative for civil society than one of its component. Though great french thinker Alexis de Tocquille in his classic work “Democracy in America” observed that religion played the essential role in American type of civil society. I value very much Robert Putnam books, but I think that in soviet Lithuania the Church was real agent of civil society. In the era of communist dictatorship, the Church was a teacher of lasting and destuctible values and the conscience of an enslaved society. The Catholic Church as the largest religious institution in Lithuania was the leader of opposition.

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Prevention of "sect" activities - a new priority in Lithuanian youth policy?

Vilnius. At the beginning of April the State Council for Youth Affairs announced a list of organizations whose youth oriented projects will be supported by the Council this year. Among the supported projects the greatest ammount, 28 000 LT (about 8300 EUR) was awarded to Lithuanian Soberness Fund to advance a project entitled "Sect activities prevention among youth", which was presented to the Council in a project category "Prevention of youth drug and other forms of addiction, criminal activities and psychological crises (suicide)".

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