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Among Christians, Anglicans are the most consistently authoritarian and conservative, while Catholics are more likely to be left-wing

Gere serves up a haven for vegetarians

Actor and Buddhist activist backs campaign to make Indian town a meat-free zone

Banned Buddhist monks on the run from police

Followers of a famous Buddhist monk have abandoned the temple in southern Vietnam where they had sought sanctuary and are on the run from police.

Independent Appeal: Sri Lanka's bitter enemies learn to live in harmony

After years of conflict, warring factions now come together in search of solutions, reports Andrew Buncombe from Polonnaruwa

On The Road: The hitch-hiker's guide to an elusive Spanish monastery

"Everybody hitchhikes in Orgiva," Sophia said matter-of-factly, before dropping me off. Not wanting to seem ungrateful to my Austrian host, I restrain my horror-movie imagination and put my faith in humanity for once.

British 'Indiana Jones' finds missing legs of 900-year-old Buddhist statue

It sounds like the plot of an Indiana Jones movie: an archaeology professor with little more to go on than a yellowing photograph discovers part of a 900-year-old statue deep in the Cambodian jungle, rewriting history in the process.

How the happy kingdom in the clouds lost its smile

Bhutan has made its people's happiness a national priority. But a spate of suicides suggests it is struggling to cope with the modern world

Historical general election looms in the east

If you want Japan to become a theocracy, launch a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, and rearm for war with China, then... Vote Happiness

A Fraction of the Whole, By Steve Toltz

Henry James described the novel as a loose, baggy monster – and they don't come much looser, baggier or more monstrous than this.

On The Road: Break for a Buddhist retreat in Beara

Today my mother and I find solace in enormous views of the Atlantic Ocean from the floor-to-ceiling windows of a cottage at Dzogchen Beara. This Tibetan Buddhist retreat is perched on magnificent cliffs on the Beara Peninsula, and our drive here around the lovely coastline from Bantry was continuously lit by sunshine. It calmed my mother, who was full of trepidation at her first visit to a Buddhist retreat. Now, we are struck by the vista, letting our conversations trail into nowhere as it catches our attention mid-sentence.

Buddha Da, By Anne Donovan

An engaging account of a Glasgow father's unpopular conversion to Buddhism, Buddha Da recalls the early stories of Roddy Doyle in its affectionate portrait of a normal family life running up against the ridiculous.

Being Emily, By Anne Donovan

In her mother's absence, an overwhelming weight hangs over the house where the sixth-former Fiona is charged with caring for her younger twin sisters and their depressed father. Fiona seeks comfort in fantasies about the life of her heroine, Emily Brontë, and there are many intriguing lines of reference between Wuthering Heights and Being Emily, from a dead mother to a devastating romance. Fiona develops a relationship with the pensive Jas, a Sikh boy who is also something of an outsider and knows about grief. But, on meeting Jas's elder brother, the enchanting musician Amrik, Fiona feels a splinter of ice in her heart toward Jas and a spark of attraction for Amrik.

The origins of Darwin's theory: It may have evolved in Tibet

Charles Darwin has been accused of many things – but never before of being a closet Tibetan Buddhist.

Monlam's colourful enlightenment

Taking place on the 4th-11th day of the first Tibetan Lunar month, Monlam, the Great Prayer Festival, is one of the most important festivals in Tibetan Buddhism. Pictures of this year's festival display the spectacular processions and colourful outfits of Tibet's Buddhist monks.

Tea and sympathy in the heart of Sri Lanka

On a journey to the heart of the troubled nation of Sri Lanka, Sophie Lam finds serenity amid ornate temples, ancient reservoirs and fields of emerald green
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Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
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Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
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Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015