Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s Lawyer Says He’s Not Allowed to Speak About Her Case
In a Facebook post on Friday, Khin Maung Zaw, the head lawyer for deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, wrote that Myanmar’s military has banned him from speaking to the media, international organizations, or foreign governments about the Suu Kyi’s case. Suu Kyi was arrested after the February 1 coup, and has been held in an undisclosed location ever since. She faces numerous charges, including corruption, and she is not allowed to communicate with anyone but her lawyers, who she sees only in court. Reuters reports that the order reads: “Khin Maung Zaw’s communications may cause harassment, hurting a person who is acting in accordance with the law, may cause riots and destabilize the public peace.” The military junta has not released any information about the deposed leader’s case, and on Thursday Reuters reported that while the military is allowing an envoy from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to enter the country, they will not allow him to meet with Suu Kyi.
LGBTQ Monk and Makeup Artist Joins TIME’s 2021 Next Generation Leaders
On October 13, Japanese monk, makeup artist, and LGBTQ activist Kodo Nishimura was featured as one of TIME’s Next Generation Leaders. Though both of his parents are Buddhist monks, Nishimura was not interested in following their footsteps until he moved to New York City to study at Parsons School of Design. There, he learned to embrace both his LGBTQ identity and his Buddhist roots. At the age of 24, Nishimura began splitting his time between makeup artist jobs in America and monastic training in Japan. Now a certified monk, the 32-year-old lives alongside his parents in the temple where he grew up—but he hasn’t given up his passion for makeup. Recently, he worked as the makeup director for the Miss Universe Japan finals, and his regular clients include celebrities such as Christina Milian and the musical duo Chloe x Halle. While he is an outspoken LGBTQ activist and hopes to help change discrimination legislation in Japan, Nishimura feels that simply staying true to his identity and expressing his most authentic self is also a form of activism. “I want to stretch the horizon and inspire people,” he told TIME. “I can be a monk wearing heels, so you can be who you are.”
For more on Kodo Nishimura, read his interview from Tricycle’s Fall 2017 issue.
New Report Reveals How China’s Environmental Policies Negatively Impact Livelihoods on the Tibetan Plateau
This week, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, an NGO based in India, released a report that shows how Chinese policies that claim to mitigate climate change force nomads off their land, even though their traditional way of life generates very few emissions. China has also labeled large Tibetan watersheds as national parks in an effort to offset its reputation as a major source of global emissions. “[But] as the world’s biggest maker and user of coal, cement, steel, aluminium, copper, and much else, China is the primary cause of climate change emissions,” the report says. The Tibetan Plateau accounts for two percent of the earth’s land surface and is roughly the size of Western Europe, the National Herald points out, underlining the imperative that the region receive adequate attention at the 26th UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow, taking place from October 31 to November 12.
Thich Nhat Hanh Celebrates His 95th Continuation Day
The Vietnamese monk, peace activist, and poet turned 95 years old on Monday, October 11. In honor of his Continuation Day—the term his followers use for birthday to symbolize that we are never born and never die—Plum Village shared a series of teachings on listening from Thay (the name affectionately used by his followers). “Since the early 1970’s, Thay has been a pioneer of ecological justice, organizing Buddhists, scientists, and local communities to care for and protect Mother Earth,” the statement reads. “Thay teaches us that the first step to taking care of ourselves and our planet is to practice deep listening—a revolutionary act, in our often noisy world.” Read the teachings here and read more from Thich Nhat Hanh on Tricycle here.
The Kung Fu Nuns Hold a Self-Defense Masterclass
The Kung Fu Nuns, who belong to the Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism and are known for teaching martial arts to Himalayan girls and women, will lead a self-defense virtual workshop in partnership with the Six Senses hotel group. Led by Kung Fu Nuns Jigme Konchok Lhamo and Jigme Mingyur Palmo, the 60-minute “Women Empowering Women” workshop will cover self-empowering kung fu techniques, how to build confidence through restraint tools, and how martial arts can be an instrument of kindness. The class will be held Wednesday, October 20 at 9 a.m. EDT. Interested participants can register for the free class here.
Registration Opens for the 17th Sakyadhita Conference, to Be Held Online This Year
Registration is now open for the 17th Sakyadhita Conference, a three-day series of workshops, discussions, and meditation held by Sakyadhita: The International Association of Buddhist Women. The focus of this year’s conference is “Women Beyond Boundaries: Interfaith, Interdependence, and Environment.” Panels include “A Discussion Circle for Female Buddhist Leaders,” “Friendships Beyond Religious Identities,” and “Environment and Bio-Ethics.” Though the conferences typically take place in person, this year, due to the pandemic, the event will be held online from December 26 to December 29. Learn more here.
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