Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Buddhist Nuns’ Christmas Gift
Despite efforts in China to suppress Christian holidays, Buddhist nuns in the northern city of Tianjin have sent a Christmas gift to the nuns at a nearby Catholic church, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports. The Buddhist Lianzong Temple “offered cabbage, rice, flour, cooking oil, and other foodstuffs along with 2,000 yuan (US$290) in cash” to the nuns of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, according to the SCMP. “The living conditions of the nuns at the church are poor, but they persist in spreading the Gospel and stay devoted to charity,” the temple wrote on the social media site Weibo. “We are all people of faith and we will work jointly to purify hearts, promote our values, and benefit all people.” While the Lianzong Temple is larger than its Catholic counterpart, the SCMB notes, the Buddhist group has also been short on funds in recent years.
Insight Meditation Society is Building New Teacher Village
The Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, has announced plans to build a new “teacher’s village” on a five-acre plot near their retreat center. IMS said on their website that the project is part of a push to train the next generation of teachers as members of the original faculty will be “reducing their teaching commitments or retiring altogether.” Construction on what will eventually become four single-story duplexes and a common house has already begun, but IMS did not say when the project will likely be completed.
US Deports Cambodian Immigrants Who Fled Genocide
The Trump Administration recently deported dozens of Cambodian immigrants who came to America decades ago after fleeing the Cambodian genocide, the New York Times reported. The group of 36 immigrants, some of whom held green cards, arrived in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, December 19. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) said that 34 of the recent deportees were criminals, but advocates note that many of them have no memories of the country that they left as children. America began deporting Cambodian immigrants in 2002 under an agreement signed by the two countries, but the Trump administration has widened the requirements for deportation, the Times reports. The number of deportees had originally been closer to 50, but pardons from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and support from aid groups were able to spare some of them, according to the Huffington Post.
Tibet Reciprocal Access Bill Becomes Law
President Donald Trump on Wednesday, December 19 signed into law the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which passed the Senate unanimously last week. The new law limits travel to the US for Chinese officials who have restricted access to the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The law is designed to put pressure on China to open up travel for aid groups, NGOs, and journalists in the region. Matteo Mecacci, the president of the International Campaign for Tibet, said in a statement, “This is truly a turning point . . . the US has blazed a path for other countries to follow and let the Chinese government know that it will face real consequences for its discrimination against the Tibetan people.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang criticized the law two days later, saying that the US action has “disregarded the facts, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, and violated the basic norms of international relations.”
Tibetans Bring Basketball to New Heights
Basketball has been growing in popularity in Tibet, according to a recent profile on the trend in the Atlantic. While the sport came to the Himalayan region around 100 years ago, the article describes the efforts of one team and their coach to compete internationally and to host the Norlha Basketball Invitational and Tibetan Hoop Exchange in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (formerly the Tibetan region of Amdo), around 10,000 feet above sea level.
The story that the Atlantic missed, however, is the popularity of basketball in the bordering country of Nepal, where the national team delivered a stunning defeat to the amateur Kathmandudes, whose roster included Tricycle’s Associate Publisher, Sam Mowe (fourth from right on top). Sources tell Tricycle that Mowe, who was in the country on a Fulbright grant to study development in Lumbini, is still “bitter” about it.
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