Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week and next.
Dalai Lama Imparts Message of Urgency on Earth Day
On Earth Day, April 22, His Holiness the Dalai Lama released a message urging humanity to unite against climate change: “As human beings, living on this one planet, we must make an effort to live happily together. The threat of climate change is not limited by national boundaries—it affects us all. We must work to protect nature and the planet, which is our only home.” Click here for the full message.
Additionally, the Dalai Lama met with the participants of Dialogue for Our Future, a series of panel talks from various climate change activists inspired by the Dalai Lama’s plea for collective action. “We have to educate people about the factors that contribute to climate change. We have to pay more attention to ways to preserve our environment. This means making a basic understanding of climate change and its effect on the environment part of ordinary education,” the Dalai Lama said.
Tricycle Hosts a Week-Long Buddhism and Ecology Summit
Over the past week, Tricycle held a series of live virtual events featuring leading Buddhist teachers, writers, and environmentalists exploring three dimensions of the ecological crisis: the spiritual and psychological roots, dealing with the difficult emotions that arise, and taking meaningful action. Events included scholar Stephen Batchelor speaking about embracing extinction; scholar David Loy asking if the crisis is also a spiritual crisis; Roshi Joan Halifax and former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres discussing our ethical responsibility to co-create the world we wish to live in; and Buddhist teacher and environmental activist Joana Macy on a path forward. Find a full list of the events here. Recordings of the events are available here.
Medieval Zen Paintings on Display at Freer Gallery
Through July 24th, an exhibit titled “Mind Over Matter: Zen in Medieval Japan” is on view at the Freer Gallery of Art, part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, D.C. The exhibit features medieval ink paintings by influential Chinese masters and Japanese monks from 1200-1600 A.D. To provide additional education about key aspects in the history of Zen, an online interactive experience called Voices of Zen: Contemporary Voices – featuring audio from award-winning koto musician Yumi Kurosawa, Zen priest Reverend Inryū Bobbi Poncé-Barger, and curator Frank Feltens – will accompany the show.
Director David Lynch Launches $500 Million Transcendental Meditation Initiative Aimed at College Students
Twin Peaks director David Lynch recently announced his plan to launch a Transcendental Meditation training program for 30,000 international college students. Lynch, who has practiced TM every day since 1973, hopes to inspire the younger generation to become “peace-creating groups of meditation experts and leave a legacy of world peace.” The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace partnered with the Global Union of Scientists for Peace to establish the program, with plans to invest approximately $500 million in its first year. The initiative will fund meditation training for 10,000 students at Maharishi International University in the US, 10,000 students at the sister school in India, and 10,000 students at partner universities in 10 other locations around the world.
Buddhist Digital Resource Center Profiles Librarian of Tibetan Books at the US Library of Congress
The Buddhist Digital Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides digital research tools and provides digital access to Buddhist texts, published a profile of Susan Meinheit, the Tibetan and Mongolian Specialist at the Library of Congress, this week—spotlighting one of the people behind the preservation of 17,000 Tibetan monograph volumes, 3,600 volumes of rare books, and thousands more texts on microfilm. Read the profile here.
April 29: In a Zoom discussion at 4pm ET, Zen priest and a professor Kurt Spellmeyer discusses the doctrine of emptiness, which he calls the open door that lets us step into awareness of the true nature of reality. Register here.
June 17: New York Insight Meditation Society celebrates its 25th anniversary with the return of its in-person, annual Dharma Rhythms celebration, featuring a drum circle led by Batala New York, an all-women, Black-led, Afro-Brazilian samba reggae percussion ensemble. On June 18, the sangha will hold a virtual event with live music. Learn more here
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