Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Headspace Health Announces Nonprofit Initiative to Provide Free Access to Headspace for All US Teens Ages 13-18
Almost three months after Headspace merged with mental-health service Ginger to form Headspace Health, the company announced on Tuesday that it would launch a nonprofit initiative to provide Headspace app access to all US teens ages 13 to 18 via affiliation with select non-profits. The “Headspace for Teens” initiative is a partnership with youth-focused nonprofits Bring Change to Mind, co-founded by actress and activist Glenn Close, and Peer Health Exchange, and they expect to bring more nonprofit partners into the fold. Headspace will also work with teens to create content on the app. The “Headspace for Teens” press release cited a 2020 CDC study that showed an increase in mental health emergencies for children under 18 that year, including a 31 percent increase in mental health-driven emergency room visits for children ages 12 to 17 years old. “Even though many teens have an awareness of and vocabulary for mental health issues, this doesn’t always translate to action,” said Alice Nathoo, Head of Social Impact at Headspace. The new initiative will focus on acceptance, access, and action to change that.
Aung San Suu Kyi Faces Electoral Fraud Prosecution
On Tuesday, November 16, Myanmar’s military-run state election commission announced that it is prosecuting deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 15 other political figures for electoral fraud and abuse of power. Myanmar’s junta stated that electoral fraud during last November’s election was the main justification for their seizure of power on February 1, when Suu Kyi was arrested. In May, the military appointed a new head of the election commission; now, the commission has declared November’s election invalid with many of its former members being prosecuted alongside Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi is already involved in 11 other criminal cases totalling over a century of jail time in maximum sentences. The election commission’s new prosecution could result in the National League for Democracy—Suu Kyi’s party that saw a landslide victory in November’s election—being dissolved and unable to be represented in a new election that will supposedly take place within two years of the military’s takeover.
According to an anonymous source for AP News, on November 30, a court in the capital city of Nyapitaw will give its verdict on a case in which Suu Kyi, former president Win Myint, and former Nyapitaw mayor Myo Aung stand trial for incitement. This would mark the first verdict in any of Suu Kyi’s current cases.
The Mindful of Race Institute Launches Its Online Learning Academy
The Mindful of Race Institute, founded by meditation teacher Ruth King, recently launched its Online Learning Academy, which features a selection of racial awareness programs based on the Mindful of Race framework. King told Tricycle that plans for the online academy began about a year and a half ago at the start of COVID-19, when many turned to online activities. “My workshops were primarily offered to teams and organizations, but I had so many individuals expressing their interest in accessing my work,” she said. So King began to transfer her training workshops to an online platform so that individuals could take part and deepen their understanding of racism and race. She shared that many of the courses are intended for consultants, coaches, practitioners, and people creating cultures of care who would like to enhance their impact on racial wellbeing. The academy currently offers 13 courses, including “Mindful of Race 101,” “Thoughts on Structural Racism and Leadership,” “Brave Space,” and “A Beginner’s Guide for Meditating with Race.” King will be leading a free webinar on January 8 at 12:00 p.m. ET to share an overview of the academy’s programs and answer any questions. Interested participants can register for the webinar here.
Shin Buddhist Minister and Tricycle Contributor Kenji Akahoshi Discusses His Retirement in the San Diego Union-Tribune
Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi, the former minister at the Buddhist Temple of San Diego, has retired, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in a feature on the almost 80-year-old. As the Tribune says, Akahoshi became a minister at age 71, when most people are retiring, after running a dental practice in San Jose. He and his wife, Karen, are now relocating from San Diego back to San Jose to be closer to their two grandsons and Karen’s 101-year-old mother. Read the full feature here and an article by Akahoshi in Tricycle’s most recent issue: “Finding Spirit in the Ordinary.”
Massive Fire Destroys Buddhist Temple in Berks County, Pennsylvania
Firefighters responded to a massive fire at Mituo Village, home of the Amitabha Buddhist Society of Philadelphia, in Berks County, Pennsylvania on Saturday. By the time firefighters arrived, 40-foot flames had already torn through a large part of the Mituo Village complex, including a library, classrooms, and dorms. Everyone in the temple evacuated without injuries prior to the firefighters’ arrival, though one firefighter was hurt and transported to the hospital for treatment. State police are currently investigating the cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $500,000 in damage.
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