Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Myanmar Lures Bangladeshi Buddhists
Myanmar officials have invited Buddhist families from Bangladesh to settle on the land abandoned by Rohingya, who have fled the region to escape persecution. Around 50 Bangladeshi families have moved after being offered free food and land in the Rakhine state, where a military crackdown caused more than 700,000 members of the Muslim ethnic minority to seek refuge at camps in Bangladesh.
New Life for Garry Shandling’s Twitter
The Twitter account of late comedian Garry Shandling has been revived by his friends following the release of the HBO documentary The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling. “Friends who love Garry, working with his estate, are opening up Garry’s twitter,” read the first tweet. “We will occasionally tweet material from the writings, notes and journals he has left us: ‘Let life live through you. Presence. Compassion. Kindness.’”
Ethics Staffers Meditate to Reduce Stress from Trump
Members of the Office of Government Ethics turned to meditation to help deal with the stress of the Trump administration, according to former Ethics Director Walter Shaub. “It kind of made us strong in weathering a very tumultuous storm at the time,” Shaub said. “We weren’t prepared for the chaos in this administration.”
Malaysian Nun’s Dog Rescue
A Malaysian nun is raising money for her animal shelter in Simpang Pulai in the north western state of Perak. Chow Khoon Siew, whose dog rescue has grown from caring for 35 strays to 110, is holding a benefit dinner in Perak city of Ipoh on June 2 in the hope of raising the RM60,000–80,000 ($15,000–$20,000) to cover the cost of medical care and food for the dogs.
Buddhists with Blasters in Video Game
A Buddhist video game follows a priest as he travels through the six realms. In addition to blasting a bunch of enemies, Mani Yugi Tokoyo players also collect lost souls. The six realms of rebirth, according to Buddhist cosmology, are hell (Skt. naraka, Jpn. jigokudo), hungry ghosts (Skt. preta, Jpn. gakido), animals (Skt. tiryagyoni, Jpn. chikushodo), angry gods or titans (Skt. asura, Jpn. ashurado), human (Skt. manusya, Jpn. nindo), and gods (Skt. devas, Jpn. tendo).
Dalits Convert to Buddhism En Masse
A group of 500 low-caste Dalit Hindus gathered to convert to Ambedkarite Buddhism on Sunday. The movement was founded by Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a lawyer who drafted India’s constitution. Ambedkar, who was born a Dalit, viewed Buddhism as a way to escape the Hindu caste system. Dalits, who make up 20 percent of the Indian population, have grown angry at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, the Atlantic reports, leading more of them to convert.
Vandalized Salt Lake City Shrine Reborn
A Buddha shrine that was vandalized in Salt Lake City has reopened. A terracotta statue of the Buddha, known to locals as the Buddha on 9th, was destroyed when someone threw a rock through it in January. Soon after, owner Ben Dieterle started a GoFundMe page, which raised $3,700 for a new shrine. He also built a wrought iron fence to protect it at night.
Irish Buddhist Union Formed
Buddhist groups in Ireland have come together to form the Irish Buddhist Union (IBU). The IBU, which includes members from Zen Buddhism Ireland, Kagyu Samye Dzong Dublin, the Dublin Buddhist Centre, and the Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre, hopes to bring Buddhist teachings to a country that is increasingly interested in mindfulness and meditation.
Ascetic Warrior in New York
Dai Ajari Ryojun Shionuma, who completed two of the most difficult ascetic practices in the Shugendo Buddhist tradition, is giving his first lecture in New York. At the Japan Society event on April 24, Shionuma will discuss what he learned while completing the Omine Thousand Day Circumambulation Practice, in which he climbed 4,000 feet up and down Mt. Omine every day for one thousand days, followed by the Four Deprivations, in which he spent nine days without food, water, or sleep.
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche Cancels Travels
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, the founder of the Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery in Kathamandu, is canceling his travel this year, including a planned trip to North America, according to a statement from Rangjung Yeshe Gomde California executive director Jack deTar. “Though Rinpoche’s health is generally good, he is heeding the request of his doctor to reduce his travel and rest,” the statement said.