Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Meditation Can Increase Your Ego
A new study suggests that meditation actually increases the ego. Researchers found that meditation boosted participants’ feeling of self-enhancement, which tends to accompany the acquisition of any new skill. A sense of well-being also increased among those surveyed in the study. “Ego-quieting is often called upon to explain mind-body practices’ well-being benefits,” the study’s authors wrote in their findings. “In contrast, we observed that mind-body practices boost self-enhancement and this boost—in turn—elevates well-being.” The research, however, was limited to European meditators, and it was unclear if their practice was within the context of a Buddhist ethical or philosophical tradition as the participants were recruited through Facebook.
English Dharma in Mongolia
At a Buddhist center in Mongolia, one lama is mixing Buddhist teachings with English language studies. Lama Zopa Rinpoche of the The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) has been teaching children at Ganden Do Ngag Shedrup Ling the 16 Guidelines for Life in English, an FPMT statement says. The 16 Guidelines is a Buddhist-inspired collection of ethical and mindfulness teachings offered online and developed by the British-based Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom. “With the English language being a most convenient and popular language in the world [sic], we see that this learning will open many more doors for the participants and their futures as so many dharma materials and teachings are available in English,” the statement says.
South Korea Pagoda Reborn
South Korea’s restoration of its oldest pagoda, Mireuksaji Seoktap, is almost complete, the Korea Times reports. The pagoda, which is made of 2,800 stones and dates back to the year 639, fell into disrepair under Japanese colonialism. A restoration effort to dismantle and restructure the pagoda began in October 2001.
Tibetans “Sing” Praises of China—Against Their Will
Tibetans living in Chinese territories are being forced to learn songs of praise for the Chinese Communist Party that they will have to perform at the July 1 anniversary of the party’s founding, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. Those who refuse to sing face stiff fines. “One member of every Tibetan family has been forced to perform the group songs in front of large crowds,” a source told RFA. “Tibetans are not willing to sing the songs, but the Chinese authorities’ grip on the people has tightened year by year.”
China Spies on Tibetans in Sweden
A Swedish court has convicted a man of spying on Tibetan refugees for the Chinese government, Reuters reports. The man, who lives in Sweden and has a Tibetan mother, was sentenced to one year and 10 months in prison. The spy would travel to Poland to exchange information with Chinese officials about what Tibetan refugees were doing in Sweden, the courts found. “Even if the information that the man gathered can seem trivial, it could have caused considerable damage to Tibetans both in Sweden and abroad,” the judge said in a statement.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama declined to pick a favorite team in the World Cup during a teaching in Latvia this week. “I feel that competition that results in everyone involved reaching the top can be regarded as healthy and positive. However, if it entails putting obstacles in your rivals’ way, it’s not so good,” the Dalai Lama said. Besides, he said, “I have little interest in sport, so I have no favorite team.” So, sorry, he won’t be blessing your home team anytime soon.