Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Noah Levine Will Continue Teaching
This week, Noah Levine—who was removed from his leadership role at Against the Stream after the group, which he founded, determined he likely broke their rules about sexual misconduct—sent out a statement announcing that he would continue teaching through his other organization, the Refuge Recovery Treatment Center. “I have every intention of carrying on with my calling and mission, that is to practice the dharma, to embody wisdom and compassion as best I can, and to share the teachings of the Buddha with all who are interested to receive it,” he wrote in the statement. While Levine stepped down from the board of the nonprofit addiction support group Refuge Recovery in April, he will continue to lead meditation groups and provide other services at the for-profit Refuge Recovery Treatment Center in Los Angeles. “To the women who have come forward and expressed a sense of suffering because of interpersonal experiences with me, I am sorry I caused you harm and I ask your forgiveness,” the statement reads, noting that he did not have any relationships with students.
Stupa for the 16th Karmapa Planned in Illinois
A stupa will be erected to honor the 16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje near the site of his death in Illinois, according to a statement from the office of Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of two claimants to the title of the 17th Karmapa. “For Buddhist practitioners, the area where a great lama chooses to pass away is filled with blessings, and so it becomes a place of pilgrimage,” the statement explains. Accordingly, the 10-acre Karmapa Center 16 was established in Wadsworth in the years after the late head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism passed away in 1981. Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje visited the site on August 30, where he performed blessings in preparation to build the stupa along with a temple and a retreat center.
Myanmar Convicts Reuters Reporters
A judge in Myanmar this week found two Reuters reporters guilty of breaking state-secret laws and sentenced the men to seven years in prison, according to Reuters. Journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo contended that they had been set up by police. The officers had given the reporters classified documents, and shortly after the journalists were arrest on charges of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. They had been reporting on the killing of 10 Rohingya people at the time. US officials soon condemned the conviction, NPR reports. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that the journalists should be “commended—not imprisoned—for their work exposing human rights violations & mass killings,” and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called the decision “another terrible stain on the Burmese government.” A statement from the office of UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “The right to freedom of expression and information is a cornerstone of any democracy. It is unacceptable that these journalists were prosecuted for reporting on major human rights violations against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.”
Mon Community Builds First “Authentic” Buddhist Pagoda in Ohio
The Akron Mon Buddhist Temple has built the first Buddhist “authentic” pagoda in Ohio, according to ohio.com. A secretary for the temple, Soeng Kha Mahn, told the website that the pagoda is unique in the state because it houses a Buddhist relic brought over from Sri Lanka. The community held a crowning ceremony to mark the structure’s completion, which drew a crowd of around 300 people, the site reports. The Mon people are an ethnic minority from Myanmar and Thailand who are credited with helping to spread Theravada Buddhism in the region. After Myanmar’s independence in 1948, the Mon sought autonomy, which set off a conflict that continues to this day. Many Mon people have fled the country, mostly to Thailand but also to America. Akron has the second largest Mon refugee community in the US after Fort Wayne, Indiana.
New Bon Leader Enthroned
On September 7, Kyabje Menri Trizin Geshe Dawa Dhargye was officially enthroned as the 34th head of the Bon, a Tibetan tradition that combines elements of the nation’s indigenous religions with Buddhism, Phayul.com reports. The 33rd Kyabje Gyalwa Menri Trizin passed away on September 14, 2017. The ceremony, which began on Thursday the 6th, took place at the Pal Shenten Menriling Monastery in Dolanji in northern India. The 34th Menri Trizin had been selected in January after a process called Lha Sung Den Tarwa, in which Tibetan Bon lamas whittled down a list of around 60 candidates, according to Phayul.
Selfies Wanted for the Dalai Lama
The Tibet Museum in Dharamsala, India, is scheduled to open in 2019, and they want your help. The Central Tibetan Administration has put out an open call for selfies with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, which the museum will then use to create a “floor-to-ceiling selfie wall” celebrating the Buddhist leader’s “world-wide influence.” The exhibit also aims to bring attention to the “continuing oppression of the Tibetan people,” who are forbidden in Chinese-controlled Tibet from possessing photos of the Dalai Lama.