Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Fire Ritual at Japanese Buddhist Temple Purges Online Vitriol
Kokujo-ji, a Japanese Shingon Buddhist temple, has developed a unique means of addressing hateful online comments: they recently held a fire ritual to cleanse online hatred and negative energy, BuddhistDoor reports. In the October 7 ceremony, part of efforts to be relevant to the modern world, monks wrote details of instances of online hatred and negative energy on wooden sticks and fed the sticks to the fire. Kokujo-ji welcomes submissions on their website dedicated to the ceremony.
Read more about Shingon practices here: The Subjugation of Evil
Burmese nationalist monk Wirathu condemns calls to discipline Myanmar’s generals for Rohingya crisis
Agence France-Presse reports firebrand Buddhist abbot Ashin Wirathu condemned the UN and the International Criminal Court’s calls to discipline Myanmar’s generals for persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in his first public sermon since a a ban imposed on him by a council of senior monks expired in March. Wirathu made the comments at a large nationalist rally held in downtown Yangon to support Myanmar’s military. He remains banned from Facebook for hate speech.
Read more about Wirathu here: Review: The Venerable W is an “Unsettling Self Portrait” of Burmese Buddhist Monk and Hate-monger Ashin Wirathu
Tibetan Nuns Earn Advanced Degrees
In the third annual administration of the examination for the geshema degree, the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent to a doctoral degree previously reserved only for monks, all ten nuns passed and will receive the degree, according to a press release from the Tibetan Nuns Project. The nuns will formally receive their degrees in November, bringing the total number of nuns who possess a geshema degree up to 37. The geshema (geshe for monks) is the highest degree in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and the culmination of a 17-year rigorous course of study.
Vatican holds first International Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Nuns
The Vatican recently announced their first interfaith meeting of Christian and Buddhist nuns, held on October 14th–18th at Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Monastery in Taiwan. 70 Buddhist and Catholic nuns participated in the conference, which was on the topic “Contemplative Action and Active Contemplation: Buddhist and Christian Nuns in Dialogue.” The event was co-organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Monastery, the Association of the Major Superiors of Religious Women in Taiwan, and Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique·Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.
Buddhist Global Relief to host 9th annual Walk to Feed the Hungry in New York City
The charitable organization Buddhist Global Relief, founded by American Buddhist monk Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, is hosting their annual series of Walk to Feed the Hungry events to raise funds for their programs combating hunger around the world. The largest walk, in New York City, will be held on October 27th at Riverside Park in Manhattan. Other walks have been held in cities across the United States from August through October.
Art for Tibet auction to benefit Students for a Free Tibet
On November 1st the Art for Tibet benefit auction will raise funds for Students for a Free Tibet. The event, held at New York City’s Tibet House, will “showcases artwork from a diverse international pool of established and emerging artists, including a growing number of outstanding contemporary Tibetan artists,” according to the website.