Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Upaya Zen Center Hosts Women Leaders Conference on Justice
On June 21, Upaya Zen Center held an online conference of women leaders discussing the relationship between justice and faith. The conference, called “Awakened Action: Women Leaders Speak to Race, Poverty, Climate, and the Pandemic,” featured speakers such as Jane Fonda, Dekila Chungyalpa, Joanna Macy, Rebecca Solnit, and more. In an Upaya blog post, the center’s founder and abbot, Roshi Joan Halifax, expressed how remarkable and rare the opportunity was for women leaders and scientists to address the relationship between many types of injustice and ongoing historic challenges. “One of the powerful things about Upaya Zen Center being small, conscientious, and nimble is that we are able to respond quickly to historically important events of the times,” the post said.
Tuva’s Head Lama Dies of COVID-19
The Eighth Kamby Lama, Jampel Lodoy, died from complications of COVID-19 this week at age 45, Buddhistdoor reports. The most senior monk of Tuva, a small Russian republic bordering Mongolia, Jampel Lodoy was elected to his second term as Tuva’s supreme lama in November 2019. He contracted the coronavirus earlier this month and was placed in a medically induced coma; he had several medical conditions. Sholban Kara-ool, chairman of the Tuvan government, described his death as “a huge loss for our republic.” The late lama was known for building relationships with the neighboring Tibetan Buddhist republics of Kalmykia and Buryatia and constructing large monasteries. New coronavirus cases are decreasing in Russia, which has the third-highest number of cases and 8,594 deaths, according to the New York Times.
Tricycle Contributing Editor Pico Iyer Interviews The Dalai Lama
The acclaimed essayist and novelist Pico Iyer interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama on June 17 as part of the Jaipur Literature Festival’s Brave New World series. The longtime friends spoke via video conference; the Dalai Lama, 84, has been in self-isolation since the coronavirus pandemic began. The Tibetan leader urged people to see themselves as members of one human community, and to develop karuna [compassion] and practice ahimsa [nonviolence] in response to the coronavirus pandemic and other crises, such as global warming.
A New People Of Color Meditation Group
Tara Mandala-authorized teacher Karla Jackson-Brewer is leading a new donation-based meditation group for anyone who identifies as black, brown, indigenous, or a person of color. The first virtual gathering was held on June 17; two more will be held on July 15 and August 19 via Zoom. No prior meditation experience is required, and individuals from all spiritual backgrounds are welcome to join.
Japan Holds Anti-Racism Rally in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
About 500 protestors in Tokyo took to the streets on Saturday to protest racial discrimination and police brutality, reported The Diplomat. Protestors—all wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus—spoke out against racism within the Japanese police system and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in American. At a smaller gathering, speakers paid tribute to black victims of US police violence, including George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, while foreigners and mixed-race participants spoke about racism and discrimination in Japan. A similar protest against police violence took place on May 30, after a video circulated online showing Tokyo police holding down a Kurdish man, inflicting a serious neck injury before releasing him but was without charges.