Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week and next.
Aung San Suu Kyi Faces Two-Year Prison Sentence
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader who was arrested when the country’s military seized power in February, has been sentenced to two years in prison for charges of incitement and non-compliance with COVID-19 restrictions during the 2020 election campaign. Originally set for four years but quickly halved, the sentence marks the first verdict on almost a dozen charges. “This proceeding should not be confused with an actual trial—it is theater of the absurd and a gross violation of human rights,” said Tom Andrews, United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar.
Vietnamese Nun Opens Second Temple in Japan to Help Immigrants Affected by COVID-19
Last month, Vietnamese nun Thich Tam Tri opened a new temple called Tochigi Daion-ji in Nasushiobara, a city in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture. Like the temple she previously opened in the city of Honjo in 2018, Tochigi Daion-ji will house and support Vietnamese nationals who came to work in Japan, but who have faced hard times, especially since the pandemic. Because of Japan’s strict COVID-19-induced travel rules, many workers who wish to return home are stuck in the country, and struggling to find work. As of 2019, Vietnamese immigrants represent the largest group of foreigners living in Japan. Read more about Thich Tam Tri and her work here.
Two Thai Buddhist Leaders Pass Away
Mae Chee Sansanee Sthirasuta, a well-known Thai Buddhist nun, died on Tuesday from cancer. She was 68 years old. Sansanee founded the Sathira-Dhammasthan Buddhist learning center in Bangkok in 1987 to provide classes on dharma and meditation for people from all walks of life. She also established Ban Sai Samphan, a shelter for women, and Savikasikhalai Mahavichalaidhama University.
The revered monk Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamangalacharn, known as Somdet Chuang, died on Thursday at the age of 96 years old. He had been receiving kidney dialysis treatment for five years but had no other underlying health conditions. Since 1965, Chuang served as abbot of Wat Pak Nam Phasi Charoen in Bangkok’s Phasi Charoen District. He also founded the Luang Phor Sod Wat Pak Nam Foundation to promote Buddhist teachings.
December 11: Nonprofits Better Burma and Support the Democracy Movement in Burma host a live, virtual event to conclude an art exhibit and auction titled Artists Against Tyranny. Funds from the three-part event will go toward humanitarian aid in Myanmar. Learn more here.
December 11-12: The Garrison Institute holds a multidisciplinary, two-day workshop titled “Nurturing Relationship Sensemaking: An Ideas and Practice Festival,” focused on interconnectedness. Register here.
December 15: The American Buddhist Study Center celebrates its 70th anniversary with a free online event. Learn more about the event here and register here.