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.
Soka Gakkai International President Daisaku Ikeda Releases 40th Peace Proposal
On the 47th anniversary of the founding of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), the world’s largest and most influential sect of Nichiren Buddhism, SGI president Daisaku Ikeda released his 40th peace proposal, which is titled “Transforming Human History: The Light of Peace and Dignity.” The full translation in English will be available here on February 11. Ikeda focuses on the inequalities heightened by the pandemic, the climate crisis, and the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Emphasizing that vulnerable people—especially, women, the elderly, and children and young people who have suffered because of school closures, loss of family members, and unemployment—have become even more vulnerable during the pandemic, Ikeda says, “I firmly believe that the key factor determining the direction of history will prove to be we humans ourselves, and not a virus.” Joan Anderson, a representative of SGI, adds, “President Ikeda draws on the wisdom of an episode from the Vimalakirti Sutra illustrating the bodhisattva spirit of empathy and the sense that our own individual security cannot be realized in isolation from the conditions of privation faced by others.”
Ikeda also reiterates his longtime support of youth participation and leadership in social issues by calling for a post-COVID youth summit to reimagine the world after the pandemic, and by continuing to call for participation in addressing the climate crisis. This year, he specified the need for a youth council on protecting environmental resources. “Listening to the voices of young people is not optional; it is the only logical path forward if we are genuinely concerned about the future of our world,” he said at the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow last year and repeated in the peace proposal.
Finally, as a leader in the movement to abolish nuclear weapons, Ikeda shared his support for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). “As more countries that presently feel they cannot sign or ratify the TPNW begin to positively acknowledge its true value and significance, I am confident that this will catalyze the energy and political will needed to put an end to the era of nuclear weapons,” he writes in the proposal.
SGI, which was founded in 1975 to support members of Soka Gakkai outside of Japan, has become the most diverse Buddhist organization in the US. Today, 8.27 million households in Japan are part of the Soka Gakkai, with 2.8 million members participating in SGI outside of Japan, including 354,000 in North America, 325,000 in Central and South America, 162,000 in Europe, 51,000 in Africa, and 1.9 million members in Asia and Oceania.
Memorial Ceremonies and Tributes Continue for Thich Nhat Hanh
Practitioners around the globe continue to share tributes and remembrances since the passing of the beloved Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, who died on January 22 in Hue, Vietnam, at the age of 95. The Plum Village Community, Nhat Hanh’s sangha, shared a selection of tributes from notable figures who expressed their gratitude for Nhat Hanh’s teachings on peace, love, and compassion. President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam shared their wishes for the Plum Village Community to “continue the Zen master’s vision and aspiration for engaged Buddhism. . . and, together with the wider Buddhist community in Vietnam and abroad, promote peace in the world.” Hundreds of thousands, Buddhist and non-Buddhist, have participated in online memorial services hosted by the 11 monasteries Nhat Hanh founded in the US, Europe, and Asia. Following a week of livestream memorial services from Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam, the final funeral and cremation ceremony took place on January 28 at 6 p.m. EST. Find a schedule of worldwide memorial services here. Read a practitioner’s remembrances from a 1993 retreat in West Virginia led by Nhat Hanh, and read Nhat Hanh’s full obituary here.
Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche Passes Into Parinirvana
On January 26, Dodrupchen Chorten Monastery in Sikkim and Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies in Oregon announced that Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche—a master in both the Nyingma and Dzogchen school of Tibetan Buddhism and key holder of the Longchen Nyingtik teachings—passed into parinirvana. It is believed that the rinpoche is now in a state of thukdam, during which his body will be preserved as his mind becomes luminous awareness.
Keanu Reeves Facing Backlash in China for Pro-Tibet Stance
Actor Keanu Reeves recently agreed to perform in this year’s Tibet House US Annual Benefit Concert, a virtual fundraising event that will be hosted by The Dalai Lama’s New York-based Tibet House organization in March. Reeves’s support for Tibet has ruffled the feathers of some Chinese nationalists, who are calling for his newest movie, The Matrix Resurrections, to be banned in China.
Saturday, January 29: The newest issue of Tricycle magazine goes up online. Find the issue here.
Monday, January 31: On the final day of Tricycle Meditation Month, Myoshin Kelley, a teacher at Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s Tergar Meditation Community, hosts a live Q&A on Zoom where participants can ask questions about their practice. Register for the 1pm ET Q&A here.