Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Annual Fire-Walking Festival Celebrated Near Tokyo
On March 13, Buddhist monks and devotees gathered at Mount Takao, just outside Tokyo, to participate in an annual fire-walking festival called Hiwatari Matsuri. For roughly 50 years, the monks at Takao-san Yakuo-in temple have laid out smoldering embers from cypress bonfires for worshippers to walk through, barefoot, while praying for safety and world peace. In an interview with Reuters following last year’s festival, Koshou Kamimura, a monk from the temple, said, “Passing your body through the flames cleanses your soul and delivers your prayers to Buddha.” See here for photos from this year’s festival.
Nonprofit Live to Love Organizes Relief for Refugees from Ukraine
In response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Live to Love International, a nonprofit organization serving the people of the Himalayas, is mobilizing its European chapters to deliver critical supplies to refugees. As thousands of Ukrainian refugees arrive in Germany every day, Live to Love Germany has begun distributing first aid supplies, blankets, food, hygiene items, and infant care items. The team is also building temporary shelters for the refugees. Donations to support the nonprofit’s relief efforts can be made through its website.
Plum Village Monasteries Spread Thich Nhat Hanh’s Ashes
On the 49th day since Thich Nhat Hanh’s passing, Plum Village Monastery in southern France; Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York; and Nhap Luu Monastery in Victoria, Australia gathered to spread the Zen master’s ashes. Watch the ceremony from Plum Village, France here.
Myanmar Junta Bombs Buddhist Temples Twice in One Day
Last Tuesday, the Myanmar junta attacked two Buddhist temples in the country’s Sagaing Region, targeting the Yinmabin Township in the morning and Kalay Township in the early afternoon. Over 150 soldiers carried out the morning military raid, firing 60mm artillery shells into the village and the local monastery. Two children were among six locals killed in the attack. Hours later in the Kalay Township, the junta fired four heavy artillery shells, three of which exploded in the local monastery’s compound where 1,500 civilians were sheltering. Ten people were injured and sent to the local hospital for treatment. Local news site Myanmar Now calls the recent attacks “evidence that the junta is deliberately bombing civilians… as part of its nationwide campaign of terror.”
Singing Bowls Go Viral on TikTok
Kehlsie Wright, who creates videos on TikTok under the username The Divine Mystic, is just one of many TikTok accounts to gain popularity recently for their #singingbowlmeditation videos. The hashtag currently has over 5.3 million views, while #singingbowl has 106 million views. On the app, self-filmed videos of singing bowl rituals are often accompanied by blue or purple ambient lighting, and contemplative captions. “How do you expect to keep going if you never allow yourself to rest?” reads the caption of a sound healing video from Elizabeth Jasmine, a self-described spiritual healer with over 30,000 followers who says she grew up going to Buddhist temple weekly. “I definitely witness a growth in the community that strives to self-healing… and believe[s] in the qualities of sound medicine,” another singing bowl practitioner, Alissa Portillo, who uses the name Soul Energy Space on TikTok, told Mashable.