How do you know you’re über-famous? When even Buddhist monks can recognize you. That’s what happened to Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked tennis player, when he spent downtime between Wimbledon matches meditating at the nearby Thai Buddhist Buddhapadipa Temple. He eventually won the tournament in decisive fashion before millions of tennis fans across the world—and a few monks down the street, quietly tracking his progress online.
Party with the Buddha
The students establishing a Buddhist fraternity and sorority at San Diego State University (SDSU) know it sounds like an oxymoron, but they don’t mind. “Instead of a keg, we’ll have a meditation room,” joked Jeff Zlotnick, the teacher at a local Buddhist temple and an adviser to the fraternity effort, in an interview with the university’s newspaper, The Daily Aztec. Aiming to open next spring, SDSU’s newest Greek organization plans to help young students, finally free from overbearing parents, get totally wasted some peace and quiet.
Nichiren Gets Graphic
“Creeeeeak!” . . . “Gaargh!” . . . “Fwoosh!”—these onomatopoeic phrases appear in bold, curvy lettering to inject excitement into the pages of Nichiren, a new graphic novel starring the Japanese sect’s eponymous 13th-century founder. Follow along as the insurgent monk battles corrupt priests, delivers Buddhism to the masses, and ultimately reaches enlightenment—all while wearing the same pair of flip-flops.
The Roof, the Roof, the Roof Is (Actually) on Fire
This year’s Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert featured a temple devoted to Mazu, a Chinese Buddhist goddess of the sea. By the event’s opening day, the temple’s artists and builders had spent over a year constructing the ornate edifice. A week later, following festival tradition, they burned it to the ground. Shortly thereafter they were presented with the 2015 Excellence in Nonattachment Award, which was immediately withdrawn.
Bringing Bamiyan Back
As it turns out, 3D projectors can resurrect hip-hop legends and ancient Buddhist statues. In June, a Chinese couple, with permission from UNESCO and the Afghan government, projected a life-size hologram of the giant 6th-century Bamiyan Buddhas at the site of their destruction by the Taliban 14 years ago. The couple, Janson Yu and Liyan Hu, built the projectors themselves, which they’ve been using for a worldwide documentary film project. About 150 people viewed the artwork over the course of two days, far fewer than the thousands who saw Tupac Shakur “perform” at the 2012 Coachella music festival. It’s unlikely that anybody attended both events, but if so, his or her mind must be blown to bits. Thank goodness we have 3D projection technology to help reassemble it.