Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Kids Are Sent to Mindfulness Summer Camps
The Washington Post reports that a growing number of summer camps that teach kids mindfulness skills are popping up across the country. “This is how we’re going to reach the children of today,” says the founder of one camp. “These kids will grow up to be balanced in mind, body, and spirit. They come out of camp really understanding they have tools to help themselves.”
In the Art World…
An exhibit at Tibet House in Manhattan explores the divine feminine through a series of new works from the Dharmapala Thangka Center in Nepal. Master artist Karsang Lama will be available for a Q&A on Wednesday, March 21 at 6–7 p.m.
You can also head down to the Rubin Museum this weekend for a talk between Lama Kilung Rinpoche and neuroscientist György Buzsáki about the relationship between the Buddhist concept of reincarnation and the people in the West think of time. Or hear Why Buddhism Is True author Robert Wright discuss the science of mediation at the 92nd Street Y.
Legal Fight to Be Buddhist
A Malaysian woman is going to court to prove that she is Buddhist and not Muslim, the Singapore newspaper Today reports. The woman, born to a Buddhist mother and a Muslim father, is caught in a strange legal quagmire: in Malaysia, a different set of personal laws apply to and govern the life of Muslims. “As a result, her constitutional right to religious freedom, choice of partner and disposition of property are all adversely affected,” her lawyer, Aston Paiva, said.
Virtual Reality Tour Reimagines Buddhist Temple
The British Museum is using virtual reality to recreate the Great Shrine of Amaravati in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. A collection of marble reliefs dating back to 200 BC depict the Buddha flanked by devotees, including a perfumer, a monk, a disciple, and a group of women. “In the display, these donors will be dramatically reimagined by actors and projected onto the walls. Using new mobile phone technology, you will be able to use your smartphone to interact with the pilgrims, explore the Shrine in detail, and learn more about the power of patronage in ancient India,” the museum boasts.
Moby on Meditation
The musician Moby said in a new interview that one of his biggest influences is Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. “What I really like about Matthieu Ricard is that, up until recently, spirituality has always been anecdotal. It was always someone’s description of how their spiritual life affected them or changed them. But now, with things like fMRI and PET scans, you can actually see how the brain changes,” the artist said.
Jewel in the Crown
Speaking of celebrities, Megan Markle has reportedly been been meditating twice a day to deal with the pressures of a royal wedding.
Happy Elephant Day in Thailand
Buddhist monks in Thailand blessed dozens of elephants on Tuesday as part of a National Elephant Day ceremony. The light-hearted holiday is meant to bring attention to a serious problem: the wild elephant population in Thailand dropped from an estimated 300,000 a century ago to only around 3,000 today. See striking photographs of the ritual in Ayutthaya province here.
Meditation’s Effects on Depression
Meditation can prevent symptoms of depression from getting worse, according to a new study. Researchers looked at patients who experience symptoms of depression but who did not display the symptoms often enough to be diagnosed with major depression. They compared patients who practiced mindfulness meditation to patients who did not, and found that those who meditated had less of a chance of developing major depression. Mindfulness training also had a smaller impact on lessening depression symptoms.
Hate’s Hold on Myanmar
While many are working to stem violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar, Buddhist nationalists are continuing to persecute the minority group. After 800,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh, Myanmar’s secretary of foreign affairs said the country would be willing to take back fewer than 400 refugees, the Guardian reports. And even that offer requires the 374 repatriated refugees spend a month in “open-air prisons” first.
Buddhist hardliner U Wirathu, referred to as the “Buddhist Bin Laden,” has returned to preaching following a one-year ban, Reuters reports. He insisted this week that his rhetoric had nothing to do with violence in the Rakhine state.
A Buddhist man was killed by a landmine while trying to sneak into Myanmar from Bangladesh. The mines had been placed in an apparent effort to prevent Rohingya people from crossing the border, Bangladeshi officials told Radio Free Asia. Five others were injured by the mines, which were placed illegally.
Cooler Heads in Sri Lanka
Following a spate of Buddhist mob violence in Sri Lanka, hundreds of Buddhist monks rallied in the capital of Colombo to denounce the anti-Muslim attacks. The protesters decried the “communal clashes destroying national unity,” according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has lifted a ban on social media after the violence in the district of Kandy appears to have calmed down.
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