Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Sweeping Zen Website Closes
The Buddhist website Sweeping Zen has closed down following its founder’s conversion to Christianity in 2017. Adam Tebbe said in a statement, “I do not feel God would want me promoting any religion or system of practices that do not lead others to Him.” He said that people had offered to purchase or maintain the site, but he decided to close it because “I feel that much of what happened to me in 2017 was directly related to my being a so-called evangelist for Buddhism, in addition to many doors I’d opened to the demonic over the years.”
Korean Buddhist Group Brings 100,000 Gas Stoves to Rohingya Refugees
The Join Together Society (JTS), a Korean Buddhist relief group, helped to deliver 100,000 gas stoves to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh, on January 22, according to a JTS press release. When JTS visited the camps in 2017 and 2018 to deliver food and mosquito nets, the United Nation’s World Food Programme requested that they provide gas stoves. The government-run Korea International Cooperation Agency contributed funds for 45,000 of the 100,000 units, which are expected to give 500,000 refugees the ability to cook. Hundreds of thousands of people from the Rohingya ethnic minority fled to Bangladesh from their homes in neighboring Myanmar during a government campaign of genocidal violence and persecution.
Meanwhile, the two Reuters journalists who were arrested in Myanmar while covering the Rohingya crisis filed an appeal on February 1 to the country’s Supreme Court to overturn their conviction on charges of violating an official secrets law, Reuters reports. Reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were sentenced to seven years in prison in September 2018. The same day, a police officer who was arrested after testifying that authorities had set up the reporters was set free, the news agency said. He had served nine months of his one year sentence. The cop, Moe Yan Naing, criticized the government upon his release but said that he found solace in his Buddhist faith. “I am a Buddhist,” he said. “I can find peace with that through our Buddhist way.”
China Denies Tibetan Activist’s Appeal
As Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk marked his third year in prison this month on charges of separatism for promoting bilingual education, he received the news that Chinese authorities had denied his appeal, Phayul.com reported. Wangchuk’s refusal to plead guilty to the charges that led to his five-year jail sentence was part of the reason his request was denied, the site said. The Chinese Human Rights Defenders activist group added that Wangchuk was not allowed to meet with his lawyer.
Shambhala Transition Team Dissolves
The transition team that Shambhala International set up after a series of reports surfaced of sexual misconduct among their leaders, including their head, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, has dissolved and is turning over their responsibilities to an 88-person “process team,” according to an emailed statement. An 11-person steering committee will guide the process team and will announce the “next steps” by the end of February, the statement said.
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