Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Myanmar Vows to “Crush” Rebel Group
Clashes between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army, an ethnically Buddhist Rakhine rebel group, have intensified as the government has vowed to “crush” the militia, Reuters reports. The Rohingya refugees caught in a “no-man’s land” between Myanmar and Bangladesh are reportedly panicking amid the increased chaos, according to Al Jazeera.
Hundreds of thousands of the Rohingya Muslim minority have fled to refugee camps in Bangladesh due to a campaign of military violence that a United Nations report has said amounted to genocide. But other Rohingya remain in limbo along the border. The government announced their intention to crack down on the rebel group following a meeting with Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Sui Kyi with army chief Min Aung Hlaing and other officials, according to Reuters.
Ohio Center Destroyed in Fire Rebuilds
The Columbus Karma Thegum Chöling Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center in Ohio is preparing to rebuild after their center was destroyed in an arson fire around three years ago, Lama Kathy Wesley told Tricycle. The center, which was founded by the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa in 1977 and moved to its downtown Columbus location in 190, was destroyed in January 2016 after a trash bin fire that was part of a string of arsons that night spread to the center. Lama Wesley said that they were now close to rebuilding after raising $1.5 million out of the $2.3 million estimated construction cost. “If they can raise at least $500,000 this spring, they can start building, with the remaining money being raised in the next year,” she said. To donate or see updates, visit their GoFundMe page.
Thai Cave Boys Film Wraps
The Cave, an indie film about the rescue of a Thai soccer team that captured the world’s attention over the summer, has announced that it has finished shooting, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film, by Thai-Irish director Tom Waller, will be the first about the story, beating out a planned project from Universal Studios and another from Crazy Rich Asians director John M. Chu, the site reports. The 12 members of the Wild Boars (Moo Pa) soccer team from Mae Sai, northern Thailand were trapped from June 23 to July 10. During their ordeal, the team’s coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who had lived in a Buddhist monastery for over a decade, taught the boys how to meditate to stay calm. Upon their rescue, 11 of the boys temporarily ordained as novice monks.
China Vows Tibet access
China has committed to ease travel restrictions in Tibet shortly after the United States government passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which denies visas to Chinese officials responsible for the Tibet border policy, Al Jazeera reports. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law in December after it was unanimously approved in the Senate. A Chinese official in the Tibet Autonomous Region announced that they would be increasing the number of visas granted by 50 percent and cutting wait times, according to Reuters. The travel restrictions in Tibet were hindering the work of journalists and aid groups, proponents of the US law have said.
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