Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Pelosi & McGovern: Not Too Late for China to Change Its Tibet Policy
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and James McGovern (D-Massachusetts) called on China to let His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama return to Tibet in an op-ed published in the Boston Globe this week. The Dalai Lama fled his home country in 1959 after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. He has been living in exile in Dharamsala, India, ever since. Because of his calls for Tibetan independence, the Chinese government has banned his image and gone to such extremes as kidnapping his successor, the Panchen Lama, at age 6. While Pelosi and McGovern acknowledge China’s hostility toward the spiritual leader, they insist, “It is not too late for China to choose a different path. Imagine the world’s reaction if Chinese authorities were to affirm the right of the 14th Dalai Lama to return to his homeland if he so desires. Imagine if they were to afford His Holiness the respect he deserves as a man of peace. Imagine if through good-faith dialogue they sought to ease tensions, rather than implementing policies that exacerbate them. Imagine.”
Thai Boys Pray for Protection
On their first day home after being rescued from a Thai cave, 11 of the 12 boys from the Wild Boar soccer team visited a Buddhist temple to pray for protection from misfortune, the Independent reports. Some of the boys have already said that they want to train as Buddhist monks after their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, led them in meditation to help keep them calm during their harrowing rescue. The boys prayed alongside their coach, friends, and family at the Wat Phra That Doi Wao temple near Thailand’s northern border.
The North American Buddhist Alliance (NABA) is holding an “On Inclusion!” event in Toronto on October 31. The event will host teachers from different backgrounds, including Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, Reverend Toshikazu Kenjitsu Nakagaki, and Reverend Bup Hee, who will discuss issues of exclusion “based on religion, creed, tradition, race, sex, gender, and too many other other causes for divisiveness,” according to a NABA announcement. “This gathering offers a reflection, ultimately on examining the false-self erecting walls of spite, the oppositions between us and them, you and me,” the statement added.
Rockstar Buddhist Nun Funds New Bridges in Nepal
Buddhist nun Ani Choying Drolma, famous in Nepal as the “Singing Nun,” donated Rs 10 million ($91,000) to the Nepalese government to help build suspension bridges, the Himalayan Times reports. The bridges are meant to replace dangerous tuin, single-rope bridges that Nepalese residents use to climb across rivers and that have caused many accidents. Ani Choying Drolma, who handed over the funds to the Prime Minister on a Nepalese TV show, said she hopes the donation is enough to build at least one bridge.
Google-Associated Mindfulness Boss Steps Down Over “Misconconduct”
The chairman of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, Chade-Meng Tan, has stepped down due to an investigation into “inappropriate behavior,” the organization said in a press release. Search Inside Yourself was created as a mindfulness training program at Google in 2007 and has since branched off into an independent nonprofit that continues to work with the tech giant. The statement did not make clear what the allegations against Tan were but said that he had been cooperating with the investigation and has “expressed remorse for his past conduct.”
The Cost of a Sakyong
Following reports of sexual abuse allegations against Shambhala International leader Sakyong Mipham, Think Progress reported that the organization has spent more than $500,000 in 2016 on the Sakyong. While the Sakyong’s salary was relatively low, at around $30,000, documents obtained by the news outlet showed that Shambhala spent more on “housing for two household servants and a cook; three staff for [his] wife; nannies for their children; household expenses, including food; and cars.” Ryan Watson, Shambhala International’s director of finance, responded to the report, saying, “It is factually incorrect to total Shambhala’s 2016 budget line and call it a compensation package as it primarily includes amounts for office space, secretarial support, and other legitimate business expenses related to the running of an international church.” He later sent a message to Shambhala members calling for “continued financial support.”
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