Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Thai Soccer Team Ordained
The Thai boys who were rescued from a cave have been ordained as Buddhist novices, BBC reports. Eleven of the 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team had announced their desire to be ordained after their coach led them through Buddhist meditation practices to keep them calm during the rescue operation. The New York Times reports that the widow of the Thai Navy SEAL who died while helping to bring the boys to safety was also in attendance at the ordination, along with the boys’ families. Following the ceremony, the boys will spend nine days doing charity work and praying at a monastery.
Publishers Step Away from the Sakyong
The publishers of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s books have distanced themselves from the Shambhala International leader, who has stepped aside from his duties amid multiple allegations of sexual abuse. In a statement to Publishers Weekly, Harmony Books—the division of the Crown Publishing Group that published the Sakyong’s books The Lost Art of Good Conversation (2017) and Running with the Mind of Meditation (2013)—said that that it currently does not have an active relationship with him and does not plan to pursue any future deals. Shambhala Publications, which is not affiliated with Shambhala International, also released a statement to PW, saying, “We of course share a name and some history, and we recognize that many members of that community who are confused, upset, and grieving, are members of our own as well and we wish them solace and comfort in this difficult time.”
MNDFL’s Lodro Rinzler’s #MeToo Flak
Shortly after MNDFL founder Lodro Rinzler announced this month that he was leaving Shambhala International because of sexual abuse allegations at the organization, a report on the news site ThinkProgress revealed that the meditation teacher had been accused of sexual misconduct. A woman in 2013 accused Rinzler of pressuring her into having sex, and the claim resurfaced recently as Shambhala leaders have been opening investigations into allegations against Shambhala teachers, the site reports. Rinzler denied the allegations and said they did not contribute to his decision to leave.
Massive Monastery Planned in Canada
The government of Prince Edward Island in Canada has approved the construction of a Buddhist monastery capable of housing 1,400 nuns, CBC reports. The 120 hectares Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute is led by Master Zhen-Ru, the dharma heir of Master Jih-Chang, a Taiwanese monk who studied in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and founded an organization called Bliss and Wisdom. The massive complex will likely take 10 to 15 years to complete.
China Bars Tibetan Children from Religious Activities During Vacation
Chinese officials have banned students in Tibet from religious activities over their summer break. The state-run newspaper the the Global Times reported that students in Lhasa had to sign a document agreeing to the prohibition, apparently as part of an effort to limit the political influence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Secretary Sonam Norbu Dagpo, the spokesperson of Central Tibetan Administration, decried the policy, saying it “violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ principles” as well as “China’s own laws . . . that guarantee ‘autonomous areas’ the freedom of religious belief and protection of religious activities.”
Philip Glass to Get Lifetime Honor
Classical composer Philip Glass will receive an award for lifetime artistic achievement at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, in December, according to a press release. He will be joined by three other honorees, including Cher, Reba McEntire, and jazz musician Wayne Shorter. “Philip Glass is a modern-day Mozart whose works across opera, symphony, chamber music, and film define contemporary music and simply transfix us,” Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in statement. Glass is the chair emeritus of the Tricycle Foundation’s board of directors.
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