Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Bodhisattva Contains Multitudes
A cache of artifacts was discovered inside a 700-year-old bodhisattva statue at Hokkeji temple in Nara, Japan, NHK reports. When the statue of Monju Bosatsu (Skt. Manjushri), the bodhisattva of wisdom, was put through a CT scan at the Nara National Museum, about 30 items were found in its head and 150 more were discovered in its torso. The items included scrolls and relics that appear to have been untouched.
Professor’s Tragic Death
Psychoanalyst Jeremy Safran, a professor at the New School for Social Research, was killed by an intruder in his Brooklyn home this week, the New York Times reports. Safran, the author of Psychoanalysis and Buddhism, was apparently killed with a hammer. Mirzo Atadzhanov, 28, was found hiding in his closet and was later arrested and charged with murder and burglary.
Australian School Gets Mindful
A school in Sydney, Australia, has begun incorporating mindfulness meditation into their curriculum, the Brisbane Times reports. And Homebush West Public School assistant principal Roxanne Picoaga told the paper that students have been benefiting from the half-hour of mindfulness that follows their lunch break. “We’ve collected some data in the one year we’ve been implementing it, and teachers all say students have been more productive in the classroom and more focused and calm, particularly after a session,” she said. “It’s a wonderful reason to continue it if our goal is to improve educational outcomes.”
European Parliament Meets with Dalai Lama
A delegation from the European Parliament visited Dharamshala, India, this week to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his home-in-exile and discuss the future of Tibet, according to the Central Tibetan Administration. The three members from one of the legislative branches of the European Union condemned Chinese suppression of Tibetan culture. “When people are not given equal rights to pray, practice their language and to preserve their culture, we have to say something,” said E.P. member Ramon Tremosa, of Spain. “If we don’t say something now, the same thing can happen to someone else in another part of the world.”
Richard Gere Celebrates Wedding with Monks
Richard Gere and his new wife, Alejandra Silva, celebrated their marriage with a party on Saturday, inviting several Tibetan Buddhist monks. Gere, who used his 1993 Oscar speech to call for freeing Tibetan territories, has recently been promoting a new book of Buddhist murals. Silva is Buddhist as well, telling ABC newspaper in 2015, “I was born Catholic, but converted to Buddhism two years ago. I think it was already inside of me. I believe in reincarnation so that’s why I think I was Buddhist before realizing it.”
Islamic Nations Condemn Myanmar
Islamic nations this week condemned Myanmar’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya people, Radio Free Asia reports. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 countries, also praised Bangladesh for taking in the nearly 700,000 refugees who have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The group is calling for greater support from the U.N. to put pressure on Myanmar. Delwar Hossain, a professor of international relations at Dhaka University, explained to an RFA affiliate, “OIC is not such an organization that can create pressure on Myanmar, but they can work with the U.N. and some other countries to raise a global voice on the Rohingya issue.”
In the trial of two journalists who were arrested while covering the Rohingya crisis, a police whistleblower testified this week that the reporters were framed. Police captain Moe Yan Naing has also been imprisoned over his testimony and appeared in court with his hands cuffed. Moe Yan Naing explained in detail how police gave documents to reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo as part of a sting operation to charge them with violating the Official Secrets Act.
Meanwhile, 93 refugees from the Karen people have been allowed to return to Myanmar, Reuters reports. Around 100,000 members of the mostly Buddhist ethnic minority have been living in camps in Thailand since fighting broke out between Karen guerillas and the Burmese military in the 1980s. It’s the second time Karen people were allowed to repatriate, following a group of 68 refugees returning in 2016.
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