Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Buddha: Now in 3-D!
Following a rash of thefts of Buddhist statues, students at technical high school in Japan have begun printing 3-D replicas to sit inside temples after the originals were moved to a more secure location at a museum, according to The Japan News.
Wiring the Buddhist Circuit
Indian politicians have been working on a plan to connect sites along the Buddhist Circuit—a route that follows the Buddha from Lumbini in Nepal where he was born, through Bihar in India where he attained enlightenment, to Sarnath and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, where he gave his first teachings and died. Following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to Bihar, the state’s chief minister sought technical support from Japan to build a proposed high-speed railway as part of a “peace corridor” between the Buddhist landmarks, the Times of India reports.
Temple Stays for Olympic Tourists
During the Olympics in Pyeongchang, the Korean Buddhist Cultural Foundation offered a special temple stay program at five sites, according to the Korean Herald. Olympic and Paralympic ticket holders received 80 percent off. The program continues through March 18.
One Hall of a Discovery
Archaeologists believe they have found a banquet hall for nobility dating back to 538 A.D. to 794 A.D. near Asukadera, the first Buddhist temple in Japan, Newsweek reports. The “square was a functional venue for various rituals,” a Kyoto Tachibana University archaeologist said.
Buddhists and Muslims Clash in Sri Lanka
Five people were wounded in a clash between Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims in eastern Sri Lanka that also damaged a mosque, Reuters reports. Tension has grown in the area as hardline Buddhist groups accuse Muslims of forced conversions and vandalism of Buddhist structures. Tricycle covered a conflict there back in 2001.
Crisis in Myanmar
This week, Facebook removed the page of the nationalist leader nicknamed the Buddhist Bin Laden, U Wirathu. “Our Community Standards prohibit organisations and people dedicated to promoting hatred and violence against others,” a Facebook spokesperson explained to Agence France-Presse.
Meanwhile, a group of 50 nationalists disrupted an anti-violence news conference in Yangon. The event by the Anti-False Buddhist Doctrine Committee, which was created to pressure the government to take action against U Wirathu, had to be called off. “We don’t want to see it turning into a fight,” Min Thunya, the committee’s founder monk, told the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency.
The international community has taken new actions as the European Union has begun pushing for sanctions against the Myanmar government until the rights abuses end, according to Japan Today. The European leaders are considering freezing the assets of top military officials.
Three Nobel Peace Prize recipients placed the blame on the shoulders of fellow laureate and Myanmar politician Aung Sang Suu Kyi after they witnessed the refugee camps firsthand. “She should stop her silence, she should wake up and stop this genocide,” Tawakkol Karman of Yemen urged.