Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Buddhist Streaming Site to Launch Later This Year
The Buddhist Film Foundation, which presents, preserves and promotes Buddhist films from around the world, will launch the Buddhist Film Channel (BFC), a streaming platform devoted exclusively to Buddhist and mindfulness cinema later this year. Already the organization has obtained licenses for 100 titles and will continue to add new films monthly, including feature films, shorts, television shows, video talks, and interviews. The content will be available on a pay-per-view basis as rentals or download-to-own. Everything will be in English or with English subtitles at first; a special fund has been established to cover the costs of adding subtitles in the most common Asian and European languages. If you simply can’t wait until BFC goes live, Tricycle’s Film Club offers a new Buddhist film every month. Check out September’s film, Darkhan, directed by Gulshat Omarova.
Dalai Lama Speaks Out on Climate
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama recently penned an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times on the importance of supporting environmental initiatives. The Dalai Lama stressed the importance of individual action, his faith in an increasingly activist youth, and the connection between politics and the environment. “Even as global warming increases in intensity, many young people are working together to share and find solutions. They are our real hope,” he wrote, citing the work of environmental activist Greta Thunberg, whose activism has raised awareness about climate change among the world’s youth. “However, we cannot rest our hopes only on the younger generation. We have to choose political leaders who will act on this issue with urgency.” Last weekend, His Holiness issued a video message to the annual G7 Speakers’ Conference urging the political leaders to take the dangers of climate change seriously and to act together to curb its effects.
Buddhist Monk Promotes Peace Amid China-India Tension
As tensions continue to rise on the Indian-Chinese border, Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Sanghasena has been urging the two countries to embrace peace. “If war breaks out, Ladakh being the border will be the first victim of war,” he told Lotus News in a WhatsApp interview from his home in the city of Leh, the region’s capital. “People of Ladakh will suffer the most. We will become another Kashmir or Afghanistan.” Head of Leh’s Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, a Buddhist organization supporting service projects in the community, Bhikkhu Sanghasena wishes that more spiritual leaders in India would speak out about the conflict. “It is the duty of every spiritual leader to promote peace,” he said. On September 8, Bhikkhu Sanghasena led a procession of local Buddhist, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, and Sikh leaders leaders across the center of Leh.
Thai Monk Condemns “Superstitions”
Phra Maha Paiwan Warawanno has been speaking out against the idea that Buddhism can bring devotees wealth and success simply if they ask the Buddha for it, South China Morning Post reported. “This is a mistaken belief that goes against [the Buddha’s] teachings,” the Twenty-nine-year-old Thai monk said. Paiwan has over 125,000 followers on his Facebook page, where he criticizes what he deems are irrational beliefs and dubious religious practices. Recently, in a widely shared post, he chastised a fellow monk for claiming to be a spirit medium communicating with a three-year-old girl who went missing from a nearby village and was later found dead in the woods. Paiwan said that many monks encourage superstitions by pretending to have supernatural powers, but that these monks “undermine the essence of Buddhism.”
“The Buddha spoke out against false notions that aren’t grounded in reality,” he said. “I feel part of my job as a monk is to do the same.”
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