Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Central Tibetan Administration Asks Tibetans to Recite the Chenrezig Mantra in Honor of the Dalai Lama’s Birthday
July 6 marks the Dalai Lama’s 86th birthday, and in light of the ongoing pandemic, the Kashag, or the cabinet of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), has directed Tibetans to refrain from congregating and to celebrate at home instead. In addition to “offering of the mandala and white scarves to the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” the Kashag Secretariat directed Tibetans to recite the Chenrezig mantra, “Om Mani Padme Hung,” the six-syllable mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion, who is said to have reincarnated as the Dalai Lama and his predecessors. The CTA will broadcast the official Trungkar celebration on Tibet TV.
New English Translations of Detained Tibetan Writer’s Poetry
High Peaks Pure Earth, a media outlet that provides commentary on Tibet-related news, has released new English translations of poetry by the detained Tibetan writer Lobsang Lhundup, known by the pen name Dhi Lhaden. Read the poems, translated by Bhuchung D. Sonam, here. (The first three are new translations, and the rest were published in Lhundup’s 2011 book Life and Death Testaments, which contains essays and poems about the violent crackdowns during the 2008 Tibetan uprising.) According to Radio Free Asia, Chinese authorities arrested Lhundup on unspecified charges in June 2019 while he was working at a private cultural education center in Chengdu, China, and to date there has been no indication of a trial. Chinese authorities have detained many writers and advocates of Tibetan national identity and culture in recent years.
Translator Thomas Cleary Dies
Thomas Cleary (1949-2021), the prolific translator of Buddhist texts, passed away on June 20. He translated texts from a wide range of religions and languages, including Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Japanese, and Old Irish, but as the scholar Robert Thurman wrote for Tricycle in 1994, he was “the greatest translator of Buddhist texts from Chinese or Japanese into English of our generation.” Read more about Cleary here.
Myanmar Government Releases 2,300 Prisoners, Including Activists and Journalists
On Wednesday, Myanmar’s government set free approximately 2,300 prisoners, including activists and journalists arrested for protesting the military coup. In Yangon, large crowds of friends and family gathered for the release of over 720 people from Insein Prison, where the country detains most political prisoners. State and local media reported additional prison releases across the country, from Mandalay to Naypyidaw, Myitkyina, and Hakha. According to the Associated Press, most of the freed detainees faced charges related to Section 505(A) of Myanmar’s penal code, which makes comments that incite public unrest or spread false news punishable by up to three years in prison. Deputy Information Minister Major General Zaw Min Tun told China’s official Xinhua news agency that the released detainees were those who “took part in the protests but did not take part in the violence, who did not commit crimes and did not lead the riots.”
Tun Kyi, a senior member of the Former Political Prisoners Society, told the AP that he believes the military chose to free some prisoners to reduce pressure from the international community. The releases come in the wake of diplomatic and economic sanctions from several Western nations and a resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly that condemns the military’s seizure of power and calls for an arms embargo against Myanmar.
Dharma Centers Reopen Their Doors
With vaccinations on the rise and restrictions on gathering easing up, some dharma centers are beginning to reopen for in-person events. Many will also maintain their online programming. Find a running list of centers re-opening here.
Podcasts, a Virtual Book Tour, and a Haiku Workshop: What Tricycle’s Contributing Editors Are Up To
Though in-person events are returning, there is still no shortage of listening, viewing, or reading material to consume online these days. To narrow things down, we’ve rounded up a list of recent or upcoming virtual appearances by Tricycle’s contributing editors.
In an episode of Jeffrey Howard’s Damn the Absolute podcast, released on June 23, philosopher, novelist, essayist, and cartoonist Charles Johnson shares a Buddhist perspective on race and social justice. For more from Johnson, read his essay, “Magnificent Obsession: On Black Humor and the Necessary Lesson I Learned as a Cartoonist,” published June 24 on Literary Hub.
Zen priest and psychologist Seth Zuhio Segall speaks with Jack Petranker, Director of the Center for Creative Inquiry and Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages, about his book, Buddhism and Human Flourishing: A Modern Western Perspective on the podcast New Books in Spiritual Practice and Mindfulness, released on June 25. Read more from Segall on this topic in “The Best Possible Life,” an article from the most recent issue of Tricycle.
Writer Daisy Hernández came out with her latest book, The Kissing Bug, on June 1, and has an upcoming virtual book tour event with Miami’s Books & Books on July 12. (Stay tuned for her Tricycle Talks interview coming out on July 28.)
Author and teacher Clark Strand will teach a one-day haiku workshop with Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD, Sensei Kaz Tanahashi, and Natalie Goldberg on August 8. The “Haiku Refuge,” hosted by the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will take place over Zoom. Check out Tricycle’s monthly haiku challenge here.
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