Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
A Khmer Buddhist Foundation Is Launched
San Francisco resident, Cambodian advocate, and philanthropist Lyna Lam has launched A Khmer Buddhist Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the Khmer people and preserving their traditions and culture. As its first act, the organization donated nearly $500,000 to support Cambodians impacted by COVID-19, GlobeNewswire reports. The donation will be administered through Friends International, a Cambodia-based nonprofit organization, to provide the country’s stretched healthcare system with critical supplies, including ventilators, patients’ monitors, personal protective equipment, and oxygen manometers. Part of the donation will also go towards providing food and aid to impoverished children and their families. “We were saddened to hear about the devastating COVID-19 situation in Cambodia,” said Lam in a press release. “While we know firsthand that the people of Cambodia are resilient and have a history of recovering from any hardship stronger than before, we also know that additional supplies and resources can help accelerate their recovery and end this terrible pandemic.” The foundation is currently accepting donations through its website.
In addition to COVID-19 relief, the foundation aims to support various causes for the Cambodian people–both in Cambodia and abroad—through grants to temple operations and new businesses, college internships, and arts and culture initiatives. Lam is also in the process of building a temple in San Jose, California.
Chinese President Visits Tibet for First Time In 30 Years
On July 21, Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to Tibet for two days. While Xi previously visited Tibet in 2011 as Vice President, his trip this week marks the first time a Chinese president has visited Tibet in three decades. Arriving in the southeast city of Nyingchi, Xi toured a number of urban development locations before taking the high-altitude railway to Lhasa, the country’s capital. While there, Xi visited Potala Palace, traditionally the home of Tibet’s now-exiled leader, the Dalai Lama. The Chinese state media agency Xinhua reported that Xi met with local provincial officials to push the Tibetan population toward accepting the “great motherland, Chinese people, Chinese culture, the Chinese Communist Party, and socialism with Chinese characteristics.” According to Reuters, Xi’s visit indicates a confidence in the Chinese Communist Party’s control over Tibet.
Tibetan Nuns Project Seeks Funding to Empower Female Geshemas
The Tibetan Nuns Project (TNP), a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering nuns in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, recently launched a Geshema Endowment Fund to help cover the costs involved in training and qualifying nuns as geshemas—the highest level of training in the Tibetan Gelug school. Earning a geshema degree, which involves 17 years of study culminating in a 4-year examination period, was only formally made available to nuns in 2012. Today, only 44 nuns hold the degree. The TNP hopes that increased funding will help more qualified nuns earn geshema and use the training to assume leadership roles in monastic and lay communities.
The Dalai Lama Writes to Belgian and German Leaders On Recent Floods
Following the recent catastrophic floods that claimed the lives of at least 195 people in Germany and Belgium, the Dalai Lama wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo to offer his sympathies. “I am saddened to see reports of the unprecedented flooding that has wreaked havoc across Western Europe, particularly affecting Belgium and Germany,” he wrote. “The loss of life, damage to property, and hardship that thousands of people are facing is most upsetting. I understand that every effort is being made to help those affected. I would like to express my condolences to the bereaved and my deep sympathy for those left devastated by this catastrophe. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this calamity.”
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