Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week. 

Mindfulness Helping Brooklyn Nets Center DeAndre Jordan Stay Present During Crisis

Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan has been leaning on his mindfulness practice during the coronavirus crisis, he told Reuters this week. Jordan started meditating after an NBA trip to China piqued his interest in Buddhism. After the NBA went on hiatus March 11, he says his practice has been helping him stay centered. “The practice I’ve done before this pandemic taught me patience and being in the moment,” he told Reuters. “Now everything is at a standstill so it makes you think about the present moments and what you are doing right now, because we’re not really going anywhere.”

Jordan said that mindfulness has helped on the court, too. Staying present during a game is important, he said, “because if you’re stuck in a play that happened last quarter or the previous half, it can be draining.” Jordan’s television show, The Mindful Life, premiered last week on PlayersTV, a Samsung TV Plus channel. He hopes that sharing his lifestyle, which includes a plant-based diet, will encourage others to try mindfulness practices.

Dharma Relief Raises $500,000 for Surgical Mask Fund

Dharma Relief, a charity initiative of the Tallahassee Chan Center in Florida that has been providing surgical masks to US hospitals, surpassed its fund-raising goal of $500,000 this week, BuddhistDoor reports. The group, which exceeded their initial goal of $100,000 in the first few days, has already started sending FDA-approved masks to medical workers. Guo Gu, the Chan teacher and religious studies professor who started Dharma Relief, told WCTV, “Compassion in action is an integral part of the Buddha practice. So what I provide is . . . just a platform where everybody can funnel their energy and resources and skills.” 

Japanese Shop Stitches Heart Sutra Mask

A Japanese shop has found another way to bring Buddhism into their efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus: printing the Heart Sutra on a mask. Katagiriya has been outfitting clergy and selling clothing and supplies for religious festivals in the city of Iida in Nagano, Japan, since 1891, according to their website. The shop recently tweeted a photo of the mask (below); it was then retweeted by Princeton University assistant professor of religion Bryan Lowe, who identified the sutra for English speakers and noted that it is “a text long revered for its apotropaic powers.”

Christian Mindfulness App Downloads Up

Meditation apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Ten Percent Happier have seen a 25 percent increase in weekly downloads since the coronavirus pandemic hit the US. Christian meditation apps—such as Pray, One Minute Pause, and Abide, which offer mindfulness exercises rooted in Christian scripture—have also seen an increase in users, reported the Religious News Service  (RNS). While some Christians have been critical of mindfulness due to its Buddhist roots, registered nurse and mother of three Rachel Reynolds told RNS that the Christian meditation apps have been helping her manage the stress and anxiety of keeping herself and her patients safe from coronavirus as well as homeschooling her children. “Grounding myself with the Word of God, and the truth and the promises he offers me there, I find to be much more effective for grounding myself mentally and spiritually,” Reynolds said.

Reggae Monk: Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

Many isolated musicians have had to be their own all-in-one band in recent weeks, and now a Buddhist monk has given his spin on the trend. Eishin Watanabe, a monk and frontman for the Akita Prefecture-based reggae fusion band Eishin & The Meditationalies, delighted the hundreds of thousands of people who saw his cover of Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” The video (below) shows him performing the tune on a mix of guitar and instruments more traditionally seen in a Japanese Buddhist temple. 

Three Little Birds / Bob Marley 本堂の仏具で、やってみました。祈りを込めて。だいじょう仏教! #コロナに負けるな

Posted by Eishin Watanabe on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

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