Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Mindfulness in the Military
Mindfulness as a tool for training soldiers is gaining traction in the United States military, according to a report this week in the New York Times. “A small but growing group of military officials” see mindfulness as a way to stay calm and focused in high-pressure situations or to help relieve post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in veterans, the Times reports. (The paper notes one instance at an Army base in Hawaii in which mindfulness was being used to improve shooting skills to “avoid unnecessary civilian harm.”) The military began looking at the effects of mindfulness in 2015, and the results of that study, which were released in December 2018, have been promising. The article does not discuss the Buddhist roots of the practice or the apparent conflict with teachings on nonviolence, but it does quote a British mindfulness proponent, Commander Tim Boughton, as saying that he hopes to bring more compassion to the battlefield. “The purists would say that mindfulness was never developed for war purpose,” he told the Times. “I’m saying, understand how compassion and empathy can be used for real advantages.”
Meditating Congressman Hopes to Sit in the White House
The latest contender to join the Democratic primary is an outspoken mindfulness proponent. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan announced on Thursday, April 4 that he was running for president. The congressman wrote the 2012 book A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, which claims to show “how the benefits of mindfulness apply to the current challenges that affect each of us in our own lives and in our communities, and thus have implications for our society as a whole.”
Dalai Lama Recovers after Health Scare
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was discharged from a hospital in New Delhi on Friday, April 12 after he was treated for a chest infection earlier in the week. In a video (below) taken as he was leaving the hospital, the Dalai Lama explains that he had contracted “a kind of flu” in Bodhgaya, and after being admitted to the hospital, medical tests revealed that he had developed a chest infection. Once doctors began treating the infection, his health quickly improved. “I have recovered very well,” he says in the video. “So, everyone, please feel at ease.” He also said that the prayers from people around the world helped him get better. “While I was feeling unwell and got hospitalized, hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of people . . . prayed for my recovery. I wish to thank you all,” he said. The 83-year-old spiritual leader’s health has been closely watched in recent years due to fears that the Chinese government will try to identify his reincarnation. The Dalai Lama has even said that he may choose not to reincarnate in order to discredit any Chinese attempts to select his successor.
Farewell to Emma
Emma Varvaloucas is moving on after more than eight years of dedicated service at Tricycle. She began as an intern in 2011 while finishing her studies at New York University and rose quickly through the ranks, from Editorial Assistant in 2012 to Executive Editor by 2017.
Emma’s superb work at Tricycle endeared her to writers and staff alike. While many of her accomplishments as an editor took place behind the scenes, the articles that do bear her name are consistently incisive. Here are a few of our favorites:
- What the Buddha Taught Us About Race with Thai forest monk Bhikkhu Bodhi
- Same Old Story in a New World with journalist Katy Butler
- Tolerably Black with artist Aretha Busby
- Tricycle Talks: Transforming Negativity Through Fierce Feminine Wisdom with Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Tsultrim Allione
- The “Love Guru” I Wouldn’t Listen To
Don’t be surprised if you come across her byline again—we’re keeping her close!
Emma, we’ll miss you, and so will the many writers, teachers and practitioners you worked with. We wish you the best in all your future endeavors. And if you’re in charge, they will be the best.
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