Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Barre Center Holds Special Retreat for Mass Shooting Survivors
The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Massachusetts hosted a retreat for survivors and family members of victims of gun violence earlier this month, according to the Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh and Buddhistdoor. The three-day Healing Through Love meditation retreat brought together 43 people affected by the October 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the February 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the 2012 shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, the 2017 shooting at a concert in Las Vegas, five separate shootings in Chicago, and the 1999 shooting in Columbine, Colorado, according to the Jewish Chronicle. The gathering came out of a collaboration between Insight Meditation Society co-founder Sharon Salzberg and Shelly Tygielski, a mindfulness teacher in Florida who has been working families and survivors in Parkland. A group of 12 therapists and meditation instructors oversaw the retreat, which Salzberg said was meant to “offer tools that people might use for greater healing and resilience.” Leigh Stein, whose mother-in-law was killed in the shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, told the Jewish Chronicle said that the most meaningful part of the retreat was the “powerful connection” she had with the other attendees. “Unfortunately, we are all in the same boat. We have all been affected by gun violence,” she said. “In a world that can make us feel so isolated and misunderstood, connecting with others that ‘get it’ is life-giving.”
The Dalai Lama’s Land Rover For Sale
A Land Rover once owned by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was scheduled to be auctioned off in Indiana this weekend, according to a listing by automobile auction house RM Sotheby’s. The green 1966 Land Rover Series IIA 88 was expected to sell for $100,000–$150,000 at a Labor Day weekend sale in Auburn. The Dalai Lama acquired the car in 1966, and it was maintained by his frequent driver and brother Tenzin Cheogyal until June 2005, when it was donated to the Dalai Lama Foundation in Palo Alto, California, to help raise funds for Tibetan refugees in the United States, according to the listing. In other words, it’s a great vehicle.
Bubble Tea Replaces Traditional Offerings for Gods in Thailand
In Thailand, people are giving the gods a chance to try the latest trends in treats. At a shrine to the Hindu god Ganesha in Bangkok, worshippers left a row of boba tea (or bubble tea) as offerings to the deity, a photo snapped by Twitter account @Payunbud shows. “We are in a new era, nobody uses Nam Deang (a red-coloured sweet drink that is commonly used as offerings) anymore,” the caption said, according to a translation by TheSmartLocal, a Singapore-based media company. Devotees left a mix of bubble teas, known for their sweet balls of tapioca, including Taiwanese milk tea, Hokkaido-style tea, matcha, taro tea, cheese tea, and a Starbucks cup. Another photo posted in the comments showed a table of offerings that included KFC buckets. Many Buddhists in Thailand also pay respects to Ganesha and other Hindu gods.
แก้บนยุค4.0 ใครเค้าใช้น้ำแดงกัน!! pic.twitter.com/F9Cdpodan7
— เรเร พยูนบูด (@Payunbud) August 18, 2019
Tibetan Monks Attend Chinese Training on Government-Regulated Reincarnation
At least 100 Tibetan Buddhist monks recently attended a “training session” on “government regulation on the management of the reincarnation system” in the capital city of Lhasa, according to the Chinese state-run news site Global Times. Chinese officials hailed the class as a way to “maintain religious harmony in the region,” improve “compatibility with socialist society,” and prevent influence from the “Dalai Lama’s separatist clique.” The Chinese government has long been interested in asserting control over the appointment of reincarnated lamas to religious posts in Tibet. In 2007, the government instituted legal measures on the protocol of naming a reincarnation, an effort to formally institutionalize the reincarnation process and put it solely at the discretion of Beijing-backed religious leaders. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has said that he may choose not to be reborn, but China has claimed that he cannot decide whether or not to reincarnate.
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