Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week and next.
Tibetans Observe 63rd Anniversary of Uprising
March 10 marked the 63rd Tibetan Uprising Day, commemorating the 1959 revolt in the capital city of Lhasa and the Chinese military crackdown that ensued, resulting in His Holiness the Dalai Lama fleeing Tibet in exile. “More than ten thousand people belonging to all the three provinces of the nation, made up of both the lay public and the monastic communities, rose in a spontaneously collective surge of a peaceful uprising in that historic event,” reads a statement issued by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPE).
Today is also our Martyr’s Day. And so, on this occasion, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile wishes to offer its obeisance as well as prayers with heartfelt remembrance for the patriotic men and women of Tibet who with courage and determination have thus far sacrificed their all, including their invaluable life, for the greater good of the common Tibetan cause.
Among the martyrs honored was Tsewang Norbu, a 25-year-old Tibetan singer who died on February 25 this year after attempting self-immolation in front of Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s traditional home in Lhasa. Norbu is the 158th Tibetan to perish via self-immolation since 2009.
The TPE called for an end to the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet, stating that:
the government of China has been relentless in its continued pursuit of a design to obliterate the very ethnic identity of the Tibetan people, along with their religion, culture, language and everything else. In this way the government of China deprived the Tibetan people, the rightful owners of their national territory, of everything they ever owned, including the most basic of their human freedoms while subjecting them to such degrees of persecution and torture as if they stood condemned to live in hell on this land of the living itself.
In honor of the anniversary, Tibetans and Tibet supporters gathered in cities around the world including Delhi, Sydney, Bern, Taipei, Paris, The Hague, London, and Northampton, Massachusetts, where the mayor signed an official letter of solidarity for Tibet and her Tibetan citizens. In Dharamsala, Tibetan NGOs organized a march for peace.
Kung Fu Nuns Receive International Women’s Day Award
On March 8, the Indian government-run Delhi Commission for Women awarded the Drukpa nuns, also known as the Kung Fu Nuns, the International Women’s Day Award. Established in 2016, the award honors agents of change who have displayed an untiring commitment towards the causes of women and girls. The Kung Fu Nuns, who practice kung fu to build strength while championing gender equality, received the award for their achievements in the fields of women’s empowerment, disaster relief, environmental conservation, and breaking societal barriers. Read more about the Kung Fu Nuns here.
Sri Lanka’s Sacred Elephant Passes Away
Sri Lankan Buddhists are mourning the death of the nation’s most sacred elephant, Nadungamuwa Raja, who passed away at the age of 69. Since 2005, Raja acted as the ceremonial bearer of a golden casket of Buddhist relics during religious processions and festivals. After the news of his death, hundreds of mourners traveled to see the elephant’s body and pay their respects. In an official statement, Sri Lanka’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, declared Raja a “national treasure” and ordered for his remains to be taxidermied and preserved “for future generations to witness.”
New Theravada Buddhist Temple Opens Outside of Los Angeles
A new Theravada Buddhist temple has opened to the public in Camarillo, California, fifty miles northeast of Los Angeles. Its leader is Bhante Tapovanaye, a Sri-Lankan Buddhist monk who formerly taught in Ventura, Calif. Tapovanaye and fellow monks led a fundraising campaign last summer to purchase and renovate the temple’s building—a Christian church in a residential neighborhood, which had sat unused for years. The Camarillo Buddhist Center, which opened on January 1, will offer mindfulness meditation, tai chi, dharma talks, chanting, and retreats.
“What the Buddha Never Taught: A Rock Opera” Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Fund Summer Production
Playwright, songwriter, and producer Martin T. Adam has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a ten-day run of his show, “What the Buddha Never Taught: A Rock Opera,” in June at the Jericho Arts Centre in Vancouver. Adam, who is also an Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada, says the show “explores classical Buddhist teachings in relation to western paradigms, exposing some of the tensions and possible reconciliations thereof.” Learn more about the show on Kickstarter, where the campaign will run for another 20 days.
March 11-13: In honor of the 49th day since Thich Nhat Hanh’s passing, Plum Village is holding online ceremonies that include dharma talks, meditations, and circle sharing. Deer Park Monastery is offering an in-person retreat, parts of which will be livestreamed.
March 17: Scholar, dharma teacher, and author Roger Jackson leads a discussion with Tricycle on Buddhism and rebirth, the topic of his new book, Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World. Register for the 4pm ET event here.
March 18: A new exhibit titled Healing Practices: Stories from Himalayan Americans opens at New York City’s Rubin Museum of Art. Featuring artifacts from the museum’s collection alongside audio recordings from Himalayan Americans, the exhibit showcases the way that Tibetan Buddhist artwork and practices have helped people find wellbeing. Learn more here.
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