Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here is a selection of some events – ephemeral or not – in the Buddhist world this week.
Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh dies
The beloved teacher, civil rights activist and pioneer of committed Buddhism died on January 22 at midnight (ICT) at his root temple, Tu Hien Temple, in Hue, Vietnam. He was 95 years old. Hanh suffered a severe brain hemorrhage in 2014, which rendered him unable to speak, and lived at Tu Hien Temple. After the Plum Village community, the Sangha of Hanh, announced his passing, his disciples, Dharma teachers and world leaders, including the Dalai Lama, immediately began sharing memories and condolences. The Plum Village community will hold a second day of ceremonies, streamed online, on January 22 at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. Find Plum Village Memorial Practice Resources Here and a worldwide schedule of memorial services here. Read Thich Nhat Hanh’s full obituary here.
The Rubin Museum of Art returns two wooden sculptures stolen from Nepal
In a growing movement to repatriate stolen art to its rightful home, the Rubin Museum of Art has announced that it return two wooden sculptures which were smuggled from religious sites in Nepal just over 20 years ago. The museum has cited Nepal’s heritage recovery campaign for its role in bringing attention to the theft of the carvings, one a 14th century theft apsara, or female deity, stolen from the Itum Bahal monastery, and the other part of a 17th century torana, or Sacred Gateway, taken from Yampi Mahabihara Monastery. The Rubin will pay for the return of the artifacts, which will take place in May. Over the past year, six works of art have been returned to Nepal. Read read more about the decision here.
Meditation teacher Brad Warner leaves Angel City Zen Center, the Dharma center he founded in 2016
On Wednesday, writer and meditation teacher Daniel Scharpenburg wrote about Patheos this Brad Warner, founder of Angel City Zen Center, has quietly left the center. Warner mentioned his departure in passing on his website a few days earlier; his blog post is titled “So you want to be a Dharma teacher.” Angel City Zen Center has yet to publicly mention Warner’s departure. Warner, author of hardcore zen and Sit down and closep, was one of the first voices of the movement to call sexual abuse and general abuse of power by Buddhist teachers, and, as Scharpenburgh says, he remains a strong, if polarizing, voice in the community.
Historic Trans Bhutan trail reopens after 60 years
the Trans Bhutan Trail, a 250-mile historic pilgrimage route that stretches the length of the Buddhist kingdom, is expected to reopen in March after being closed for 60 years. The origins of the Trail date back at least 500 years, when it connected fortresses and served as a pilgrimage route for Buddhists traveling to sacred sites in western Bhutan and Tibet. Although the Trail’s stairs and paths fell into disrepair in the 1960s, the Bhutan Canada Foundation, the King of Bhutan and the Bhutan Tourism Board began restoring the Trail in 2018 to make it accessible to tourists again. to pilgrims and locals. From March 2022, travelers will again be able to access the 400 historical and cultural sites of the Trail.
The Paris review Features an illuminating interview with scholar and author Charles Johnson – Free for this week only
On Tuesday, January 18, The Paris review featured a 2018 interview with an academic, author, and Tricycle editor Charles Johnson in front of his paywall, where he will remain for a week. Read the interview here.
Johnson—including the new graphic novel, The Eightfold Path, out in February — answered questions about his writing process, including whether he describes (“In the beginning”) or keeps notebooks (“Oh yeah”); if he can describe the moment he finds a character he wants to commit to (“Because I know I’m going to have to live with this for a while – five years, six years, seven years – a novel has to have, at its core, a question so central that I will continue to come back to it because it is a very important question for me.”); and if he fears that the characters will become “spokespersons” for philosophical ideas ( “I think ideas start in the mud and muck of everyday lived experience. And for the purpose of reflection, we extract them so that we can analyze them and talk about them. So when I write, I want to bring the ideas back to their original source in our experience.”) He also shared a question central to his mind at the time (“What is civility?”); and considered more vexing questions like s whether or not there were exclusive subjects in American literature. At the intersection of Buddhism and its studies of philosophy Oh, he said:
Well, let’s start with the fact that Fuzzy Rabbit Buddhism doesn’t often talk about what it’s really about – that it’s about preparation for death. Buddhism begins with this young prince leading his sheltered life and seeing the four signs. He sees an old man, he sees a sick man, he sees a dead man and he sees a holy man. And he realizes unequivocally, categorically, that it is me. I am will grow old, I am will get sick, and I am am going to die. So how can I handle this? Buddhism is about letting go of a lot of conceptual baggage, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves – you let that go and there’s a sense of liberation.
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