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Moon thanks Buddhist community for solidarity in virus fight – The Korea Herald

Posted: May 22, 2021 at 1:55 am

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About 50,000 colorful lotus lanterns light up the courtyard at Samgwang Temple in Busan, 453 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Sunday, three days ahead of Buddha's Birthday. (Yonhap)

"Last year's listing of Yeondeunghoe as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage marked a big joyous occasion. It's natural wanting to celebrate the feat, but the Buddhist community decided to cancel this year's lantern festival and hold an online event instead," Moon said in the message posted on social media.

Yeondeunghoe, South Korea's lantern lighting festival held as part of the Buddha's Birthday celebration, was officially inscribed as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in December of last year.

Moon also thanked Buddhist leaders for providing support for the nation's medical and quarantine workers, small business owners and self-employed workers going through tough times due to the pandemic.

"While suspending ceremonies and events for the sake of antivirus measures, Buddhist monks have opened their temple doors wide," Moon said.

Moon added that the Buddhist community "provided a sense of peace and rest to medical and quarantine workers and those in the travel industry, small business and arts and culture sector by opening up temple stay programs for free." (Yonhap)

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Moon thanks Buddhist community for solidarity in virus fight - The Korea Herald

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May 22nd, 2021 at 1:55 am

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Photos of the Week: Buddha’s birthday; vaccine drives – Religion News Service

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(RNS) Each week Religion News Service presents a gallery of photos of religious expression around the world. This weeks photo gallery includes the Buddhas birthday, religious vaccination efforts and more.

Note: RNS is expanding Photos of the Week to include reader photos. Please submit current photos of your practice of religion, spirituality or beliefsHERE. We are especially interested in capturing what it looks like as houses of worship reopen as pandemic restrictions ease. See our first installment below.

Buddhists attend a ceremony to celebrate Buddhas birthday, while maintaining social distancing as precaution against the coronavirus, at the Jogye temple in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Buddhists visit temples across the country to celebrate the Buddhas birthday. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A health worker administers a dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to a Buddhist monk at Priest Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, May 18, 2021. Thailand on Friday said it had detected its first locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus variant first found in India, even as it announced the formal rollout of its national vaccination plan for next month. (AP Photo/Anuthep Cheysakron,File)

A visitor takes pictures in front of lanterns on the eve of the Buddhas birthday at the Jogye temple in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Buddhists arrange desks during a cleanup ahead of Buddhas Birthday, which falls on May 19, at Jogye Temple in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

A woman holds out her arms as she prays during a religious march in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, May 15, 2021. Hundreds of Haitians marched on the streets of Port-au-Prince after church services on Saturday to collectively pray outdoors for peace and an end to the wave of kidnappings that have victimized the citys residents. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

People visit the archaeological site of Templo Mayor in the historic center of Mexico City, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The Templo Mayor, or The Greater Temple in Spanish, was the main temple of the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, which fell to Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes after a prolonged siege 500 years ago. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Mourners pray over the bodies of 17 Palestinians who were killed in overnight Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Sanad Latifa)

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, center, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, speaks in front of civic and faith leaders outside City Hall, Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. Faith and community leaders in Los Angeles called for peace, tolerance and unity in the wake of violence in the city that is being investigated as potential hate crimes. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Emily Baumgartner, left, and Luke Finley, second from left, join friends from their church group in a birthday toast to one of the members during their weekly Monday Night Hang gathering at the Tiki Bar on Manhattans Upper West Side, Monday, May 17, 2021, in New York. Most of us live alone and we need community, she said. During the pandemic, we started hanging out in the park (Central Park) once a week. Once bars and restaurants reopened, we started coming back to Tiki Bar afterward. Under the latest regulations, vaccinated New Yorkers can shed their masks in most situations. Restaurants, shops, gyms and many other businesses can go back to full occupancy if all patrons are inoculated. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Health workers inoculate residents with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish church in Quezon City, Philippines, on Monday, May 17, 2021. The church was used to speed up the vaccination process to residents in the area. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Reader Photos

People attend an outdoor service at Stanwich Congregational Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, May 14, 2021. Photo by Nathan Hart

Caroline Perez Hartzel, 8, of Dallas, lets off some pent up energy after her First Holy Communion, Tuesday evening, May 18, 2021. Caroline had just attended Mass for the first time since the pandemic, a special, socially distanced Mass for communicants who studied online all year at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in East Dallas. Caroline developed a deep love of God in her Family Formation classes, but she also has developed a strong love of soccer that has come roaring back as COVID-19 restrictions end. Photo by Tony Hartzel

Archive Photos

Three American Dominican priests cross Freedom Bridge to Hong Kong from Red China, where they were kept under house arrest in Foochow, Fukien Province, circa 1955. Italian priest father Ambrose Poletti, from left, greeted and escorted fathers Joseph E. Hyde of Lowell, Mass., James G. Joyce of Clinton, Mass., and Frederick A. Gordon. The three were among the first group of American clergymen freed by the communists under the Geneva Agreements. With them on far right is Police Superintendent A. L. Gordon, who was in charge of the British side of the border. The trio was pale and had lost weight, but they were in good spirits. RNS archive photo. Photo courtesy of the Presbyterian Historical Society.

American sailors, far left, attend a service in a typical Protestant Bamboo Church in Port Moresby, the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea, circa 1948. RNS archive photo. Photo courtesy of the Presbyterian Historical Society.

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May 22nd, 2021 at 1:55 am

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Yoga is another one of those dumb-in-Alabama stories –

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I love my adopted state, where I have lived for more than 40 years. For all of its warts and problems, theres something about Alabama that gets inside your mind, your heart and your soul, and stays there.

For starters, its a beautiful place, with the Gulf of Mexico on the south end and the foothills of the Appalachians in the north and east. Its people are friendly and their voices are mellow; and if some Alabamians are suspicious of outsiders -- i.e., folks from other geographical regions, especially the North -- they generally will welcome transplants from other Southern states.

If you marry an Alabamian, as I did shortly after relocating from Louisiana, your welcome is even warmer, and before you know it, four decades will have passed and youll barely remember the times when you lived elsewhere.

Except when your politicians -- and after 40 years, they are yours -- do dumb stuff and you know that in a day or two, youll be reading about the dumb stuff in the New York Times and other national publications. Most recently, Alabamas dumb-stuff-story du jour came courtesy of the state Legislature.

Alabama Lifts Its Ban on Yoga in Schools, the New York Times reported the other day, explaining that nearly 30 years ago, in 1993, the state school board had forbidden schools to teach yoga. Why?

Its complicated, but Ill try to simplify: Yogas roots are in India, you see, and yoga emphasizes exercises and mental reflection, and there are a lot of Hindus and Buddhists in India, and Hindus and Buddhists arent Christians, and if our public schools teach yoga, then before you know it, all of our kids will have converted to Hinduism or Buddhism.

Or something like that.

But wait, you say. In its 2021 session that just wrapped up, didnt the Legislature reverse that ban and say that school districts can offer yoga as an elective? And didnt the governor sign the bill? Whats dumb about that?

Again, its complicated. Certainly, the Legislature did the right thing in overturning the ban, and Gov. Kay Ivey did the right thing when she signed the bill. And certainly, the dumbness originated with Alabamas elected state school board back in 1993.

But this years Legislature couldnt just say to its public schools, Its OK if yall want to offer yoga classes. No, lawmakers had to make double-double sure that their constituents wouldnt think they were condoning Hinduism/Buddhism/whatever-ism, so they spelled it out: All poses shall be limited exclusively to sitting, standing, reclining, twisting, and balancing. All poses, exercises, and stretching techniques shall have exclusively English descriptive names. Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited.

And you thought yoga classes were for people who want to exercise, stretch and improve their ability to concentrate.

I have never taken a yoga class, but its not because I fear losing my religion. What I fear is that if I tried one of those twisty, stretchy poses and toppled over, paramedics would have to load me into their ambulance in pieces. My fear aside, however, Ive known all sorts of people whove taken yoga classes, and Ive read news articles about its physical and mental health benefits. And like other people, Ive seen stories about sports teams that use yoga exercises to improve players flexibility.

What I havent read is a slew of articles or news reports about yoga fundamentally changing peoples spiritual beliefs.

What Id like to read one day is a series of national news reports about how Alabama is focusing its political energy on improving public education, and how its involving business and civic leaders in its schools, and how its well-paid and well-trained teachers are successfully preparing todays children for tomorrows world.

Im not sure when, how or whether well get to that point in the state that I love so much, but of this I am pretty certain: When and if it ever happens, the existence or absence of yoga classes in our public schools will be irrelevant.

Frances Coleman is a former editorial page editor of the Mobile Press-Register. Email her at and like her on Facebook at

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May 22nd, 2021 at 1:55 am

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Vesak Day 2021: 4 Things to Know About This Special Day – Tatler Singapore

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Buddhists all over the world will celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha next week on May 26, a day that is also a public holiday in Singapore.

However, Vesak Day this year will be a lot more muted once again considering the rise in community Covid-19 cases in Singapore that led to the Phase 2 Heightened Alert that is currently in place till June 13.

Related: Hari Raya Puasa 2021: 5 of the Grandest Mosques in Singapore

Many public places, including places of worship, have had to stop in-person events and reduce their occupancies significantly. This means that many of the rituals, processions and temple visits that normally happen on Vesak Day will not be able to go on as planned.

Despite the changes, Vesak Day is still an incredibly special day for Buddhists. If you are unsure about what Vesak Day is all about, read on to find out everything you need to know about it.

Related: Your Favourite Vegetarian Foods for Delivery in Singapore

Vesak Day, or the day of the full moon, is a sacred day to millions of Buddhists worldwide. It marks the day that Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and then passed away in his eightieth year. It is a time for quiet reflection on Buddha's teachings, joy and peace.

The day that it is celebrated changes each year in accordance with the first full moon of the lunar month of Vesakha. This usually falls between May and early June.

Related: This Astrology-Inspired Dating App Could Help You Find Love Based On Your Star Sign

Buddhism is a religion that is present in many countries and cultures such as in India, Thailand, Singapore and Korea. As a result, each Buddhist culture tends to have its own unique traditions to honour the day.

However, typically, Buddhists will go to the temple at the crack of dawn to participate in the singing of hymns to honour Buddha, his teachings and his disciples. They will also raise the Buddhist flag while singing these hymns. Some Buddhists will even stay at the temple all day and night.

On this day, many Buddhists also participate in good deeds because it is believed that performing good deeds on Vesak Day will multiply one's merit a number of times over.

It is also common to see some Buddhist families decorating their homes with lanterns, taking part in processions and wearing special white clothes. They will also typically only eat vegetarian meals on this day.

Of course, with the new Covid-19 regulations, processions, sadly, will likely not be taking place.

Related: Hari Raya Puasa 2021: All the Shows to Binge-Watch on Netflix This Public Holiday

On Vesak Day, it is common to see people putting up offerings of flowers, candles and joss sticks at the temples.

The point of using these items as offerings is to acknowledge the transient nature of life. Candles and joss sticks will burn away and flowers will eventually decay.

On Vesak Day, one of the most common rituals you will see being performed is that of the 'bathing' of Buddha. This is where Buddhists collectively gather around and pour water over the shoulders of Buddha.

This practice reminds believers to clear their minds of negative thoughts and hatred as well as to commemorate the birth of Buddha. It is a very sacred ritual that is carried out by Buddhists yearly.

Related: Earth Day 2021: The Best Vegetarian and Vegan Tasting Menus to Try in Asia

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Vesak Day 2021: 4 Things to Know About This Special Day - Tatler Singapore

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May 22nd, 2021 at 1:55 am

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The Sting of a Wasp – Tricycle

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Life is precious, so I am determined to protect lifenot only the lives of human beings but the lives of other species. Thich Nhat Hanh

The bus was about to depart Libourne one August afternoon when a passenger noticed a wasp inside, crawling at the top of a window. The passenger alerted us all to the wasp and then alerted the driver. Another passenger stood and demanded the driver open the door, not to free the wasp, but so that she, the passenger, could get off the bus. She refused to be on a bus with a wasp.

There seems to be a fear of wasps in France, perhaps because of stories in the newspapers about a few people who have died from allergic reactions to stings by the invasive Asian hornet. The invasive Asian hornets sting is no worse than the native European hornets sting, but perhaps seems doubly invasive.

Im allergic myself, so I remember from childhood the fear of stinging insects, from before I learned that bees and wasps would really rather not sting us at all. As with most animals, danger is avoidable with respect.

Regardless of its lineage, this particular wasp presented no danger that I could see. It did not want to be in the bus. It showed no interest in the passengers. It was at the top of the window looking for a way out. There may have been a lot of dangerous animals on that bus, but the wasp was not one of them.

Nonetheless, the driver attacked, first trying to crush the wasp with a roll of paper towels. The wasp fled into a crevice between the window and the drapes.

I thought I should do something to capture the wasp and free it outside. With a cup I could have caught it when it was on the window, but now that it was hidden that would be more difficult. Nor did I have a cup. Perhaps I should have asked if anyone else had a cup. But the bus was already late. Certainly people would object if I suggested we capture the wasp.

So I did nothing.

The driver unsheathed a ballpoint pen and attacked again, stabbing at the wasp where it hid. It fell to the floor, either killed or seriously wounded. The bus proceeded toward Sainte Foy La Grande.

The passenger who reported the wasp seemed satisfied with herself for resolving this perceived threat. The passenger who had demanded to get off the bus returned to her seat.

I regretted that I had done nothing to save the wasp, that I had allowed it to be killed.

But it was only one wasp on one bus on one day, right? Another dead bug, no big deal?

That seems true until we consider the human multiple: there are 7.7 billion humans on earth, most of whom share the attitude that we can kill for our convenience. So take this attitude, multiply it by 7.7 billion, acculturate and industrialize it.

Then its easier to understand why 40 percent of insect species are in decline, including those that provide the invaluable service of pollinating our crops.

Its easier to understand how humans have eliminated 83 percent of wild mammals on earth and half of plants. How only 4 percent of the worlds mammals are wild. How extinction has reached unprecedented rates for this age, with a million species threatened.

We can only address the ecological crisis weve created if we transform our relationship to the rest of the natural world. We can only prevent the suffering looming for all species, including our own, if we stop killing for convenience.

In thoughts like these, the wasp haunted my days at Plum Villages New Hamlet, one of the monasteries in the Dordogne Valley founded by the Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hahn.

Many of the people on that bus were also going to Plum Village, a place devoted to peace, including the woman who raised the alarm about the wasp. In the early days there I would pass her on the path, near the Lotus Pond or the Meditation Hall, and I would think, with chagrin and indignation, Theres that wasp killer!

One might expect that people going to Plum Village would already know not to killBuddhisms first precept.

How would Thich Nhat Hanh regard the wasp? Its not difficult to imagine, for he is the teacher who said:

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we dont even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a childour own two eyes. All is a miracle.

For those who dont like the word miracle, certainly one wasp is a brilliant culmination of 3.7 billion years of evolution, the earths natural intelligence. To snuff out its life is a triumph of ignorance.

But my indignation was tempered by the persistent feeling that indignation itself was incongruous with the peace cultivated at Plum Village.

A few days later, we would hear Thays elaboration on the first precept, what he calls The First Mindfulness Training, Reverence for Life:

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life.

Notice it is not enough to not kill, we must also prevent others from killing.

My own experiencefailing to speak up for the wasptaught me that reverence for life takes courage, the courage to stand up to convention, to culture, to industry. To stand against the norm and say, let life live.

This should not be a radical act.

But it is. And it also has to be a mindful act. The First Mindfulness Training has a second paragraph:

Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.

At Plum Village that August, the teaching on the First Mindfulness Training came from Fatima Tamayo, a Spanish psychologist whose commitment to the practice has inspired her to develop demonstration projects on sustainable living.

Tamayo reminded us that even as we oppose killing, we must aspire to tolerance, openness, and non-attachment to views. She advised us to realize that often those who kill also believe they are doing the right thing.

On the bus, those who killed the wasp doubtless believed they were protecting themselves and their fellow passengers.

It was only I who had failed to protect.

The needless death of one wasp may have been incremental, but it was an increment advancing a cumulative tragedy: killing has become routine.

Perhaps over tens of thousands of years humans developed an indifference to life that facilitated our survivalmuch as fire facilitated our survival. For tens of thousands of years we needed fire for cooking, for heat, for energy. But where theres fire, theres smoke. The consequences of using fire, compounded by the human multiple, have now compelled us to find cleaner ways to cook, to heat, to make energy.

Likewise, the days are gone in which our survival depended on routine killing. Were entering a new day in which, to survive, we must have the courage to revere.

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The Sting of a Wasp - Tricycle

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May 22nd, 2021 at 1:55 am

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Buddha Purnima 2021 date: Everything you need to know – Times Now

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Buddha Purnima 2021 date: Everything you need to know

The Purnima Tithi (Full Moon day) in the month of Vaishakh is one of the most important days for the Buddhists. It marks the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The day is referred to as Buddha Purnima, Buddha Jayanti or Vesak and this year, Buddhists shall observe the 2583rd birth anniversary of the enlightened personality. Scroll down to know Buddha Purnima 2021 date and other significant details.

Since the traditional Indian calendar (based on Moon) differs from the widely followed Gregorian calendar,Buddha Purnima date keeps changing every year. This year, Buddha Purnima will be celebrated on May 26.

The Purnima Tithi shall last from 8:29 PM on May 25 to 4:43 PM on May 26.

Born as Siddhartha Gautama to King Suddhodana and Mayadevi in Lumbini (now in Nepal), Gautam Buddha was raised in Kapilavastu. However, he relinquished his palace and the extravagances of his royalty at a very young age. He moved away from luxuries searching for the truth after witnessing human sufferings or the fundamental yet bitter realities of life.

Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first sermon at Sarnath after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya. It is said that Buddha travelled from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath five weeks after getting enlightened.

Buddha's five ascetic disciples, known asPanchavargika, had travelled to ipatana (Rishipatana) in Sarnath even when Gautama Buddha was in Uruvilva (Bodh Gaya). After attaining enlightenment, Buddha proceeded towards Sarnath to give his first sermon to thePanchavargika.


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Thus, Siddhartha, born into a royal family, became the enlightened one after years of penance. He attained knowledge while meditating under a Banyan (Peepal) tree and this divine wisdom transcended the material world.

Buddhists worldwide observe Buddha Purnima by remembering Buddha, who preached and practised peace, non-violence and harmony, but the celebration style differs from region to region.

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May 22nd, 2021 at 1:55 am

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Zig Zag Zen – The Zen Perspective On Psychedelics

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Zig Zag Zen – Buddhism in America, A High History

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COVID-19 Grants Awarded to 31 Organizations by The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism – PRNewswire

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LOS ANGELES, March 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ --The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism today announced it has committed to 31 grants totaling $200,000 for groups in its grantee network impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants provide operational assistance to ensure continuity during this time of crisis.

Norman Oberstein, Lenz Foundation CEO, states, "Although we had initially planned a national conference in 2021, as the pandemic grew, we decided to move the conference to 2022, and instead make grants in 2021 to help organizations weather the organizational storm of COVID-19. Our grantee organizations with retreat centers or large physical meeting rooms, along with meditation and mindfulness groups--all have suffered losses and face economic challenges. We feel fortunate we can help."

David Macek, Development, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (IBme) states, "The COVID-19 grant from the Lenz Foundation allows us to keep offering meaningful programs for teens. iBme's organizational system and financial model have been extremely challenged, which meant quickly transitioning our signature residential retreats to an online format, adding new offerings, and increasing our focus on teens' families."

At Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, Johann Robbins, Executive Director, explains, "Almost all of our retreats were cancelled due to COVID-19. Normally our entire operating budget comes from our operating surplus. It is very difficult to ask donors to support both operating losses from COVID and our capital fundraising needs. The grant from the Lenz Foundation is helping to fill the gap."

Roy Remer, Executive Director of the Zen Caregiving Project notes, "Our volunteersnormallyvisit palliative care patients in-person.The organizationhas pivoted toallowvolunteers to connect with patients virtually,at a time when patients feel particularly isolated, andtoensure our volunteers remain engaged via regular online community meetings and retreats. These changes, however, have been against a backdrop of reduced organizational income, ZCP staff reductions in hours, and a very fluid public health context. The Covid-19 grant from the Lenz Foundation helps us bridge this difficult period of transition."

The conference formerly scheduled for 2021, "The Future of American Buddhism," is now planned for June 2-5, 2022 at the Garrison Institute in New York. The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism and Naropa University will stage this leading-edge conference in several phases. From January to May, 2022, online webinars and communities of interest will precede the conference and provide timely, relevant content to the physical gathering in June. Main topics are likely to include: Buddhist responses to: Climate Change, Women's Leadership and Gender Issues, Racism and White Privilege, Tradition and Innovation, Digital Dharma and New Forms of Community, and Socially Engaged Activism.

The Lenz Foundation seeks additional sponsors to help finance the conference by contributing to its funding, and to provide their own grants to conference participants with worthy projects that grow out of this event.

About the Lenz Foundation

Formed in 1998, the Lenz Foundation focuses on grants supporting the emergence of an enlightened American society that reflects the universal Buddhist values of wisdom, compassion, mindfulness, and meditation.

The mission of the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism is to foster the growth and development of an authentic American Buddhism that takes its inspiration from the wisdom traditions of the East but adopts new forms, approaches, and applications that are uniquely suited to contemporary American society and culture.

Based in Los Angeles, California, The Lenz Foundation is a perpetual tax exempt 501 c 3 private foundation.

For more information, contact:

Liz Lewinson, Vice President and Treasurer [emailprotected] 310-557-8882

SOURCE The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism

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March 9th, 2021 at 11:48 pm

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A Thai organizations crusade against blaspheming Buddha – The World

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A Thai Buddhist monk carries a statue of Buddha as he waits with others to welcome Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama at the Tsuglagkhang temple in Dharmsala, India, Sept. 7, 2018.

Ashwini Bhatia/AP

Acharawadee Wongsakon, an ascetic Buddhist teacher in snow-white robes, has a pet peeve.

Its the phrase let it go, deployed by people who disrespect Buddha and expect Buddhists to meekly tolerate the insult.

Letting go? That just means letting go of your emotions. It doesnt mean were weak or that we wont stand up for our rights.

Letting go? That just means letting go of your emotions, Acharawadee said. It doesnt mean were weak or that we wont stand up for our rights.

Acharawadee is the driving force behind the Knowing Buddha Organization, a watchdog group based in Thailand. Once a high-flying businesswoman in the jewelry trade, she has since dedicated her life to meditation and claims to have logged 18,000 hours in her lifetime.

Related:Does Thailand have a monkey labor problem?

As the leader of the Knowing Buddha Organization, she oversees volunteers who scour the internet and chase tips, seeking out people who haveused Buddhas image flagrantly.

A prime example: placing statues of Buddhas head on the floor a lowly place or, worse yet, putting Buddha imagery on things that are stepped on, like skateboards or carpets. Buddhas resplendent image, they say, should never come near a persons grubby feet.

Also on the offenders list: bars and hotels using Buddha as a kitschy decoration, especially in ignoble, boozy places such as nightclubs or plastering his face on walls to give off faux spiritual vibes.

Then, there are the Buddha toilet seat covers, sold online. Or the Disney cartoon, Air Buddies, featuring a meditating puppy named Buddha.

Buddha taught goodness, dedicating his life to ending suffering. The same way Jesus did and you treat him this way? Acharawadee said.

If anything touches Mohammed or Jesus, [people know] theyll be in deep trouble. But if they touch Buddhism, the Buddhists hardly have a voice to stop them so, people think they can do anything they want.

If anything touches Mohammed or Jesus, [people know] theyll be in deep trouble, she said. But if they touch Buddhism, the Buddhists hardly have a voice to stop them so, people think they can do anything they want.

Related:Thailand set to legalize LGBTQ unions, a rare step in Asia

There are roughly half a billion Buddhists in the world. Yet, the influence of this religion some would call it a philosophy radiates beyond its base of adherents in Asia. Meditation and mindfulness, en vogue in the West, inadvertently spread a certain Buddhist chic one that is disconnected from mores in the Asian cultures that uphold Buddhism.

These are cultures, Acharawadee says, that recoil at seeing Buddha adjacent to feet or, worse yet, a decorative flower pot made from Buddhas head. Tattoos are also forbidden, she said, because Buddha is a symbol of purity and the human body is dirty especially when humans have sex.

Buddha is just not some superstar.

Buddha is just not some superstar, Acharawadee said.

Just because Buddha is not a deity he was a spiritual leader, alive in modern-day India or Nepal roughly 2,500 years ago does not mean you can use him as a decoration. Show respect. He is the father of our religion.

Related:In Thailand, posting a selfie with a beer is a potential crime

Those who offend the Knowing Buddha Organization are contacted and warned. Many offenders, Acharawadee says, act out of ignorance, not malice.

We ask them to stop, explaining the problem. I must say, about 50% stop what they are doing. The other 50% dont care.

If a transgression takes place outside Thailand, the Knowing Buddha Organization may ask the local Thai Embassy to apply pressure which has sometimes worked.

Among the organizations bigger takedowns was a Paris art exhibit, hosted by the Louis Vuitton Foundation in 2016, which featured a massive Buddha head resting on the ground. Under pressure (which included a letter from Thailands Embassy in France), the head was placed on a pedestal.

But would Buddha himself imparting teachings against pride dwell on transgressions such as this? Or might he, well, let it go?

If someone puts trash in front of your door, Acharawadee said, will you let it go? No, you will remove the trash as best you can, without feeling hatred, always feeling harmony and forgiveness.

Otherwise, she said, using the theory of letting go with everything, we would not have law and order.

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For those who offend Buddhists inside Thailand, a Buddhist-majority country, the Knowing Buddha Organization advocates a more strict punishment. There are Thai laws against disrespecting religion but they are seldom enforced and Acharawadee has advocated for a strengthening of these codes, even addressing Thailands Senate.

In her view, foreign offenders this could include a tourist with a Buddha tattoo or people posing in bikinis by a Buddha statue just be let off with a warning, possibly a fine if they are recalcitrant.

But if the person is Buddhist, they should go to jail. Maybe for six months. If you go to jail, its not about punishment. Its giving you time and space to really contemplate what you did wrong.

But if the person is Buddhist, they should go to jail, she said. Maybe for six months. If you go to jail, its not about punishment. Its giving you time and space to really contemplate what you did wrong.

Other Buddhist-majority countries enforce anti-blasphemy laws. Sri Lanka deported a British woman over a Buddha tattoo on her arm. In Myanmar, a New Zealander and two citizens were imprisoned over an online flier promoting a bar; the image depicted Buddha wearing headphones.

Such cases have not arisen in Thailand perhaps because the country, deeply reliant on tourism for its economy, cannot risk scaring off travelers. The Knowing Buddha Organization has posted billboards near Bangkoks largest airport, warning incoming tourists that it is wrong to wear Buddhist necklaces or sport Buddha tattoos.

The purpose is just to raise awareness to foreigners, Acharawadee said.

Her advice for anyone already sporting a Buddha tattoo and looking forward to visiting Thailand?

You should erase it, she said. It will be good for you. If they will not, whatever consequence that might come they might have to accept it.

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A Thai organizations crusade against blaspheming Buddha - The World

Written by admin

March 9th, 2021 at 11:48 pm

Posted in Buddhism

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