Buddhism

The Buddhist Temple of Dallas raises more money than ever at its annual Royal Kathina

October 23, 2020

 

Earlier this month, the North Texas Thai community gathered in unity, many wearing traditional national costumes but all wearing protective masks, at Wat Dallas for an annual fundraising event that had special significance this year. Despite changes forced by COVID-19, including fewer people (around 100 instead of the usual 500-plus), the ceremony generated more donations for the Buddhist Temple of Dallas than in years past.

“The Royal Kathina is the highest honor one can...

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Keeping the faith: how Miami students are practicing religion and faith during COVID-19

October 8, 2020

 

A lot of people turn to their religious communities for support through tough times. That sense of connection is different as people are navigating through the unprecedented time of 2020, but it’s not lost.

Emily Garforth, president of the Association of Jewish Students at Hillel, has felt the challenges of getting students involved in the organization this semester. She mentioned that less people are showing up to weekly Shabbat services because the dinner portion was pulled. 

Garforth herself had to miss Hillel’s big Purim celebration due to...

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Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado Loses Buildings to Wildfire

October 6, 2020

 

The Shambhala Mountain Center (SMC), a Buddhist retreat center and pilgrimage site in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, was overrun by the Cameron Peak wildfire last week. The center lost some buildings but the Great Stupa and items enshrined inside it survived.

According to reports from SMC director Michael Gayner, the fire reached the center on 26 September. It was not immediately clear what damage the fire had caused, but over the days that followed Gayner and others were able to visit and assess the extent of the loss. 

By 27...

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Reckoning with race, Black Buddhists seek space for healing in the dharma

September 29, 2020

 

Since nationwide protests erupted after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis, Black religious leaders have reminded their flocks that racial injustice is nothing new. “The foot on the neck of George Floyd has been a foot that’s been there ever since Black people came to the U.S.,” said Arisika Razak in a recent talk in Oakland, California, as she urged her listeners to find common cause with other oppressed racial and ethnic groups. 

What makes Razak's graphic image surprising is that she is a teacher of Buddhism, a...

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Despite arson, leaders of Columbus Buddhist temple say they're blessed to build center

September 23, 2020

 

As Eric Weinberg watched the Columbus Karma Thegsum Choling temple being destroyed by fire more than four years ago, all he could think was that the flames were releasing blessings into the air and out to the people of Columbus.

“That’s sort of what has turned out to be the case over the last few years,” said Weinberg, a board member of the Tibetan Buddhist congregation.

The Franklinton building, which fell victim to...

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For hospital chaplains, navigating patient needs during the pandemic takes a toll

September 22, 2020

 

When the Rev. Tenku Ruff, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, took over as the pastoral care director at Phelps Hospital Northwell Health in Sleepy Hollow in June, she knew she was entering uncharted territory: She was taking on the hospital-based position in the middle of a pandemic.

As she spoke to doctors and other staff, she heard about Chaplain Cyril Owambo, who early in the pandemic, was asked to counsel a family whose loved one had just died of COVID-19.

“The family really wanted him to come in and offer a prayer. He was so...

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Buddhists in Hawai‘i Lead Bell-ringing for International Day of Peace

September 22, 2020

Buddhists from the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i led a virtual global bell-ringing yesterday in celebration of Peace Day, a state holiday in Hawai‘i that coincides each year with the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Described as the first-ever International “Ring Your Bell for Peace” event, the occasion was live-streamed on the KTUH Honolulu Facebook page. The broadcast, coordinated through Zoom, featured bell-ringing from Buddhists, Christians, and people of other faith backgrounds. Most of those taking part were from Hawai‘i, but...

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Buddhist temple fighting COVID’s challenges

September 14, 2020

 

A saffron-robed monk, seated cross-legged at the front of a hall at Dhamagosnaram Buddhist Temple, chanted in Pali — a Buddhist liturgical language — as Ananda Neou and Yindy Duong, placed plates of food and money before him Sunday morning.

The couple clasped their hands together as the monk blessed the food for Pchum Ben — a 15-day celebration in honor of a person’s deceased antecedents held annually by Cambodians.

But with the novel coronavirus on the loose, the holiday took on a new urgency for the living at area wats (Buddhist temples).

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Rezoning request from Buddhist Temple adds to San Jose neighborhood’s concerns

September 3, 2020

 

Residents of Evergreen are raising new concerns over a proposed Buddhist temple in their San Jose neighborhood which now seeks to change zoning of the site.

Wat Khmer Kampuchea Krom wants to rezone the lot from a residential zone to a Public-Quasi-Public (PQP) zone, which residents fear will lead to a more “intense” use of the property.

Religious buildings already are permitted in residential zones but they are subject to certain building codes, such as height caps and noise restrictions. If the lot is rezoned to PQP, the height cap goes from 35...

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Biloxi’s Buddhist temple, facing a financial crunch, celebrates Vietnamese holiday

September 1, 2020

 

Biloxi’s Buddhist temple, Chua Van Duc, was crowded for the first time in months on Sunday.

Dozens of people from as far away as Pensacola gathered to celebrate Le Vu Lan, a festival that honors parents and ancestors, especially mothers, and is sometimes called Vietnamese Mother’s Day.

Tanya Kennedy, the temple’s president, smiled after the ceremony as she surveyed the room where 60 or 70 masked people had gathered to pray and honor their parents. On recent Sunday mornings, only about 10 people had come to the temple for regular services, kept away...

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These Uber drivers are stressed. Archery soothes them.

August 18, 2020

 

Tshelthrim Dorji, a 36-year-old from Bhutan, had been used to waking up every day at 5 a.m. to start his 12-hour-shift as an Uber driver in New York City. He stopped going out during the prolonged pandemic-related lockdown, and as he slowly returned to work as the city reopened this summer he found his already taxing job increasingly stressful.

So to unwind on Saturdays he still wakes at dawn, but drives instead to another destination: a serene expanse of woods...

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Despite Obstacles, Traditions Persist at Buddhist Association Temple in Yelm

July 29, 2020

 

Out of the corner of your eye as you round a curve on Yelm Highway S.E. just after it splits with State Route 510, you might notice what appear to be a pair of pink lotus-flower statues on either side of a concrete-block wall adjoined by a black, wrought-iron gate.

If you turn your head quickly enough, you’ll see through the fence several bright yellow wooden buildings that resemble typical single-family Yelm homes. You might also notice a legion of statues standing erect throughout the property and a glass-and-wood enclosed shrine a bit further back called a...

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Hilary Decent: How Naperville’s faith communities are operating under phase 4 of Illinois reopening

July 27, 2020

 

Naperville’s faith communities are taking a cautious approach to eased restrictions now that Illinois has moved to phase four of its coronavirus recovery program.

Members of the First Congregational United Church of Christ have been meeting online since March. Rev. Mark Winters said: “Since the middle of March, we have been live streaming our services from our sanctuary. We recently switched to a pre-recorded model which allows us to include more readers and...

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Buddhist Peace Fellowship Joins Protests in Portland, Oregon

July 23, 2020

 

The Buddhist Peace Fellowship in Portland, Oregon, led a meditation march around Portland City Hall on Tuesday in support of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the city. The purpose of the meditation was to call attention to “Portland’s need to reject white supremacy and enact anti-racist policies.” (Portland Mercury)

The hour-long meditation was scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Prior to the event, organizers of the meditation said participants could expect to “sit with the suffering caused by racist violence and police...

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How Taiwanese death rituals have adapted for families living in the US

July 23, 2020

 

Taiwanese people living in the United States face a dilemma when loved ones die. Many families worry that they might not be able to carry out proper rituals in their new homeland.

As a biracial Taiwanese-American archaeologist living in Idaho and studying in Taiwan, I am discovering the many faces of Taiwan’s blended cultural heritage drawn from the...

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