Buddhism

Buddhist Chaplains on the Rise in US, Offering Broad Appeal

May 15, 2022

Wedged into a recliner in the corner of her assisted living apartment in Portland, Skylar Freimann, who has a terminal heart condition and pulmonary illness, anxiously eyed her newly arrived hospital bed on a recent day and worried over how she would maintain independence as she further loses mobility.

There to guide her along the journey was the Rev. Jo Laurence, a hospice and palliative care chaplain. But rather than invoking God or a Christian prayer, she talked of meditation, chanting and other Eastern spiritual traditions: “The body can weigh us down sometimes,” she...

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Activist's self-immolation stirs questions on faith, protest

April 26, 2022

After 50-year-old Wynn Bruce, a climate activist and Buddhist, set himself on fire in front of the U.S. Supreme Court last week, prompting a national conversation about his motivation and whether he may have been inspired by Buddhist monks who self-immolated in the past to protest government atrocities.

Bruce, a photographer from Boulder, Colorado, walked up to the plaza of the Supreme Court around 6:30 p.m. Friday — on Earth Day — then sat down and set himself ablaze, a law enforcement official said. Supreme Court police officers responded immediately but were unable to...

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Across US, faith groups mobilize to aid Ukrainian refugees

April 4, 2022

As U.S. refugee resettlement agencies and nonprofits nationwide gear up to help Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion and war that has raged for nearly six weeks, members of faith communities have been leading the charge to welcome the displaced.

In Southern California, pastors and lay individuals are stationing themselves at the Mexico border waving Ukrainian flags and offering food, water and prayer. Around the country, other religious groups are getting ready to provide longer-term support for refugees who will have to find housing, work, health care and schooling....

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South Asian Americans face a complicated relationship with the swastika

March 25, 2022

During Nikhil Mandalaparthy's senior year of high school in 2015, the local Hindu temple in his hometown was vandalized. Spray-painted in red on the outside of the Bothell, Washington, worship and cultural center were the words “Get Out” — alongside a symbol that was almost familiar to the temple’s patrons: a swastika. 

But the mark used to terrorize Mandalaparthy’s community was different than the swastikas he had grown up seeing in religious contexts. It was sharp and at a 45-degree angle, what he recognized immediately as a mark of Nazism and white supremacy. ...

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Prayers for peace in Ukraine

March 14, 2022

A variety of religious traditions assembled Sunday evening to pray for one thing: peace in Ukraine.

The meeting at North Presbyterian Church was assembled by the Williamsville Interfaith Clergy Association and was led by two Ukrainian clerics, one Catholic and one Orthodox. Joining them were Presbyterians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha'i, Sikh and Unitarian Universalists.

North Presbyterian Pastor Bill Hennessy said the array of clergy was deliberate.

Source:...

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Turning brokenness into beauty: Buddhists respond to anti-Asian violence

March 18, 2022

One by one, the Buddhist priests bowed before the altar at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo, wearing robes of yellow, orange and black.

Accompanied by the chanting of the Heart Sutra in Korean, they dipped a paintbrush into a bowl of golden lacquer to gently fill in the cracks of a white ceramic lotus that had been handmade for the occasion.

The ritual, which took place last May, was drenched in meaning. The lotus flower represented the purity and potential of the Buddha’s awakening. The repairing of the cracked ceramic lotus, a Japanese art...

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Roshi Merle Kodo Boyd, first fully transmitted African American Zen teacher in the United States, has died

February 24, 2022

Roshi Merle Kodo Boyd (1944-2022) passed peacefully at her home in Durham, NC, on Sunday, February 20, 2022. A Zen Buddhist priest and teacher, she was beloved for her keen wisdom, gentle kindness, and big love. Possessed of a fierce and independent spirit, Boyd was the first fully transmitted African American Zen teacher in the United States. Her life as a Black woman, particularly those experiences that shaped her throughout her childhood in a segregated but nurturing community in Houston, TX, and her life in the buddhadharma were intimately interwoven. She was of...

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Doug Emhoff highlights Black interfaith contributions as new project launches

February 24, 2022

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff lauded the interfaith work of Black religious communities for “saving lives” through distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations and for continuing efforts to get out the vote when he spoke at a midweek Black History Month event.

“Over the past year, Black faith communities have been working as trusted voices in their communities and getting the right facts and information out to their neighbors,” he said in remarks Wednesday (Feb. 23) at an online event co-hosted by the White House and the Black Interfaith Project. “This has led to millions upon...

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'A cloud never dies:' A California monastery mourns mindfulness advocate Thich Nhat Hanh

February 1, 2022

The low peaceful notes of a bell floated over the Deer Park Monastery in the mountains of Escondido, California, where hundreds of people gathered recently to honor the beloved Zen teacher and poet Thich Nhat Hanh.

Nhat Hanh, who died in January at the age of 95, never lived at the mountain monastery he founded in 2000, but he visited many times to lead retreats.

Devotees say they can still see their teacher in the rustling of the wind through the oak trees, or in the form of a rock where he once gave a talk. Dotted throughout the property are small wooden signs...

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Buddhist leaders share open letter addressing antisemitism following Texas synagogue attack

January 19, 2022

Over 100 Buddhist leaders have signed an open letter addressing antisemitism following the January 15 synagogue attack at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, in which a gunman held four people hostage for 10 hours. Penned by Zen teacher Koshin Paley Ellison of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, the letter was shared via Google Doc for Buddhist leaders to sign.

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Dogs and dharma: A prison ministry yields children's books teaching Buddhist lessons

January 4, 2022

Years before Albert Ramos finished his children’s book about an energetic pup who learns that dog toys don’t bring true happiness, he began by writing a letter.

In 2010, Ramos, five years into a life sentence for murder at Nash Correctional Institution in North Carolina, mailed off his message to Venerable Thubten Chodron, founder and abbess of ...

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What's your religion? In US, a common reply is now 'None'

December 14, 2021

Nathalie Charles, even in her mid-teens, felt unwelcome in her Baptist congregation, with its conservative views on immigration, gender and sexuality. So she left.

“I just don’t feel like that gelled with my view of what God is and what God can be,” said Charles, an 18-year-old of Haitian descent who identifies as queer and is now a freshman at Princeton University.

“It wasn’t a very loving or nurturing environment for someone’s faith.”

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Cambodian cultural celebration takes place at Cambodian Buddhist temple in Flushing

November 12, 2021

A traditional Cambodian celebration called Bon Khatin, also known as the "The Robe Ceremony for the Monks", took place Sunday in the heart of Brooklyn at a Cambodian Buddhist temple in Flatbush.

Cambodians gathered in their best traditional clothes to chant and bring flowers and offerings to Buddha and those who have passed away.

The women wore Sampots, which are long, rectangular cloths worn around the lower body. The monks wore their traditional robe attire.

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