Buddhism

Pandemic’s suffering opens way for Buddhist chaplains

December 3, 2020

Brent Beavers, a Buddhist hospital chaplain in the San Francisco Bay Area, had been on the job for less than a year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The virus upended routines at the intensive care unit where he was completing his residency, even as restrictions on visitors, meanwhile, changed how he did his job. 

Unable to be together, patients and families needed more help with the heightened anxiety, sorrow and grief that come with illness and death. He was often a patient’s only human contact besides the busy doctors and nurses.

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Six Buddhist temples vandalized across Little Saigon this month

November 30, 2020

Thai Viet Phan, who was recently elected to the Santa Ana City Council, was stunned when she received the advisory notice from the Buddhist temple she attended growing up.

Huong Tich Temple had been vandalized and Santa Ana police had deemed it a hate crime. It was the sixth temple to be vandalized in the area in the last month.

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A Zen Harvest

November 23, 2020

At the saw-toothed edge of autumn, violent forest fires obscured the noonday sun at Green Gulch Farm. Ominous clouds of charcoal soot and thick, vermilion smoke darkened the Pacific Northwest, covering the last rows of butter lettuce with ghost-gray ash.

Source: A Zen Harvest - Tricycle

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Jews, Hindus and Buddhists host event to discuss the meaning of the swastika

November 11, 2020

A major New York Jewish organization co-hosted an event in New York this week to debate a subject that most in the city assume has long been settled — whether the swastika is good or bad.

While the notorious hooked-cross symbol has long been associated with the evil of Nazism and hate, it has for even longer been revered by Hindus and Buddhists, who argued Monday that swastika was misused by Hitler and its image should be rehabilitated.

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Stressed by COVID, online seekers discover Buddhism’s calming practice

November 10, 2020

(RNS) — When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, Heather Hopkins suddenly had fewer things to do and nowhere to go. Dealing with feelings of stress and uncertainty, she began to reflect on her life.

“It gave me the time and space to think about what’s important in my life, what do I want out of life, what do I want my routine to be like, how do I want to spend my time,” said Hopkins, 37, who lives in San Diego. 

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Displays of devotion: Art reflects faith in northwest Ohio homes

November 2, 2020

Lord Ganesha greets visitors to the home of Jagdish and Shobha Patel in Holland.

A figurine of the deity is positioned prominently in an altar set into a wall just off the kitchen, depicted as is traditional with the body of a man and the head of an elephant. One of several such depictions that the couple displays in their home, this one in porcelain and in the characteristic style of Lladró, it serves a purpose both spiritual and artistic.

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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 get to present the...

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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. 

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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. 

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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 faith more often...

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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.

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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.

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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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