Buddhism

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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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.

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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 by fears of the...

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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 at the end of a dirt road in Shamong, New Jersey, around two hours from his home in Queens. There, he and a group of...

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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 “stupa,” which...

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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 musicians (recording from their home), which is closer to how we would normally worship.”

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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 brutality, and with...

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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 mix of peoples that...

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White River Buddhist Temple Bon Odori Cancelled for First Time in 50 Years

July 22, 2020

White River Buddhist Temple released the following statement announcing the cancellation if its annual in-person Bon Odori due to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

For the first time in fifty years, White River Buddhist Temple will not be holding its annual in-person Bon Odori festival this year. While the Temple traditionally holds its annual Bon Odori festival on the third weekend in July, this year, the Temple will be virtually streaming it’s Bon Odori with...

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The Karma of Becoming American

July 14, 2020

In the section under COVID-19 safety precautions, the Department of Homeland Security letter addressed to me mandated facemasks and banned guests for my newly rescheduled naturalization ceremony. Given fears that the virus might serve as a pretext for a complete shutdown of immigration and naturalization, it was a huge relief to find out that the ceremony would take place at all. The original date for the ceremony was March 19, the very day that California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

I had always imagined the conclusion of my long path toward...

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Buddhist Priest Seeks to Halt Federal Execution During Pandemic

July 7, 2020

A 68-year-old Buddhist priest has asked a federal court in Indiana to halt Wesley Purkey’s scheduled July 15 execution, saying he shouldn’t be forced to choose between exercising his religious obligations to the convicted murder and the risk of catching Covid-19.

Prisons and detention facilities have become hot spots for coronavirus outbreaks, Reverend Seigen Hartkemeyer said in his July 2 complaint, filed in the U...

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Vows for Freedom

July 6, 2020

Erica Orta and Kerry Vadasz, inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, received the sixteen bodhisattva precepts in October 2019 in a formal commitment to Zen practice. This was the fourth jukai (literally, “receiving the precepts”) held at the prison since 2012, when Laura Taylor, who has been serving a life sentence since she was 17, became the first inmate to take the precepts, Buddhism’s guidelines for ethical conduct.

Here, the three women reflect on the obstacles they face as Zen practitioners in prison. Tricycle’s interview questions...

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