Kushinagar International Airport inaugurated by Narendra Modi


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Nothing is permanent, therefore everything is precious. Here is a selection of some events, ephemeral or not, in the Buddhist world this week.

Inauguration of Kushinagar International Airport, site of the Buddha’s death

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the Kushinagar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh as part of the government’s efforts to promote India’s Buddhist heritage. The new airport is the third international airport and the ninth national airport to be constructed in the northern state, and it will facilitate travel for national and international pilgrims visiting Kushinagar, one of the four sacred sites and where the Buddha died. During the inauguration ceremony, Modi said the airport will connect the region to the world and boost tourism, employment and the development of neighboring small towns. “The development of Kushinagar is one of the key priorities of the UP and the central governments,” he said. Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister Namal Rajapaksa and 100 senior Buddhist monks also attended the ceremony.

Burmese junta delivers fraction of promised prisoners’ releases

On Monday, October 18, the Burmese junta announced that it would release more than 5,600 political prisoners the next day. However, the junta did not provide any information regarding the identity or location of the released prisoners, and the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (AAPP) – a non-governmental organization that has documented arrests, murders and releases in Myanmar since the February coup – has been able to confirm the release of less than two hundred prisoners. According to some activists, the liberation promised by the army may have been a try to repair its international reputation after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) excluded the head of the junta, General Min Aung Hlaing of an upcoming block meeting.

Since the February coup, the junta has arrested more than 9,000 pro-democracy protesters, activists and journalists, some of whom were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prison. “The partial release of unjustly detained detainees should not distract from the junta’s blatant rule of abuse, which has not changed,” said Linda Lakhdhir, legal advisor at Human Rights Watch. “Some of those released have already been arrested again. The junta should release all those unjustly detained since the coup, including prominent politicians, and end all arbitrary arrests.

Translation Organization 84000 launches new application

84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, an organization that aims to translate all remaining canonical Buddhist texts written in classical Tibetan, launch an application for iOS and Android later this month. 84000 and the Khyentse Foundation, the non-profit organization that launched 84000, will host an app launch event on October 27, which this year coincides with Lhabab Duchen, the Tibetan Buddhist festival commemorating the Buddha’s descent from heaven. on Earth to share his teachings. The app will launch with 200 sutras, some of which include descriptive introductions, and 84,000 will add more sutras over time. Users will be able to search by characters, locations and concepts. There will also be a trilingual glossary and interactive reading tools such as contextual definitions. Finally, the app will allow users to bilingual read and compare the translated text with the Tibetan e-folios from the part of the canon known as Kangyur. Stay up to date with the launch the application here and subscribe to launch event here.

Kung Fu Nuns Win UNESCO Martial Arts Education Prize

On Tuesday, October 19, UNESCO’s ICM announced that the Himalayan-based organization Kung Fu Nuns won this year Martial Arts Education Award. Blending the study and practice of the Drupka lineage with Kung Fu, nuns advocate for gender equality, fitness, environmentally friendly lifestyles and respect for all living beings. Among other charitable services, Kung Fu Nuns teach self-defense classes to young Himalayan women to help fight sexual abuse and violence. They hope to break the mold not only for Buddhist nuns, but also for women in general. “After doing kung fu, we feel more energy, more confidence”, Jigme Rigzin, a Kung Fu Nun, said Tricycle in 2017. “Sometimes we [meet other nuns who are] very shy, who says nothing. We feel very sad [for them]; we say it’s not good. His Holiness always teaches us to say what you want.

Venerable Thich Pho Tue, head of the Vietnamese Buddhist sangha, dies at 105

On Thursday morning, the Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, who was the Supreme Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Patronage Council (VBS) – the only Buddhist sangha recognized by the Vietnamese government – passed away. He was 105 years old. That afternoon, hundreds of people gathered to mourn the late Supreme Patriarch at Vien Minh Pagoda in Ben Tre, Vietnam, about two hours south of Ho Chi Minh City. See photos of the ceremony and learn more about Ven. Thich Pho Tu here.

Sculpt the divine Documentary premieres at Raindance Film Festival

The documentary Sculpting the divine: Buddhist sculptures from Japan, which offers a rare look at the 1,400-year-old Buddhist woodcarving tradition, will premiere in the UK at the 29th Raindance Film Festival in London, which begins on October 27. The film introduces viewers to a community of Japanese sculptors, called Busshi, who have carved intricate wooden statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in their meticulous style over the past 1,400 years. In a 2018 interview with Tricycle, director Yujiro Seki explained his desire to make a documentary about this esoteric art form and share a tradition that has remained virtually unknown outside of Japan. During his Screening on November 2 at Britain’s largest independent film festival, the film is sure to attract a much wider audience with this captivating dive into the world of the Busshi.

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