Vesak 2022: Buddhists celebrate Buddha’s birthday

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

Buddhist communities begin to celebrate Vesak

This month, Buddhists around the world celebrate Vesak, a festival commemorating the birthday, death and enlightenment of the Buddha. To mark the occasion, the Korean Yeondeunghoe lantern-lighting festival will return to downtown Seoul after a two-year hiatus. The Dharma Wheel Training Program, an initiative of the International Buddhadharma Light Foundationshared a campaign to light 1,000,000 lamps around the world to commemorate Vesak, while the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has published a message for the celebration entitled “Buddhists and Christians: United in Hopeful Resilience”. The Tau Chi Center for Compassionate Relief will hold a Vesak Event, Buddha bath and interfaith prayers of gratitude, this Saturday, May 7 in New York.

Namgyal Monastery inaugurates construction of Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center

On Friday, April 29, the Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, New York, opened the Dalai Lama’s Library and Learning Center, a more than 9,000 square foot building that will contain works by Indian and Tibetan Buddhist masters, as well as copies of the 127 books written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. One of only four affiliated monasteries and the only one outside India, the Institute of Buddhist Studies at Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca is the North American headquarters and personal monastery of the Dalia Lama. According to a press release, when the new library is completed, it will be “the only place in the world where people can find the written works of the 14th Dalai Lama, as well as all previous Dalai Lamas.” It will also contain 40,000 hours of audio recordings of the Dalai Lama and around 4,000 books documenting Tibetan Buddhist thought. One hundred and fifty community members attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which began with prayers from the monks of Namgyal Monastery and included a performance by the Tibetan Association of Ithaca and a speech by Venerable Tenzin Choesang, President of the monastery.

Architect Anthony Poon receives The highest membership honor for an architect in the United States

Architect Anthony Poon has has received the prestigious FAIA Award, the highest membership honor bestowed by the American Institute of Architects. Poon has designed several building projects for the Bodhi Path Retreat Center in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, including the 14th Shamarpa Reliquary Building, for which he received a Best of Design Award from The architect’s journal. While designing buildings for Bodhi Path, Poon immersed himself in the daily life of the retreat center and its sangha. In an interview with Tricycle in 2019, he reference its approach as “middle lane architecture”.

Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation contributes $10 million to UNICEF relief efforts for Ukrainian refugees

The Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, a global humanitarian organization based in Taiwan, recently donated $10 million to UNICEF’s emergency response to support war-affected children and families in Ukraine. UNICEF estimates that more than 2 million of Ukraine’s 4.7 million refugees are children, many of whom are unaccompanied. Tzu Chi’s contribution will help provide protection services for children and families fleeing Ukraine to neighboring countries. Additionally, the Tzu Chi Foundation has launched its own fundraiser to provide emergency relief, medical supplies, blankets and food to Ukrainian refugees.

Tibet House US organizes a meditation for Mother’s Day

On May 8, the Tibet House US in New York is organizing a 45-minute conference Meditation for Mother’s Day led by Tibetan Buddhist monk Lobsang Tenpa. The first part of the session will focus on cultivating habits of kind thought, followed by a meditation on radical generosity and the different ways one can give to the world. The donation-based event will be held on Zoom and all proceeds will go to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.

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