June 22, 2012
The great Buddhist leaders of the world have been busy lately.
On Saturday, Aung San Suu Kyi made her way to Oslo, where she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her in 1991. (At the time, her sons accepted it on her behalf, as she was under house arrest by the Burmese military junta.) Her triumphant five-country European tour, still ongoing, is the first time she has left Burma in almost a quarter of a century. You can watch her moving acceptance speech here.
Meanwhile, Rakhine, a western state of Burma, is a mess. Riots and violence caused by longstanding ethnic and religious tensions and spurred on by the rape and murder of a woman in late May have claimed the lives of 62 people. Refugees fleeing the violence have been repeatedly turned away from entering Bangladesh, a move that has garnered the country both criticism and support.
On the same day as Aung San Suu Kyi's acceptance speech, the Dalai Lama was in England, entertaining the Manchester crowd with...Russell Brand. Brand is an English celebrity known for his womanizing, drinking, and drugging, so the two made an unlikely pair. The Dalai Lama plowed right on through what could have been a potentially awkward event, however, and told Brand that he appreciated his "openness." Of course, I wasn't there, but in my imagination this picture basically captures the evening:
Along with the international Buddhist notables, we have an unsung hero to wrap things up today. Watch this stoic Chinese monk remain totally unfazed as his TV debut is overrun by a pack of monkeys.
I don't think we have to ask him whether his practice is working.
Image: From The Sun.