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July, it seems, is a very auspicious month for Tibetan Buddhists. Last Friday was the Dalai Lama's birthday, and tomorrow it's Pema Chodron's 76th. Happy Birthday, Pema! Although she is in retreat for the entirety of 2012, she's holding a virtual online retreat in honor of the occasion. If you register here (it's free), the Pema Chodron foundation will email you a pre-filmed video with advice, encouragement, and meditation instruction. In a culture in which a person expects to receive gifts on a birthday, not give them, many thanks to the Pema Chodron Foundation and, of course, Pema herself for their generosity.
In more awesome news, in August Taiwan will see its first gay Buddhist wedding. Fish Huang, a social worker, and her unnamed partner will marry on August 11, the Taipei Times reported. Despite the fact that homosexual marriages are not legally recognized in Taiwan and that even Huang's friends are anxious about attending the ceremony (they're afraid it contradicts their Buddhist vows), Huang and her partner are determined to see the wedding through because they want "to make [their] relationship complete and raise awareness about the difficulties faced by sexual minorities."
"It is meaningful to us that our wedding can give hope to other homosexuals and help heterosexuals understand how Buddhism views sexuality," Huang said. "We are not only doing it for ourselves, but also for other gays and lesbians."
You go, girls! Tricycle wishes them the best. (And personally, I hope that we get to see some photos of the wedding! I'm looking at you, Taiwanese media.)
Over in Thailand, the Bangkok-based group Knowing Buddha Organization has called for a boycott against Disney, who has a new series of children's movies out that features a dog named Buddha. His doggy friends, to put some perspective on the matter, are called B-Dawg (who likes "bling" and dislikes "dark places"), Mudbud (who dislikes "uptight people"), Budderball (who dislikes "soy" and "vegan"), and Rosebud (the only girl, who likes "fashion" and dislikes "fart jokes"). Here's Buddha:
It might seem innocuous, but I have to agree with Acharavadee Wongsakon, the founder of the Knowing Buddha Organization, who says in this CNNGo article that people would be pretty pissed if the dog was named Jesus or Mohammed.
Wongsakon launched a "Stop Disrespecting Buddha" walk in late June, calling attention to the Buddha dog and confronting backpackers and tourists in Thailand who support the commercialization of Buddhism by buying decorative Buddhas and tattooing the Buddha on their bodies. The Knowing Buddha Organization has an official site with a page that lists the Dos and Don'ts in regards to images of the Buddha, if you're interested.
As we all know, the 2012 London Olympic Games start in two weeks. But did you know that among the competitors is Kenki Sato, a Japanese Buddhist monk? He will be competing in the equine sports: dressage, cross-country and showjumping. Japan hasn't won an equestrian Olympic medal since 1932, but beyond winning, Sato says that he hopes his Olympic experience will aid him on his path to enlightenment.