An American Zen Buddhist training center in the Mountains and Rivers Order, offering Sunday programs, weekend retreats and month-long residencies.
For someone whose job consists of (among other things, I swear) writing about the news every week, I don't like reading the news all that much. It's just too depressing. So forgive me while I indulge myself in something much more fun.
Hey there, Hugh Jackman.
The promotional posters for the next Wolverine movie have been released, with Jackman standing in front of what looks like a Buddhist temple (see, this had relevance after all). The movie is set in Japan, so now I'm wondering: is it going to have a Buddhist theme? We'll have to wait until next July to find out.
Ah, onto more serious matters, like this very-awesome-super-cool Buddhist statue that was chiseled from a meteorite. Known as the "Iron Man" and taken out of Tibet by a team of Nazis traveling there in 1938, it's the only known human figure carved from a meteorite. Not only that, the type of meteorite that it's carved from, known as an ataxite, is extremely rare—less than .1 percent of all meteorites are ataxites. It's estimated that it landed somewhere between Mongolia and Siberia about 15,000 years ago.
We're not sure why the Nazis were interested in it—perhaps due to the swastika in the center of the sculpture. Or maybe it was just a fun souvenir. But we do know why they were in Tibet in the first place. You can read about their 1938 mission in Tricycle here; apparently, they were searching for the last of the original Aryan tribes, whose leaders they thought might possess supernatural powers that the Nazis could use to conquer the world. Can you get any more Indiana Jones than that? I think not, my friends, I think not.
Over in China, the world's largest coffee chain (Starbucks, of course), has fired up some controversy after opening up shop nearby a Chan temple called Lingyin on Monday. Lingyin, ironically, is one of the largest and wealthiest Buddhist temples in China. Despite this, the Chinese are not happy about the most well-known symbol of American capitalism moving onto their Buddhist turf. This isn't the first time that Starbucks has drawn ire from the nation. In 2009, they shut down a branch in Beijing's Forbidden City amid protests that Starbucks was against traditional Chinese culture.
To celebrate Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to the U.S., last week Time magazine published a slideshow of photographer James Mackay's series "Even Though I'm Free I Am Not." The project features Burmese dissidents and democracy activists lifting their hands in the abhaya mudra. Written on their hands are the names of friends who were imprisoned at the time that the photo was taken. Last year, Mackay's work was published in a book called Abhaya: Burma's Fearlessness. Check out some of his portraits in the slideshow below.