As is being widely reported the English football team Leicester City look likely, against all the odds, to win the Premier League title this year. After struggling on the pitch for several years they were never considered contenders for the title at the beginning of the season. In fact, they were many people’s favourites to be relegated.
In the search for their turnaround of fortunes many have suggested the influence of Buddhism on the success of the team. Leicester City have Thai owners and Thai Buddhist monks have been regular visitors to the teams King Power Stadium ground. During these visits the monks have regularly performed Buddhist blessings and purifications.
After their poor season the club’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, had the idea that their lack of success was due to a lack of ‘merit’ (an idea closely related to karma). By actively supporting the ordination of Buddhist monks and the building of Buddhist temples it was intended that Leicester City’s levels of merit would increase. With an increase of merit, generated primarily by performing Buddhist offerings and benevolent actions, good fortune would occur. The rituals at the club’s ground were intended to be auspicious and maintain the benefits of merit. Finally, certain powerful Buddhist objects were used in the form of amulets, believed to have a powerful and beneficial influence.
Clearly, the terrible season suffered by Chelsea is down to a lack of religious merit accrued at Stamford Bridge.
A report on Sayadaw U Ottamasa’s meditation centre on the outskirts of Yangon has appeared in Frontline Myanmar.
It’s a well written article by Kyaw Phone Kyaw titled ‘A Sayadaw’s Sanctuary for the Needy’. A brief biography of the Sayadaw is available on Dhamma Web with more details available here. As an example of engaged Buddhism in Myanmar the Sayadaw’s activies have become very popular.
As Kyaw reports:
There is nothing unusual about a monk establishing a meditation centre in Myanmar and they can be found throughout the country, but the Thabarwa Center, established by the Venerable Sayadaw U Ottamasara in 2008 when he was aged 39, is very unusual indeed.
The centre, in Yangon’s outer southeastern Thanlyin Township, is a refuge for hundreds of needy people who are encouraged to meditate, as well as being a retreat for yogis, as lay meditators are known in Myanmar.
Membership of the centre is open to anyone and hosts many residents, many of whom have no home to call their own and will live there for the rest of their lives. Their food, health care and accommodation are provided free of charge.
The centre’s website contains more details.
Reviews of Philip Coggan’s Spirit Worlds: Cambodia, The Buddha and the Naga (John Beaufoy, 2015), and Erik W. Davis’s Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia (Columbia University Press, 2016).
Another great free summer course on gender and Buddhsim from the University of Hamburg, building upon past courses on women in Buddhism:
The Numata Center for Buddhist Studies in cooperation with Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts offers an e-learning course on the topic of Asian Buddhist Women. The course consists of a series of lectures by a group of international scholars who will present their research on the situation of women during various periods in the history of Asian Buddhism, based on textual studies and archaeological evidence. Participation is free of charge but requires online registration. The registration period will be from the 15th of February until the end of March.
As reported in Lion’s Roar:
“I cannot express in words,” he says. “I am so sad.” Rinpoche goes on to tell of meeting Bowie in 1965 — a story Bowie told his version of in 2001 at Tibet House — and also of knowing Bowie’s producer and collaborator, Tony Visconti. Then, before issuing prayers, Rinpoche says, “I’ll meet him again in the next life.”