On Sat., Dec. 8, many Buddhists around the world will celebrate Bodhi Day. This holy day marks the occasion on which Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment while sitting under a bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India. From then on he was called the “Buddha” or the “Awakened One.” This was the culmination of his long search for a solution to human suffering and dissatisfaction. The “enlightenment” the Buddha experienced, according to Buddhism, was a true and clear understanding of things as they are and the way to permanent peace and a compassionate relationship with all living beings.
For Buddhists, the Buddha is not a god, but simply an exemplary human being. Buddhists honor on Bodhi Day the Buddha’s example and his teaching. The ways in which people honor the Buddha on this day varies - - meditation, fasting, the study of Buddhist texts, doing acts of service & charity, public celebrations, and special meals at home or in communities.
In the picture above, the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama helps a monk at a Bodhi tree sapling plantation ceremony to mark the 2600th year of Sambodhiprapti (The Enlightenment of the Buddha) in New Delhi on November 30,2011. This picture is from the Huffington Post.
As a follow up to our assembly on Oct. 1, you might like to read through the PBS Frontline website titled “Who’s Afraid of Ai Weiwei?” On it, there is a “behind the scenes” with Alison Klayman, an online slideshow, and some other links of interest.
I like this quote from Alison Klayman,
“Sometimes China can feel like the Wild West, the kind of place where you can show up at a police station with cameras rolling and get away with it for an hour. Until they stop you. This means, essentially, that Weiwei is not in jail until he is in jail. I hope that this story, and my film, can help raise awareness for Ai Weiwei in case that day ever comes.”
If you can, read this recent piece on China by Thomas Friedman – link. Friedman notes:
This is just a sampler of the China that Xi Jinping will be inheriting. This is not your grandfather’s Communist China. After three decades of impressive economic growth, but almost no political reforms, there is “a gathering sense of an approaching moment of transition that will require a different set of conditions for Chinese officials to maintain airspeed,” observed Orville Schell, the Asia Society China expert. The rules are going to get rewritten here. Exactly how and when is impossible to say. The only thing that is certain is that it will be through a two-way conversation.
Here’s a link to Lisa Miller’s “How to Raise a Global Kid” - click here. Speaking of American students, Miller says:
If they don’t learn—now—to achieve a comfort level with foreign people, foreign languages, and foreign lands, this argument goes, America’s competitive position in the world will continue to erode, and their future livelihood and that of subsequent generations will be in jeopardy. Rogers is hardly the only person who sees things this way. “In this global economy, the line between domestic and international issues is increasingly blurred, with the world’s economies, societies, and people interconnected as never before,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in remarks in the spring of 2010 at the Asia Society in New York. “I am worried that in this interconnected world, our country risks being disconnected from the contributions of other countries and cultures.”
This weblog is the place that you will find information about Asian Studies class. Your assignments can be found here as well as basic information about the class (syllabus, web links, grading, etc.).