His Holiness the Dalai Lama turns 80 on July 6th and his upcoming birthday was recently celebrated at the Glastonbury 2015 festival. He was brought out as a "surprise guest" during Patti Smith's set. They had a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday and the Dalai Lama said a few words. He was clearly touched. I love his expression (2:27) when he blows out the candles. A very good use of 8 minutes of your day.
As a follow up to the Pope's recent encyclical on global warming (see Laudato Si), I post the image above. A group of Catholic and Buddhist leaders met at the Vatican on June 24. Go here for more information about the meeting and to view a short video clip of the Pope's words to the group. Pope Francis, smiling beatifically, is shown to the right. To his immediate left, looking on from the background in brown okesa is Hozan Alan Senauke (see Bodhisattva's Embrace and In the Herbarium). The plot continues to thicken. [NOTE: Image from the RomeReports.com video].
For all of you who have been patiently waiting, the Vietnamese translation of Systematics, Ecology, and Management of Rattans in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam: The Biological Bases of Sustainable Use (see Finally, It's A Book) is now available and can be downloaded here. [NOTE: Thanks to Nguyan Quoc Dung, Le Viet Tam, and the WWF Greater Mekong Program for making this happen].
Still life of the tools and nails and sheet metal and boards needed to make a plant drier at the Htamanthi Forward Station (see Sorting Specimens). [NOTE: My sketch of what the finished product should look like is on the paper to the right of the box of nails].
When you are here (orange square shown in image above), and you stop for lunch, and, while you are munching on your greasy curry and peanuts, you pause and look up–this is what you see:
Beautiful piece of forest. Well worth the walk. See Nam Sabi VMA and Running The Baseline for more information about this; thanks to U Myint Thein and Daw Myint Myint Oo for bringing me here. [NOTE: As a contrast, I would be remiss to not link to The Importance of Looking Down].
This guy (Phelsuma grandis Gray) was carefully watching us as we had lunch at the Oronjia station (see More Oronjia) in northern Madagascar. Was hard to miss him. Giant Day geckos are not only brightly colored, they are also quite large. This one was about 10 inches long. [NOTE: They are reported to feed mainly on arthropods (e.g. crabs, insects, spiders, and scorpions), and none of us were eating these, so I can only guess that he (broad head, bright colors) was curious–not hungry].
Pope Francis released his papal encyclical on climate change today. "Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods," he wrote. "It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day." Developed, industrialized countries, i.e. us, are mostly responsible, he said, and they are obligated to help poorer nations confront the crisis.
There are about 1.25 billion Catholics in the world. Can't wait to see what happens next. Go here for more about this historic proclamation. [NOTE: The climate change plot thickens].
Myozan Dennis Keegan (See Myozan) explains the characters on the beautiful scroll that the Empty Hand Zen Center received from Shodo Harada Roshi (原田 正道 Harada Shōdō?, c. 1940) in memory of Jion Susan Postal (see Happy Birthday, Susan). The calligraphy says "empty hand temple". Lovely, lovely gift (thx, Jon and Jeff and Harada Roshi).