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Buddhist Monk Found after Going Missing in Arizona during Record-Breaking Heat

Garchen Buddhist Institute. From

A Tibetan Buddhist monk who was reported missing over the weekend in Chino Valley, Arizona, was found on Sunday afternoon by local officials some 32 kilometers from his secluded Buddhist temple, safe but suffering from dehydration, according to local media reports.

The monk, whose name was not given, was from Garchen Buddhist Institute, affiliated with the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He went missing after heading out on a long walk at around 6 p.m. on the evening of 15 July. He was found the following afternoon by local officials.

In a statement, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) said: “He lives at the temple with his family and had left behind his cellphone and all other possessions, except the clothes he was wearing. The monk’s wife called in an overdue person’s report Sunday morning.” The statement further noted: “Deputies were told that the monk was familiar with the vicinity around the temple and that he often hikes in the area. YCSO Forest Patrol and Deputies began searching the area on foot after the report was made, and a drone operator was called to do an aerial search.” (Facebook)

When the monk’s wife arrived to translate for him, she told officials: “He just needed to take a very long walk to clear his head.” (KTAR News)


Temperatures in the hilly desert terrain at the time were reported to be around 40º Celsius, prompting heat warnings across the region. Phoenix, Arizona, broke records this week for the most consecutive days over 43º Celsius. The heatwave affecting the area is one of several reported around the world this month.

In Greece, wildfires have burned an estimated 3,000 hectares this summer. Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a statement: “We’ve had fires, we have them now and we’ll have them in the future, and this is one of the consequences of the climate crisis that we are living with ever greater intensity.” (The New York Times)

Meanwhile, a remote town in northwestern China reported the highest temperature ever recorded in the country on Sunday of 52.2º Celsius, while temperatures in Beijing reached over 40º Celsius several times this summer.

The World Meteorological Organization’s director of climate services, Christopher Hewitt, called the string of extreme events “uncharted territory” and “worrying news for the planet.” (Scientific American)

Monks walking near the institute. From

People in Arizona who choose to spend time outside in the heatwave have been urged to take safety measures if they do so. Tips include: hiking in the early mornings and evenings when temperatures are lower and shade is more easily found; bringing proper clothing and sufficient water for hydration; hiking with others; carrying a cellphone to call for help if needed; and following known routes.

Garchen Buddhist Institute was founded by His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche some 17 kilometers east of the small town of Chino Valley. Situated at 1,435 meters above sea level, it remains somewhat cooler than lower-lying areas to the south, although it is still dangerously hot on many summer days. The institute is surrounded by a natural wilderness area and national forest lands, and produces its own power using solar panels and uses water from its own well system.

There was no mention of the incident of the missing monk on the Garchen Buddhist Institute website or Facebook account at the time of writing. The institute schedule is packed with in-person and online practices lasting well into the fall season.

His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche. From

See more

Garchen Buddhist Institute
Garchen Buddhist Institute (Instagram)
Garchen Institute (Facebook)
In Better News From This Weekend: Two Missing People In Separate Incidents Found Safe And Sound (Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Facebook)
Buddhist monk’s head-clearing walk in Arizona becomes overnight trek (KTAR News)
Missing Buddhist monk in Arizona found more than 20 miles away after going on a ‘long walk’ (AZ Central)
Phoenix Roasts in Record-Breaking 110-Plus-Degree Heat, with No End in Sight (Scientific American)
Heat Waves Grip 3 Continents as Climate Change Warms Earth (The New York Times)

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