Taoism as a Parable: Alan Watts


What is Taoism?Alan Watts, who helped popularize Buddhism in America and wrote many books including "The Way of Zen" offers an answer with a parable in this short two minute clip.Show your students the clip and then ask them how the parable defines Taoism. … [Read more...]

A Journey to the Source of the Ganga: Documentary


Here is William Dalrymple's 1998 award winning documentary about his journey to the source of the Ganges River called "Shiva's Matted Locks."Dalrymple is the author of many books and travel articles about India and Indian history including "The Last Mughal and "White Mughal." His book, Nine Lives, includes portraits of fascinating individuals including a Jain nun and a Sufi mystic.In a short review of the series in 2002, the Guardian News noted that "the series showcases India's … [Read more...]

Who are the Rohingya and Why are They Persecuted


Who are the Rohingya? Why are they persecuted? And who is persecuting them?Who are the Rhoingya?They are a Muslim minority who live mostly in the state of Arakan in Myanmar (Burma). They number about 800,ooo and their ancestors have lived in Burma for centuries, first setttling there in the 1400's. In 1785, Buddhist Burmese conquered Arakan and drove out most of the Rohingya males. In 1826, the British took control of Arakan and encouraged Bengal farmers to migrate to … [Read more...]

Reza Aslan on Religous Violence: The Daily Show


Here, on Jon Stewart's Daily Show, Reza Aslan, author of No God but God, and The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, adresses the issue of violence in Islam and other religions with some interesting observations.Aslan notes that religion is as much about who each of us are as people as it is about what we believe or what rituals we practice. He argues that it's an identity.In addition, he notes that religious scriptures are malleable and can mean anything we want them to mean. For … [Read more...]

America’s First Mosque


Where was America's first mosque built? Chicago, New York? No, North Dakota! KFYR-TV explains.When migrants from Europe, Germany, Lebanon and Syria settled in North Dakota during the turn of the last century, they "worked together to construct churches, synagogues, temples and the first mosque in America."The original mosque was torn down in the 1970's but according to North Dakota State University sociology professor Bill Sherman, the original mosque "was just a plain building, half … [Read more...]

How do Buddhists, Mormons & Sikhs Pray?


For the National Day of Prayer tomorrow, the Washington Post published an interesting story about how people in differnt religions pray. Below are very short clips showing how Buddhists, Mormons and Sikhs pray.These are great for a religions class! … [Read more...]

Mongolian Masks & Buddhist Rituals

mongolian mask

Mongolian masks are used in a Buddhist ritual called Tsam. In Mongolia, where the ritual was introduced in the 18th century, the tsam signifies a dance.According to the Tibetan Mongolian Museum Society, "the word 'Tsam' means a dance of the Buddha (deva) and elements of this dance show as if protectors and deities have physically descended on the Jambudtiva (Southern continent)."The Asia Society says the dances are held around the New Year with the purpose of destroying the evil that had … [Read more...]