Animated Eastern Philosophy: Alain de Botton


These animated videos about the Buddha, Zen Buddhism and Taoism, "distill Eastern thought into fun, bite-sized nuggets," according to this review on Open Culture.They are part of de Botton's School of Life curriculum.  … [Read more...]

Buddhist Art from Myanmar: New Exhibit


The Asia Society in New York City will premiere a major new exhibit of Buddhist art from Myanmar in early February.According to the press release, you will see about 70 works of art from the 5th through the 20th centuries. The exhibit will be divided into three areas which include "images of the Buddha, lives of the Buddha, and devotion and ritual."Some of the themes in the exhibit will include "state support of Buddhism, the effects of trade and international relations, and the role of … [Read more...]

Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler: New PBS Series


Author Bruce Feiler (Walking the Bible) launches a new series with PBS this month called Sacred Journeys.Over six episodes, Feiler travels with contemporary pilgrims to important sacred sites like Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Lourdres in France, and Shikoku in Japan. He also visits the great Hindu festival Kumbh Mela in India and the the festival of Osun-Osgobo, which takes place every year in Osogbo, Nigeria.The series PBS site also includes educational resources with short clips about each … [Read more...]

US, Ukraine Students at Global Summit on Human Rights

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Today, my students in the United States discussed human rights and religious freedom during a video conference with students at a school in Ukraine.Our featured speaker,  a human rights officer with the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC, spoke to us from New York. Her family fled Iran during the 1979 revolution. She discussed the history of Baha'i persecution and explained her efforts on behalf of that community.Face to Faith, an organization developed by Prime Minist … [Read more...]

Picturing the Virgin Mary in Art: New Exhibit


Discover the many faces of  the Virgin Mary at this terrific new exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. It opened this week and continues until May, 2015.Called "Picturing Mary," the exhibit is divided into six sections. It "presents images of Mary as Madonna and child, woman and mother, mother of the crucified, Mary as idea, as a singular life, and Mary in the life of believers."Some of the artists include Fr Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, and Miche … [Read more...]

Jihad: Holy War or Personal Struggle?

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Does the Islamic term "jihad" mean "personal struggle" or does it, as many Americans believe, mean "holy war?" In this excellent clip and story from the New York Times, Ahmed Rehab, a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, promotes a non-violent definition of the term, calling it simply a "personal struggle."  He and the Council started an ad campaign promoting that view. For example, posters on buses show young Muslims pursing simple jihads like exercise.That campaign … [Read more...]

Big Buddha Gets Makeover

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Meet the Mengshan Mountain Giant Buddha. He's the second largest stone carved Buddha in the world and probably the oldest in China, dating back almost 1500 years.He is wearing the gold robe to protect his crumbling body. According to the Mail Online, the robe  is "golden in colour to emulate the gowns worn by Buddhists in monasteries."Mining and weather have taken its toll on the Buddha. But China's Ministry of Land Resources has come to the rescue with millions of dollars to restore the … [Read more...]