Alan Watts in Animated Clips

allan watts

Alan Watts, the author of the 1957 classic, The Way of Zen, helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States.In the animated  clips below, which I found on  Open Culture, Watts illustrates some Japanese Buddhist concepts and in "The Story of the  Chinese Farmer, discusses the "unity and interconnectedness of all things." … [Read more...]

Status of Jerusalem for Passports

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Can an American citizen list Israel as their  place of birth, instead  of  Jerusalem? That's what the  Supreme Court is going to decide next year. A 12 year old  boy sued the US  government to allow the designation on his passport.It's a big  deal. The Washington Post  calls it a tinderbox. "That's  because the issue of sovereignty over this ancient city is a very delicate matter."NPR notes that "Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal capital and has controlled the city in its entirety si … [Read more...]

The Story of Human Rights

human rights

Studying human rights?  Here's a touching, engaging, and excellent  primer illustrating what they are and why they are so important from United  for Human Rights.  Thanks to Face to Faith for the link. … [Read more...]

Learning Human Rights with Face to Faith


Do your students know what human rights are?  Are they familiar with current cases in which those rights are threatened?Face to Faith, an organization started by Prime Minister Tony Blair to bring students of different faiths and cultures together, is partnering with  in December to help "educate and encourage advocacy on the rights of religious and belief minority groups."Part of that education includes video-conferences and blogging, where students in different parts of th … [Read more...]

Guardians of Shinto Shrines


An angry dog? No! It's a Shinto guardian in Tokyo. It's called a Komainu or lion dog.  Paris of them are found at the entrance of most Japanese Shinto shrines and temples.According to the Encyclopedia of Shinto, the lions are usually made of stone and a male is often paired with a  female. One has an open mouth while the other has a closed mouth which, the Encyclopedia of Shinto notes, represents"the so-called un-posture symbolizing the "alpha" and "omega" of the Sanskrit alphabet."You c … [Read more...]

School System Strikes Religious Holidays


Wow! Muslims asked the Montgomery County School Board in Maryland to add the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha as a holiday.Instead of adding the holiday, because it did not meet certain guidelines for adding holidays, the board decided to scrub the Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter. Students will still get time off, but now Christmas will be called winter break and Easter will be called spring break.The decision angered both Muslims and Christians. As this story in the Washington P … [Read more...]

The Seven Wonders of Buddhism

seven wonders

Learn the history and development of Buddhism  from some of its greatest sites.British historian Bettany Hughes visits seven amazing sites in this 2011 BBC documentary to try to better understand Buddhism.   She starts at the Mahabodhi Temple in India where the Buddha first attained enlightenment and finishes in Los Angles at the Hsi Lai Temple. … [Read more...]