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Where Buddhism's Eightfold Path Can Be Followed With a Six-Figure Salary


Posted on 2016/12/22 20:04:38 ( 589 reads )

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PATHUM THANI, THAILAND, December 20, 2016 (New York Times): HPI Note: This article worth reading for the shear scale and showmanship of the temple's gatherings as shown in the article's opening photograph.

It is a temple for a changing Thailand: clean, unadorned, high-tech and unashamed of praying for wealth. "Sit here and get rich," read small medallions embedded in the floor under each white plastic chair in a vast, open-sided meditation center. In his sermons, the temple's charismatic 72-year-old leader, Phra Dhammachayo, often exhorts his adherents, "Be rich, be rich, be rich!"

With its endorsement of worldly comforts and its no-nonsense approach to ritual, the temple, known as Wat Dhammakaya and the largest in Thailand, has attracted the allegiance of growing numbers of followers in a movement whose popularity has unsettled the government and the Buddhist hierarchy. The authorities have long tried to clip its wings, and for the past month the police have been threatening to arrest Phra Dhammachayo despite a warning by the temple that it would mobilize a human shield of chanting monks to protect him.

The charge against him is embezzlement, the latest of many accusations that stretch decades, while the top body of Buddhism has accused him of heresy. Last week, it stripped him of his title, though that does not seem to have threatened his status on the grounds of Wat Dhammakaya. The temple is the spiritual embodiment of the social and economic dislocations that have shaken Thailand. The economic boom of the 1980s created a well-to-do middle class for whom money-making rivaled Buddhist tradition as a core value. They needed something that brought the two together.

Much more at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/22 20:04:18 ( 365 reads )

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Bhakti is nothing but the devotion we show to the divinity that resides within us. Once we regard the divinity within us with devotional fervor, we are bound to develop the same affection towards everything outside, for the same divine truth runs through all things.
-- M.S. Subbulakshmi (1916-2004), renowned Carnatic singer



Cambodian Scholar Becomes Country's First Sanskritist


Posted on 2016/12/19 19:42:14 ( 753 reads )

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CAMBODIA, December 20, 2016 (by Hanna Hawkins, Cambodia Daily): Chhom Kunthea became Cambodia's first Sanskritist on Friday after receiving a doctorate for her research on the impact the ancient Indian language- on the Khmer language. It is widely accepted that the country's primary language could not have developed effectively without interacting with Sanskrit, which is believed to have arrived on Cambodia's shores with Indian merchants sometime around year one on the Gregorian calendar. The language was used for written records during the Khmer Empire for more than 1,000 years, researchers believe.

Lois de Menil, the former chair of the Center for Khmer Studies, which provided financial support for Ms. Kunthea's studies, said knowledge of Sanskrit was crucial to learning more about Cambodia's distant past. "A major portion of Cambodia's ancient history, as recorded on stone inscriptions and in documents, is in Sanskrit because of the enormous influence of Indian culture on Khmer civilization in past centuries," she said in an email. At the time Ms. Kunthea began her studies, Sanskrit was not taught at any Cambodian universities, she noted, meaning: "No Cambodian students could therefore access this central component of Cambodia's historical heritage."



First time, Church says: Dalit Christians Face Untouchability


Posted on 2016/12/19 19:42:04 ( 520 reads )

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INDIA, December 20, 2016 (by Liz Mathews, India Express News): For the first time in its history, the Indian Catholic Church has officially accepted that Dalit Christians face untouchability and discrimination, and that "their participation in the level of leadership... at the higher levels is almost nil." These admissions are contained in a policy document prepared and released Monday by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), the apex decision-making body of the community, which seeks to abolish all forms of exclusion of the socially backward section and empower them. The 44-page document, titled "Policy of Dalit Empowerment in the Catholic Church in India," asks the 171 dioceses to submit long and short-term plans within a year to end all kinds of discrimination against Dalit Christians. "If there are dual practices based on caste discrimination, such practices should be stopped forthwith. In case of failure to do so, stringent measures should be taken by the Church authority concerned," says the document.

Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, president, CBCI, told The Indian Express: "It's a revolutionary step. We are admitting that it's a grave social sin, an issue and a problem. It's a sin, if you are going by the Christian spirit. This is a step to end the practice of discrimination within the church. It's a message as well as an introspection."



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/19 19:41:54 ( 436 reads )

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Awareness is ever there. It need not be realized. Open the shutter of the mind, and it will be flooded with light.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897–1981), Hindu sage



Hinduism Today's January/February/March 2017 Now On-Line


Posted on 2016/12/18 19:50:43 ( 589 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, December 18, 2016: Hinduism Today's January/February/March 2017 issue has gone to press and is now available online free of charge at source above. You can also download our free Hinduism Today app and get the full magazine on your mobile device at bit.ly/HT-APP.

Our feature story by Rajiv Malik this issue takes you to the holy city of Mathura, where you can walk in history's footsteps, visit the temples you have heard about and witness spectacular Holi celebrations, with their wild colors and festive observances. This is a deeper look into the region than you may have ever seen, thanks to Arun Mishra's amazing photography.

Our 16-page Insight section is a kid-friendly spiritual catechism, taken from Himalayan Academy's latest book: "The Path to Siva, A Catechism for Youth." This fully illustrated catechism presents basic questions about the Saivite Hindu path, and answers them in language meant for 12 to 15-year olds. It is a great resource for parents seeking to pass tradition on to the next generation.

We cover the environment from the Hindu perspective in Mat McDermott's assessment of the impact of the meat industry on Earth's climate. You will be informed and surprised at the discoveries he shares.

Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, talks about what makes us happy. Not just the ephemeral happiness of a sale at the mall, but a deeper bliss that lasts a lifetime and endures through life's challenging moments. Enjoy his practical wisdom and tools for keeping consciousness in the higher chakras.

Culture is big in this issue. Two sisters share their love of dance, the tribe that tattoos its entire body with the name of Lord Rama is visited, a teenage girl writes about her guru's visit to London, and journalist Choodie Shivaram interviews families whose sons and daughters have renounced the world, to ascertain reactions to this age-old life choice that is seldom seen in the West but is happens in the East.

Our Hindu of the Year is honored, too. It is Morari Bapu, one of India's greatest practioners of Ram Katha. He has conducted not just a few, but over 750 song and storytelling events to uplift devotees around the globe. As if that were impressive, consider that these events last all day and into the night, for nine days each! Hinduism needs ten thousand more like Pujya Morari Bapu.

There's still more inside the magazine, including our fun Quotes & Quips with cartoon, an excerpt from recently translated Agama verses, the California textbook issue updated, and one woman's editorial on how we can all be better ambassadors for our faith. Check it out!



UK Yogis Object to Attempt to Regulate Yoga


Posted on 2016/12/18 19:50:32 ( 517 reads )

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UNITED KINGDOM, December 17, 2016 (by Genevieve Roberts, iNEWS): A controversy is raging in the world of yoga - and many people are getting their yoga pants in a twist over it. The British Wheel of Yoga, appointed by Sports England as the governing group for mind-body workouts, is setting out to offer a minimum benchmark of competence and knowledge for yoga teachers. This won't be compulsory, but Paul Fox, Chairman of the BWY, says he hopes this will "help to protect the public from injury in yoga classes." And it has angered many yogis, upset at the idea of benchmarking the ancient spiritual practice. They argue that this makes yoga teaching comparative to other sports, rather than staying true to its roots. Fox has previously said that if he had the hypothetical power to go into training institutions across the country (something he's not seeking) he would most probably close down 75 per cent of them.

Can you benchmark spirituality? Satish Sharma, General Secretary of the National Council of Hindu Temple wrote to Skills Active, saying: "Unless you can first establish that yoga and the religion of my ancestors are separate, you cannot legally proceed." There are many strands of yoga and different styles of practice, some focusing more on the physical, others that see chanting, meditation and breathing exercises as being equally important. In the West, overall, we place more emphasis on the physical than in India, the birthplace of the tradition. As yoga has boomed in popularity, so has the industry, currently estimated to be worth a billion US dollars a year according to business analysts from Ibis, around it. And that has led to both dubious and brilliant training. Reverend Padma Devi Sumananda says: "I do believe that harmful, discreditable, unqualified yoga teaching schools should be prevented. And to my knowledge, they are prevented by consumer awareness -- anyone taking a teacher training course should always ask, 'Is it accredited and by whom'?" Ultimately, while spirituality cannot be assessed, I do think that the physical side of yoga teacher training should be of the highest standard possible to protect people in class.

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/lifesty ... t-benchmark-spirituality/




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/18 19:50:22 ( 327 reads )

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Everyone wishes to be loved. Only a blessed few wish to love.
-- Dada Vaswani, leader of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission



New Report Shows Disparities in Education Levels of Religious Groups


Posted on 2016/12/17 14:49:41 ( 524 reads )

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WASHINGTON, December 17, 2016 (by Carol Zimmerman, CNS): A new study showing the disparity of education levels among religious groups ranks Jews as the faith group with the most formal education and Muslims and Hindus with the least years of formal schooling. Christians are the second-highest educated religious group in the world, followed by the religiously unaffiliated and Buddhists, according to the global demographic study by the Pew Research Center, released Dec. 13.

The report also showed differences in educational levels among religious groups in the same region. In sub-Saharan Africa, Christians tend to have higher average levels of education than Muslims -- in part because of historical factors that include the work of missionaries. The study's findings do not match the U.S. picture where Muslims and Hindus are often better educated than the Christian majority. Ninety-six percent of Hindus and 54 percent of Muslims in the U.S. have college degrees, compared to 36 percent of Christians. The gaps in education in religious groups around the world are partly the result of where these groups live. For example, the majority of the world's Jews live in the United States and Israel -- economically developed countries with high levels of education -- while 98 percent of Hindu adults live in developing countries of India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

On the good news front, the report showed that many of the disparities in educational levels seem to be decreasing. Muslims and Hindus, the religions with the lowest levels of education, have made the biggest educational gains in recent generations. One takeaway from the study is that even with recent gains by young adults, education around the world lags for many people. The global norm is barely more than a primary education -- an average of about eight years of formal schooling for men and seven years for women. At the high end of the spectrum, 14 percent of adults ages 25 and older have a university degree or other kind of higher education, such as advanced vocational training. An even larger percentage -- 19 percent of adults worldwide, or more than 680 million people -- have no formal schooling at all.



BBC Video Recounts the 1995 Ganesha Milk Miracle


Posted on 2016/12/17 14:49:31 ( 628 reads )

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INDIA, December 17, 2016 (BBC): In the mid-1990s, millions of Hindus around the world were gripped by reports in New Delhi of sacred statues "drinking" milk. In the early morning of September 21, 1995, rumors of the elephant-headed deity Ganesha sipping milk from a spoon spread across the country. Offering food and drink like milk to the gods is an integral part of Hindu rituals.

Huge crowds of people queued at temples to try to catch a glimpse of what many believed was a miracle. Around the world, news quickly spread to other Hindu communities where the same phenomenon was witnessed. Radha Krishna Bharadwaj was a Hindu priest at the Shree Durga Vishnu temple in New Delhi when the rumors first emerged. He spoke to Witness about the day news of the "miracle" brought India to a standstill.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/17 14:49:21 ( 385 reads )

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During the Kali Yuga, man, being completely dependent on food to live life, cannot altogether shake off the idea that he is the body. But truly he is Brahman.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836–1886), Indian mystic



Rama in the Museum and in Real Life


Posted on 2016/12/16 20:50:14 ( 518 reads )

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, December 13, 2016 (Creative India Mag, by Vamsee Juluri): Hanuman, the "monkey grammarian" of Octavio Paz's book by the same name, stands beautifully in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. His eyes look sparkling and alive, his face reveals the enunciation of a word, wonderful and pleasing, no doubt. His body is alert and finger raised. Hanuman is making a point, obviously, and he looks delighted in the act of speaking (to his beloved Ramayya and Sitamma, possibly). We can only wonder at the beauty of the thoughts that must be in his mind.

When I picture Hanuman, it is often in depictions of his physical prowess and accomplishment, in flight usually, with the mountain on his palm. The Hanuman in this particular depiction (above), embodiment of the perfect word, kind, impeccable, the friend who appears and wins Rama over with the perfection of his speech, is how I will now think of him and adore when I write and speak. The speaking Hanuman, and many other treasures on display at the exhibit; painting scrolls with vivid Jatayus, elegantly beautiful and divine Sitas, towering stone Ramas and Hanumans, and numerous pop culture nods as well. Projectors play loops of Ramayanas, as well as Southeast Asian dance drama. A good museum experience.

It is art, sure, but is it just art? Just who is speaking for this living tradition here? What is a living tradition? For one thing, it is right there all around the Asian Art Museum too. Drive a few miles South or East from there, in the Bay Area, and you have one of the largest clusters of Hindu temples in North America, and one of the largest and most eclectic collections of Hindu Americans living here as well. Does the museum acknowledge the existence of this world?

Much more of this interesting article at "source" abovein which the author analyzes and compares the sterile analytical approach of the museum setting to the rich experience of the ordinary Hindu with his Gods.



Seven Pooja Rooms Dedicated to Seven Different Gods


Posted on 2016/12/16 20:50:02 ( 481 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 11, 2016 (Homify by Ritika Tiwari): In Hinduism, each day of the week is dedicated to a God or Goddess. People fast on particular days in order to please the Lords. In this ideabook we present 7 designs of Pooja rooms to appease the Gods this week. Sunday is dedicated to Sun God. Surya Dev is worshiped on Sundays and those who worship the Lord with dedication receive good fortune. The Good of light is known to shun away all the darkness around you. This is the reason why people prefer a sun-facing house. Those who keep the fast of Sunday wear red and offer red flowers to Surya Dev. As red is the color of Lord Surya, it is known for spreading warmth all around.

More at "source" above, including photos in this magazine of home design and decoration.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/12/16 20:49:52 ( 418 reads )

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The outer worship is approaching God properly, presenting ourselves acceptably. It is to offer our love, our adoration and then to speak out our prayer, our petition. The inner worship is to enjoy God's presence and not rush away, to stay, to sit, to meditate awhile and bask in the shakti, endeavoring to realize the Self within.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today



Profile of Kauai's Hindu Monastery


Posted on 2016/12/11 13:28:06 ( 922 reads )

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KAUAI, HAWAII, December 7, 2016 (Flux Hawaii by Jon Letman): The monks of Kauai's Hindu Monastery [home of Hinduism Today and HPI] live a quiet life of prayer, meditation, and asceticism in pursuit of divine consciousness, begins this article that recently appeared in Flux Hawaii as part of their "Good Life" series. In 1969, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami set foot on the Garden Isle of Kaua'i. Widely respected in the Hindu world, Subramuniyaswami trained in Sri Lanka under Jnanaguru Yogaswami, a famed mystic. But it was the lush forests of Kaua'i that so captivated Subramuniyaswami, who would, one year later, found Kauai Aadheenam, a 382-acre Hindu monastery on the banks of the Wailua River.

This monastery, which began as a cloistered retreat, has become well-known internationally over the last 15 years. (Despite its remote location, the monks maintain a popular quarterly print magazine, Hinduism Today, which was founded in 1979 by Subramuniyaswami and reaches Hindus around the globe with its online version.) Here, beneath the shadow of Mount Wai'ale'ale, 21 monks from six nations--India, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, France, and the United States--lead a spartan but fulfilled life, adhering closely to the Tamil culture, traditions, and theology of South India and Sri Lanka, and remaining true to the ideals of simplicity, austerity, and goodness, as defined by Subramuniyaswami

"Perfection isn't measured by intellect or emotion," says Paramacharya Sadasivanatha Palaniswami, a monk with a long gray beard, whose saffron-colored robes indicate his elder rank. "The perfection is our soul." A monk's purpose, Palaniswami says, is to find perfection and to learn to abide there constantly. "Only then can you really share that with others," he says.

For the full article as well as photos, see "source" above.

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