Home » Buddhism
Category Archives: Buddhism
According to the management professors, the seemingly baffling occurrence boils down to a simple business principle: knowing when to replicate best practices, versus when to adapt them to different cultures and situations. They refer to this idea as Buddhism vs. Catholicism. To be clear, Sutton and Rao’s argument is not a spiritual one. They simply call upon the two religions to illustrate a cultural dichotomy.
— Business Insider
“Religion and consumerism co-exist happily”: Ambi Parameswaran
Are Muslims more open-minded shoppers? How did Akshaya Trithiya become such a big deal? Why has the bindi disappeared from advertisements? These are some of the questions printed on the jacket of Ambi Parameswaran’s latest book ‘For God’s Sake’. The author, who works as advisor at Draftfcb Ulka Advertising, has written several books on brand building, consumer behaviour and strategic brand management in the past. But this one, he says, is the lightest of them all. And we’re inclined to agree; the language is chatty and the pages are full of anecdotes, real brand stories and examples.
Muslims in Liberal Democracies
Harvard professor and Islam expert Jocelyne Cesari looks into the mechanisms of the West’s fear of Islam, and ponders on how the dominant narrative that tends to present Islam as an alien religion can be countered. The integration of Muslim immigrants has been on the political agenda of European democracies for several decades. However, only in the last ten years has it specifically evolved into a question of civic integration closely related to religious identity. In the 1960s and 1970s, the socio-economic integration of immigrants with a Muslim background was the primary focus of academic literature, but with the emergence of the second and third generations, the interest has shifted to political mobilization. Beginning with the Rushdie affair in the United Kingdom and the hijab affair in France from 1989 to present, the spotlight has moved to the legitimacy of Islamic signs in public space, such as dress code, minarets, and halal foods.
— Eutopia Institute
Water Seeks Its Own Level
Water seeks its own level simply means quality people of integrity find other quality people of integrity and vice versa. It also means high quality finds high quality and low quality finds low quality. This is true in business and in life. It is a scientific fact: water does indeed reach its own level. It’s also a scientific fact that our bodies are made of 90 percent water. And the Bible says the same thing but like this:“Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. Genesis 1:9
— The Washington Informer
Being muslim in UP: Narrow lanes, effervescence and a girlfriend
The best-kept secret in the Alam family is Tanzeer has a girlfriend. He doesn’t mention it at home due to circumspection from being the youngest in a family of six. The oldest brother, 25, wants to marry but says “Pehle behno se nipat jayen (let me marry off the sisters first)”. Tanzeer Alam, officially 18 but less certain of his age otherwise, smiles with the rest of the family when his oldest sibling mentions the sisters. It is not clear if he shares this sense of responsibility.
— Business Standard
Atheist, Humanist, Secular: Why Fight Over Labels?
No matter how you look at it, the nontheist movement in the U.S. is experiencing momentous growth. According to a Harris poll, those who profess no belief in a god is at the highest percentage ever recorded. Atheism as an identity is also becoming more mainstream and even politically acceptable, as seen by the fact that most Americans would now vote for an atheist running for president (something that would not have been possible even a few years ago).
— Huffington Post
For more than three decades Bengtson had strayed far from his Christian upbringing in rural central California, where his father was pastor of a small Evangelical Covenant Church. A sociology professor at the University of Southern California and noted scholar on the dynamics of aging, Bengtson had compartmentalized his faith from his academic work until he began delving into how and why religion is passed down from one generation to the next.
— Desert News
Why non-believers need rituals too
One of the problems I have with the New Atheism is that it fixates on ethics, ignoring aesthetics at its peril. It tends also towards atomisation, relying on abstracts such as “civic law” to conjure a collective experience. But I love ritual, because it is through ritual that we remake and strengthen our social bonds. As I write, down the road there is a memorial being held for Lou Reed, hosted by the local Unitarian church. Most people there will have no belief in God but will feel glad to be part of a shared appreciation of a man whose god was rock’n’roll.
— The Guardian
Buddhism and biology: a not-so-odd couple
Buddhism’s appeal in the West has thus far mostly involved its promise of increased inner serenity, derived primarily from mindful meditation, to which can be added a developing strain of “socially engaged Buddhism,” as reflected in the political activism of the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma/Myanmar, and the beloved Vietnamese scholar/monk Thich Nhat Hanh, along with numerous Western activists such as Joanna Macy and the late Robert Aitken. It turns out that in addition, Buddhism and biology have much to say to each other. In part, this might be because Buddhism can be considered as much a philosophy and intellectual perspective as a traditional religion. That is certainly the nature of my own Buddhist “practice,” which has little patience for those aspects of Buddhism that resemble standard religions: belief in various supernatural deities, worship of relics or statues, taking fairy tales as literal truth. But wipe away the mystical nonsense and abracadabra, and we find that many of the foundational ideas of Buddhism converge with newly revealed, empirically-based insights of biology, especially the disciplines of ecology, evolution, genetics, and development.
— OUP Blog
Religious without religion
To be a religious believer we have to follow certain strict rules which cannot be violated. For instance as Muslims we believe that Allah is the only God and the Prophet Muhammad is His messenger; we must regularly observe the five daily prayers (shalat), pay zakat (alms), fast (saum) during the month of Ramadhan, and perform the haj (pilgrimage) at least once in a lifetime — all these are the five pillars of Islam. As Muslims we cannot evade those five pillars except for some specific exceptions.
— The Jakarta Post
Bruce Langtry on “What is Philosophy of Religion?”
Philosophical discussions of ‘bare’ theism (the proposition that God exists) which completely ignore theistic religion are rarer than one might at first think. For example, although there is little discussion of any theistic religions in Graham Oppy’s Arguing about Gods, Oppy says that the book is specifically about ‘the kinds of arguments that contemporary Christian philosophers of religion typically give when they give arguments on behalf of the claim that the orthodoxly conceived monotheistic god in which they happen to believe exists.’ (Graham Oppy, Arguing about Gods, Cambridge University Press 2006, p.xv). Similarly, John Mackie, in his 1955 article on the problem of evil, makes it clear that his main concern is to argue that ‘religious beliefs are positively irrational, that the several parts of the essential theological doctrine are inconsistent with one another …’ (J.L. Mackie, ‘Evil and Omnipotence,’ Mind 64 (1955), p.200.)
— Philosophy of Religion
A guide to the gods and enlightened beings: Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s West Wing
Aside from the purely visual pleasures they provide, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian galleries constitute an invitation to learn about Hinduism and Buddhism, the predominant religions represented in the new displays. This admittedly incomplete guide is intended as a rudimentary introduction to some of the religious ideas and holy figures represented in the galleries and to encourage deeper looking, learning and appreciation.
Top 5 Atheist Books of 2013
2013 was a very good year for books and though narrowing them down to five is no easy task, it seemed only right to provide some must read material to start your new year off right.
— Digital Journal
‘Bid to Alienate Tribals from Hindu Religion’
Delivering the key-note address at the cultural meeting organised as part of the birth centenary of Balasaheb Deshpande, the founder of Akhila Bharatheeya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, Seema Surakha all-India joint organising secretary A Gopalakrishnan said here on Thursday that it was from the days of East India Company that the Western Christian missionaries had started the efforts to convert the tribals on a massive scale.
— The New Indian Express
Indian Muslims and Aam Aadmi Party
Now as we see the upsurge of the Aam Aadmi party, Muslim community leadership once again is lagging behind in connecting themselves with the masses through popular movement and failed to create an electoral arithmetic where a vote can be easily transferred to Muslim leaders based on the development issues and this movements can create a mass leaders those are acceptable in the majority community.
Reading ancient texts is an arduous task, no doubt. But if an opinion is to be let loose in a sea of chaos, more so if the objective is to influence public debate, that reading has to be done. Unfortunately, in the quest to reform archaic laws, notably Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that makes same-sex relations illegal, facts have been set aside. In their place, a generalised sense of a liberal ancient India has been carved out on one side and a selectively picked notion of ‘Indian culture’ on the other. As in most passionate debates, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
To the extent that sexual liberality was embedded into India’s laws, morality and society, the reading that our values instead of evolving have taken a U-turn is correct. This is best illustrated by the gentle indulgence of Vatsyayana towards lesbians and gays in Kama Sutra, approximately between 400 BCE and 200 CE. Three forms of what the law today terms as ‘unnatural sexual offences’ — sex between men, sex between women and oral sex — have been explored with compassion. You can read the full text in your own time, but here are select excerpts:
— First Post
Kishtwar violence: Hindus living in shadow of fear
The frightening memories of the atrocities committed by radical Islamists on the minority Hindu community on August 9 (Eid Day) in the sensitive Muslim-majority Kishtwar district of Jammu province are too fresh too be forgotten. The indifferent attitude of the Jammu & Kashmir Government and barbarities perpetrated by the protagonists of Kashmir’s separation from India and ardent believers in two-nation concept still lingers in the mind of several unprotected Hindus. The ‘communal assault’ on the Hindu minority community had resulted in three deaths and destruction of the Hindus’ properties on an unprecedented scale, besides causing migration of a few Hindu families to safer places.
— Niti Central
Pope Francis brings religion to the newsstand
To paraphrase Shakespeare’s musing on a name, “What’s in a cover?” In the past week, we’ve seen Pope Francis on the cover of Time as the magazine’s “2013 Person of the Year,” followed by The New Yorker’s whimsical cover of the pope as a snow angel. Now, most improbably, he’s on the cover of The Advocate, the magazine for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, that put the message “NO H8&‥8243; (No hate) on his cheek. What’s next? Sports illustrated? Jack and Jill?
— The Washington Post
New bill to act against those who insult Islam, monarchy
The Home Ministry is drafting a bill to replace current laws governing defamatory content as well as speech insulting Islam and the monarchy. Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the new laws would help curb the spread of lies, rumours, or speech that can affect public order, without restricting the freedoms afforded by the Internet.
— The New Straits Times
Buddhism and management? Gimme a break…
It had to happen and it has. After the Gita and management and lessons in leadership from Gandhi, Buddhism and management could not have been far off. Schumpeter reports that the Buddhist focus on “mindfulness” is gaining adherents in the management fraternity.
— The Big Picture
Israeli Woman Appeals Order to Circumcise Son
An Israeli woman appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday against a rabbinical ruling that ordered her to circumcise her one-year-old son, the Justice Ministry said, in the first case of its kind. There is no law in Israel making circumcision obligatory for Jews, but a rabbinical court that was presiding over the woman’s divorce case ruled last month that she must fulfil her husband’s wish in the matter. Circumcision is one of Judaism’s most fundamental decrees. It symbolizes the covenant between God and the Jewish people and nearly all Jews in Israel abide by it, performing the ritual when their son is eight days old.
— The Jewish Daily Forward
Christianity vs Islam: what future awaits Europe?
The standoff between Christianity and Islam in European countries is becoming more and more dangerous each year. According to some experts, today the European community is facing a harsh choice: if the islamization of Europe continues, one might soon have to say good-bye to Christianity in the countries of the Old World.
— The Voice of Russia
Science vs religion in the Princeton Guide to Evolution
The Princeton Guide to Evolution is a collection of 107 articles on various aspect of evolution. The editors felt they should address the obvious conflict between evolution/science and religion. There are at least five different approaches they could have taken.
RIL [Reliance Industries Ltd] move to exit the non-vegetarian food business is in deference to the wishes of a large section of consumers, shareholders and investors who had requested Mukesh Ambani to get out of the meat segment as it hurt their religious sentiments. The non-vegetarian foods business, said to be growing at a CAGR of 25-30%, is estimated to comprise 10% of the company’s total retail business and is also a profit-making venture. — SOURCE: The Economic Times
Saudi political activist sentenced to 300 lashes, 4 years in prison, rights group says
A political and human rights activist in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 300 lashes and four years in prison for defying the king and calling for democracy, a rights group said Sunday. Omar al-Saeed, a member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), was sentenced in the city of Buraidah on Dec. 12 and is the fourth of his group to be imprisoned this year. — SOURCE: NBC News
Is it Hindu to be homophobic?
The problem is not so much with Hinduism as it is with the popular understanding of religion. Religion is seen as anti-sex. Sex is seen as a diversion and distraction from the spiritual path. The Bible tells tales of men like Samson losing divine power when they fall for the sensual charms of women like Delilah. Buddhism visualizes Gautama overpowering the daughters of Mara, demon of desire, in his quest for enlightenment. Puranas inform us of how Shiva opens his third eye to set aflame Kama, god of sensuality. Celibacy has traditionally been associated with holiness. Sex is permitted only within the confines of marriage. Sex for pleasure is seen as dirty, anti-social, even evil. — SOURCE: The Times of India
A more modern form of Zen Buddhism
If I were to describe a more modern form of Zen Buddhism that, nevertheless, remained faithful, above all, to Buddhism it would begin by teaching that Buddhism teaches the absolute is unconditioned whereas the transitory part of life — the life we are involved with — is always conditioned. — SOURCE: The Zennist
Another Voice — Religionless Christianity
That separation of worlds did not always exist. Whether you regard the primordial human couple presented in Genesis as mythical, as true historical persons, or something in between, imagine: Adam and Eve living in the Garden, innocents in a pristine world. God is with them. And, who knows? Perhaps they play together. But there are no sacraments or prayers. Nothing is sacred, since the profane does not exist. Though Adam and Eve bear the mysterious imprint of God’s image, they are not “religious.” Not yet. — SOURCE: The Ukiah Daily Journal
The real New Atheism: Rejecting religion for a just world
The ever-polemical atheist author Christopher Hitchens died two years ago this month, yet his incisive, erudite diatribes against religion continue to rile the faithful and spark debate. The latest anti-Hitch outburst comes from Sean McElwee, a writer and researcher of public policy who describes himself as “a poorly practicing Christian who reads enough science to be functional at dinner parties.” McElwee calls for a “truce” between believers and nonbelievers. But he stands on the losing side of both public opinion trends and history. According to a Pew poll conducted in 2012, a record number of young Americans – a quarter of those between the ages of 18 and 29 — see themselves as unaffiliated with any religion. Atheists’ ranks are swelling, and believers are finding it increasingly difficult to justify their faith. — SOURCE: Salon
Wisdom of Jesus & Muhammad
The Quran is replete with many stories about the life and teachings of Jesus. There are in fact recalling of his miraculous birth, his teachings, the miracles he performed by God’s permission, and his life as a respected Prophet of God. The Quran continues to repeatedly remind us that Jesus was a human Prophet sent by God, not part of God Himself. — SOURCE: OnIslam.net
It’s harder in America to come out as an atheist politician than a gay one. Why?
Was it really harder to come out as an atheist politician in 2013 than as a gay one 25 years ago? Incredibly, the answer might be yes. For starters, consider that there is not a single self-described atheist in Congress today. Not one. It wasn’t until 2007 that Rep. Pete Stark, a Democrat from Northern California, became the first member of Congress and the highest-ranking public official ever to admit to being an atheist. (And even he framed it in terms of religious affiliation, calling himself “a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being.”) Stark was elected twice after this, but when the 20-term congressman lost his seat last year, it was to a 31-year-old primary challenger who attacked him as irreligious, citing, among other things, Stark’s vote against our national motto: “In God We Trust.” — SOURCE: Politico Magazine
When Modern Science Agrees with the Qur’an
We refer to science and scientific facts when explaining Islam because some people are determined to reject anything that is not “scientific.” Materialists and those opposed (or indifferent) to religion have sought to exploit science to defy religion and use its prestige to spread their thinking. Many people have followed their lead, which means that we have to use the same tools of science and technology to show that they do not contradict Islam and to lead people to the right path. — SOURCE: OnIslam.net
VC emphasises religion as panacea for societal growth
The Vice Chancellor, Crawford University, has emphasised the importance of religion towards eradicating the moral decay that has embedded itself in the Nigerian society. According to him, lack of religious training was responsible for the rot being experienced in virtually all sectors of the Nigerian society, noting that if the people had the fear of God in them, issues of outrageous money embezzlement, injustice and the like would be reduced to the minimum level. — SOURCE: Nigerian Tribune
Arrested in Islamic Pakistan for reading the Koran: Ahmadi sect under siege
A 72-year-old British doctor is in prison in Pakistan for “posing as a Muslim”, charges that reveal an escalating ideological fight that often spills over into violence. Masood Ahmad is a quiet, reserved widower who returned to Pakistan to open a pharmacy in 1982 after decades of working in London to pay his children’s school fees, his family said. He is also an Ahmadi, a sect that consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims, and Ahmadis can be jailed for three years for posing as a Muslim or outraging Muslims’ feelings. — SOURCE: Reuters
Yoga Rooms for travelers at US Airports
Hindus have applauded launching of “Yoga Room” at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, calling it a “step in right direction”. — SOURCE: eTurboNews
For the last five years I have considered myself an “activist atheist.” I trolled Facebook and Twitter for theists and told them why they are wrong. I made fun of them for their unreasonable beliefs. I would analyze and nitpick their statements, show examples of just where they went wrong and why, and even at times ridicule them when there seemed to be no option left, all in the vain hope that I might be able to sway them to a more rational way of viewing the world and the universe. This could be extremely satisfying, and sometimes I found I could even come to a level of agreement with a believer about the realities of life. I even have friends among my Twitter following who are priests and strong Christians.
Full story here
“Choosing Islam For My Unborn Child”
From the moment her child is conceived and her body begins to transform itself to meet this new physical adjustment, a woman, a mother also finds herself metamorphasising emotionally and mentally. Her ideas, values and aspirations alter to accomodate and anticipate the new life growing within her. Such is the power of motherhood, SubhanALLAH! Every mother will attest to the numerous choices and changes that only motherhood had the ability of introducing her to.
Karmapa begins prayer for world peace at Bodh Gaya
The 17th Karmapa, spiritual head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhists, Saturday began the Kagyu-Moenlam prayer amid tight security at Bodh Gaya, considered the birthplace of Buddhism, in Bihar, police said.
India Scholars Fatwa Rejects Terrorism
A leading Indian Muslim organization concluded on Saturday, December 14, a two-day conference on world peace, unifying world Muslim scholars’ word against terrorism.
Controversy over beer name
Hindus are expressing concern over a popular beer brewed in Asheville. The leader of a Hindu organization in Reno, Nevada wants Asheville Brewing to stop marketing its Shiva India Pale Ale and apologize for using their god on its beer cans. Rajan Zed is President of the Universal Society of Hinduism and says it’s “highly inappropriate.”
Atheists Face Death Penalty In 13 Countries
In 13 countries around the world, all of them Muslim, people who openly espouse atheism or reject the official state religion of Islam face execution under the law, according to a detailed study issued on Tuesday. And beyond the Islamic nations, even some of the West’s apparently most democratic governments at best discriminate against citizens who have no belief in a god and at worst can jail them for offenses dubbed blasphemy, it said.
Many non-Muslims misunderstand Islam, in fact, some Muslims, also have a wrong notion about the religion. Sentiment have crept in to the practice of Islam in some areas. Some Muslims who do not have a full knowledge of the religion often diffuse their culture into the religion and as such give a wrong impression about Islam.
Full story here
Judaism and Death
The inevitability of death makes the end no less hard to bear. The loss, the hole in one’s heart, the loneliness remain forever. Only sleep, distraction, or occupation gives us any respite. We know there’s no life without death. But the unpredictability and illogicality of how and when it strikes adds a cruelty that most humans find hard to cope with.
Logic and Buddhist metaphysics
Buddhist metaphysics and modern symbolic logic might seem strange bedfellows. Indeed they are. The thinkers who developed the systems of Buddhist metaphysics knew nothing of modern logic; and the logicians who developed the panoply of techniques which are modern logic knew nothing–for the most part–of Buddhism. Yet unexpected things happen in the evolution of thought, and connections between these two areas are now emerging. (As I write this, I’m on a plane flying back to Germany from Japan, where I’ve been lecturing on these matters for the last two weeks in Kyoto University) Let me try to explain as simply as I can.
No tolerance without Christianity
Christianity’s long story has been mixed. And other minorities also are subject to religious persecution around the world, including Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists. But the persecution and flight of Christians deserves far more attention than it is getting by Western governments.
Why non-Orthodox Judaism is a disaster for Israel
Until fairly recently, the “highest common denominator” standard has always been halakha – “Orthodoxy.” At present in Israel, it still is. But should the pluralism push there make inroads, what would result – even from a disinterested, strictly sociological perspective –would be nothing short of Jewish societal disaster.
Tolerance grows, but number of nonreligious lawmakers doesn’t
Even as Americans become less religious and their tolerance for atheism is growing, there are still very few politicians who are openly nonreligious. They have to walk the thin line between their personal feelings and public image.
Remove religion from ID cards
Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama has expressed his objection to the inclusion of religion on identity cards, saying faith is a personal matter.
Islam suppressing free speech?
It is very simple. Are you willing to give up your constitutional right to freedom of speech? That is exactly what will very likely happen if the world continues to implement anti-blasphemy laws to avoid offending fanatic Muslims in hopes they will not react violently.
Perturbed Hindus urge Philadelphia headquartered Urban Outfitters to withdraw Lord Ganesh socks
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be wrapped around one’s foot. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.