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Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

The Price of Faith: Chinese Buddhist Sites Plan IPOs

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 28, 2012

STR / AFP / Getty Images

STR / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
Shaolin monks perform for visitors on Oct. 24, 2010. The temple makes millions every year from entrance fees and online sales of Shaolin items

In China today, there’s little that money can’t buy — even when it comes to faith. Many of the country’s most popular Buddhist sites are chock-full of cure-all tonics and overpriced incense. For the most part, people seem happy, or at least willing, to oblige. That changed this summer, though, when it emerged that China’s four most sacred Buddhist mountains were hatching plans to list on the Shanghai stock exchange.

In July, Mount Putuo Tourism Development Co. announced it would attempt to raise 7.5 billion yuan in a 2014 initial public offering. The company operates the tourist facilities at Putuo Shan, located on an island 20 miles (32 km) off Shanghai. Chinese state media quoted representatives of Wutai Shan in Shanxi province and Jiuhua Shan in Anhui province as saying they too had plans to raise funds on the capital markets. The fourth of China’s sacred mountains, Emei Shan in Sichuan province, completed a public listing in Shenzhen in 1997, under the incredibly auspicious ticker symbol “888.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Mother Teresa Still Matters

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

How we remember a religious figure says a lot about ourselves
TIM GRAHAM / GETTY IMAGES Mother Teresa accompanied by children at her mission in Calcutta, Dec. 5, 1980.

TIM GRAHAM / GETTY IMAGES Mother Teresa accompanied by children at her mission in Calcutta, Dec. 5, 1980.

How do secular people remember a saint? As Mother Teresa‘s birthday on August 26th and the anniversary of her death on September 5th approach, I found myself thinking about this. I tried to imagine what I would know about the woman, 15 years gone, if I didn’t write about religion for a living. Probably that she was good to the poor. Short. A friend of Lady Di’s. I concluded that unless I were a pious Roman Catholic, I would know very little, which led me to consider the difference between the way the Roman Catholic church treats its deserving dead and the way society at large does.

(PHOTOS: For the Centenary of Mother Teresa’s Birth, a Trove of Rare Photos)

Here’s how her Church remembers a Teresa. The moment she dies, a clock starts ticking. After a year the Vatican commences an investigation into her possible sainthood. That process’s first step is to determine that — in life — she had exhibited qualities (“heroic virtue”) that Catholicism finds amazing and exemplary. Next the focus shifts to her post-life. In 2002, the Vatican validates as miraculous the disappearance of a tumor in a woman who prayed to Teresa in heaven, and consequently, 250,000 people flock to Rome to attend her “beatification” as the Blessed Teresa. There is anticipation of and perhaps some impatience about a second miracle — not yet identified — that will enable her to be canonized as a saint. There are hurdles and steps, disappointments and triumphs, through which Teresa’s afterlife becomes nearly as eventful as her pre-death. Year after year, believers are led through a dynamic process defining and testing her meaning to the church.

Now compare this to the way in which non-Catholics are remembering — or rather, rapidly forgetting — Mother Teresa. For the most part, Americans are the opposite of the kid in The Sixth Sense: we don’t see dead people. Actors and artists may live on through films or novels; athletes perhaps on videotape. Save for U.S. presidents and Martin Luther King, Jr., moral and political heroes quickly devolve into name-checks. It’s as if the more polarized and fragmented a society we become, the less agreement there is on who should be remembered. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who or What Is God?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 26, 2012

By Peter Baksa, Investigative Journalist/Entreprenuer/Author of ‘The Point of Power’

“The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion, as well as, all serious endeavour. He who never had this experience, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced, there is a something that the mind cannot grasp; whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly; this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious.” — Albert Einstein

The laws of physics have conspired to make collisions of atoms produce plants, trees, animals and humans. In fact, these laws produced collections of atoms that don’t just obey Newton’s laws in a passive way. Some jump, mate, run and think. The laws of physics, working through Darwin’s natural selection, have produced these gigantic collections of apparently purposeful beings who look as though they have been designed. Once Darwin determined how to get complicated, designed beings from the simplest of forms, he gave us an intellectual foothold to begin to see a process that we refer to as evolution. We know since 1859 how this all happens.

Math and science use principle-centered, complex frameworks to describe and understand phenomena on all scales of time and space. Reality, on the other hand, operates at all intervals simultaneously. Our existence, as we see it, is an illusion.

“We are spirit having human experiences not the other way around.”

A starving child, longing for food, has no clock to measure the movement of the sun and the earth around their shared center of mass. Looking down from my high-rise in Chicago I often look over the hundreds of people mulling about on the beach, each existing from a particular point, their own universe if you will. A fly’s eyes have hundreds of different facets. It is able to detect the briefest flickers of movement, perceiving reality under a completely different guise than we humans.The mind of an Alzheimer’s patient cannot use the human construct of time. For such a person, the chronology of existence is broken, living without the element of time or memory to assist in formulating their reality. Time is an illusion, as is space. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Inter-Faith Understanding Is More Important Than Ever in Leadership

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 14, 2012

By Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of Britain

The Alpha Leadership conference taking place today in London is a reminder that despite all the negative news about religion, a different face of faith is visible and real the world over. The Alpha course on leadership, which was begun under Nicky Gumbel of the Holy Trinity Church in London, has been taken by 18 million people world-wide and is all about spreading a gospel of compassion and service to others. A similar message is given out from the remarkable Rick Warren’s church in Southern California where his congregation now numbers in excess of 100,000 people and his global reach extends to every nation on earth.

But such work is not confined to the Christian religion. There are extraordinary Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist organisations that do great work and show selfless sacrifice in some of the poorest and most forgotten parts of the world. 40% of the healthcare in Africa is delivered by Faith groups, notably the Catholic Church.

When we began the Tony Blair Faith Foundation four years ago, there was a lot of scepticism as to whether there really was any interest in inter-faith understanding. Weren’t religion and religious people bound to be introspective and uninterested in the faith of others? Today we are active in 20 countries, thousands of people take part in our programmes and we have volunteers in over 140 nations. The truth is that the numbers of people who have Faith is growing, such growth is not at all limited to the developing world and it is simply impossible to comprehend politics in certain parts of the world – e.g. the Middle East – without comprehending the importance of Faith.

However, the exclusivist and sometimes hostile face of Faith cannot either be denied. There is a struggle in the world of Faith that reflects the broader struggle within society. This is a struggle between the open-minded and the closed-minded. I am a Christian and will remain so. This means that there are certain beliefs I hold dear. But I can, without reducing my Christian commitment, surely accept that someone else, brought up in a different tradition, holds a different set of beliefs, holds them as strongly as I hold mine, and I can respect that person and his/her right to believe as he/she does. In an era of globalisation, in which we are far more likely to share society together because society is becoming more diverse and the internet is creating a more global sense of community, the existence of such respect and mutual understanding becomes essential. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is God a woman?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 3, 2012


Comment: Yes everybody is God and so woman:

Is God a woman? She could well be, according to historian Bettany Hughes, who explores the “central role” females played in the early Christian church in a new BBC2 series.

Writing in the Radio Times, Hughes, who is a specialist in ancient history, has criticised those opposing the ordination of women in Britain, stating that to deny the “true story” of the connection between women and the church is to “etiolate both history and the possibilities of our own world”.

“Consider this: throughout the history of humanity, 97 per cent of all deities of wisdom have been female,” she wrote.

“Who knows whether God is a girl, but mankind has turned to the female of the species for good ideas. Our own monotheistic institutions might do well to take a leaf out of the book of human experience and build on this consensus when it comes to reaping the benefits of a close relationship between women and the divine.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Archbishop Of Canterbury Rowan Williams: Lord’s Prayer Should Be Taught In Schools

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012


Yes these days discipline is lacking everywhere. Without discipline we can not think about wonderful world. And this could be helpful to be there:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Lord’s Prayer should be taught in school, as a survey reveals that almost 50% less children know the Christian orison than their parents did at a similar age.

Dr Williams told the BBC that the Lord’s Prayer should be taught to children, stressing that the litany was “not a very big or complicated thing.”

“I’d like to see schools introducing children to the Lord’s Prayer, so that they know it’s there, they know what it means and why it matters and then they can make up their minds later about whether they want to use it.”

“Not that you’ve got to pray this, but that it’s something that’s really, really important to lots and lots of people, and it can change their lives.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Too many powers wanted Gaddafi dead – NTC head

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 26, 2012

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was wanted dead so his secrets would die with him. So insists Mahmoud Jibril, the man who led the NTC uprising to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi’s regime, in an exclusive interview with RT.

“Too many parties who have real interests that Gaddafi doesn’t talk, that he should be silenced forever,” Mahmoud Jibril told RT, specifying he does not know who exactly killed the Colonel – a foreign entity or Libyans.

“I would love to know who was behind [Colonel Gaddafi’s] killing,” he said.

Jibril told RT the former ruler of Libya Colonel Muammar Gaddafi sent too many contradictory messages, trying to buy time and pretending to have a readiness to share power.

Mahmoud Jibril said he regretted Colonel Gaddafi was not taken alive to face trial, but certain powers that may have wanted him to keep silence due to the secrets he knew. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Use and Misuse of Gratitude

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 22, 2012


Without being able to bring more and more misusers into users it could be very hard to make the world wonderful.

By Deepak Chopra

Once a self-help term becomes shopworn, it needs to be refreshed. I think this is true of terms like faith, compassion, unconditional love and gratitude. Let me address the last one. How is gratitude a useful expression of spirituality? No one argues that it makes others feel good if you are grateful, but is that useful to their personal growth and yours? Many people find it much easier to give than to receive, for example, which makes it hard for them to feel grateful when they are on the receiving end of a gift, favor, appreciation or love. They look embarrassed and uncomfortable instead.

Until we get to the bottom of why gratitude is so hard, we cannot really understand what gratitude actually is. A few points need to be made.

  1. You are genuinely grateful when your ego gets out of the way.
  2. Real gratitude isn’t passing and temporary.
  3. Gratitude takes openness and the willingness to set your ego aside.
  4. No one is grateful for things they think they deserve. Therefore, gratitude is unearned, like grace.
  5. When it is deeply felt, gratitude applies to everything, not simply to goodies that come your way.

These points focus on gratitude as a state where “I, me and mine” has been set aside. In a grateful state you are vulnerable, as the ego sees it. In reality, this feeling of openness must exist in order to receive grace, love, beauty and inspiration. More than one painter and composer has thanked God formally, knowing that there is a higher source — something beyond the isolated individual — that brings inspiration. There is a spiritual reason for such a sense of receiving from “on high,” and it doesn’t need to involve God or religion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Preserved Heart Of Dublin Saint Laurence O’ Toole Stolen From Cathedral

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 4, 2012

Thieves have stolen the preserved heart of Dublin’s patron saint Laurence O’ Toole from the city’s cathedral.

Just one incident in the latest spate of holy relic raids to hit the Irish Republic, the 12th century heart was stolen from Saint Lauds Chapel within the cathedral.

Investigating gardai believe it was taken some time between last night and around 12.30pm this afternoon.

The saint’s preserved heart was kept in a wooden heart-shaped container sealed within a small iron barred box.

Born Lorcan Ua Tuathail in Castledermot, Co Kildare, in 1128, Laurence (Lorcan) O’Toole was appointed Archbishop of Dublin after the death of Archbishop Gregory in 1162.

The self-denying saint wore a scratchy hair shirt as a form of penance. St. Laurence refused to eat ‘luxurious’ meat and every Lent lived for forty days in St. Kevin’s cave, near Glendalough.

He died in November 1180 in Normandy, France and was canonised in 1225. The saint’s remains have continued to inspire worship after being made into a number of relics. His heart was preserved in Christ Church Cathedral since the 13th century, and his skull was brought to Britain in 1442. However his bones disappeared during the Reformation.

A Christ Church Cathedral spokeswoman said the thieves ignored valuable gold chalices and gold candlesticks in the chapel in favour of the financially worthless relic.

The heart is protected in the cathedral by an iron box

“It’s completely bizarre,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Einstein on God

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 22, 2012

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Winning Back the Future: Here’s How! — Part 2

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 30, 2011

By Deepak Chopra,
Author, ‘War of the Worldviews’; Founder, The Chopra Foundation

In the first post, the question was raised whether a better future can be imagined out of the dire situation we find ourselves in. At the present moment we rely on science to answer our deepest questions. But science isn’t the only way to ask who we are and what we want from life. It’s part of the human design to want freedom, and yet freedom cannot exist when you must waste energy on fear, anger, tension, insecurity and stress — all the natural ingredients of living behind fences.

If you want to get beyond these negative aspects, it’s a delusion to believe that fences must exist. Yet we all believe exactly that. Fences are erected first in the mind, and everyone’s mind is compartmentalized. We shut out what we fear or don’t understand. We shut out “them,” the people who are unlike “us.” We shut out the unknown — a vast, one might say infinite domain — and we even shut out the parts of ourselves we don’t want to look at. All of this fence-building is delusional, however. The answer to all our fear and stress, our anger and conflict, could be amazingly simple: Tear down all the fences. If life were actually safe in a state of freedom, nobody would live behind fences. The only true security anyone can have is based not on strong defenses, but on knowing that you are secure in the first place, no matter what.

This point was quite clear to the ancient philosophers who set down the meaning of human existence thousands of years ago: They all believed in a state of enlightenment. Enlightenment is the general term for a mind that doesn’t live behind fences of any kind, a mind that is free. What I’m suggesting isn’t a return to Plato or Vasishtha — we must build our own golden age with the tools of present-day reality. Which means, in essence, that we must expand the fence of science. Fences don’t disappear by tearing them down. All kinds of fear and stress leap into the mind when you take away its defenses. Only by expanding your view of reality can you decide, in due time, that there’s nothing to fear and nothing to defend against. Then the fences disappear as if by magic. Read the rest of this entry »

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Winning Back the Future: Here’s How! (Part 1)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 16, 2011

Huffington Post

Everyone, I think, wants a better future, even when troubled times arise and a better future seems far away. Our leaders are forced to keep their spirits up by promising a vision of the future — that’s how they stay in office — and yet it is very hard to get anyone to agree on a vision that insures a better life for everyone. A lot of the difficulty centers on your view of reality, and I’d like to see if there is a vision that unites all versions of reality, East and West, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, political and psychological. It’s a huge task to unite the world’s deepest conflicts, but there is a way to approach the problem.

We must begin at the beginning. Getting any two people to agree on something is difficult in terms of knowing what is actually being asked. It is only reasonable to settle on the order of meaning that is involved. An order of meaning is like a fence that encloses certain terms and facts. At the same time it leaves out other terms and facts. At the same time it leaves out other terms and facts. If I go to work and pass someone in the hall, automatically I ask, “How are you today?” This seems like a meaningful question, but that’s deceptive. Break the question down, and what I am asking is open to many interpretations, such as
* How is your health?

 * What’s your mood like?

 * How are your relationships doing?

 * Is your work going well?

 * How do you view the state of the world?

 * What does your future look like right now?

 These are all viable ways of interpreting “How are you today?” since we rarely stop to break it down, the question, being so vague, usually gets a vague answer: “I’m fine, thanks.” If you decide to pinpoint the question, you have to specify the order of meaning you have in mind. For example, Read the rest of this entry »

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Daily Collective Worship Law Ignored By Schools, BBC ComRes Poll Shows

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 6, 2011

A large number of schools in England are ignoring a statutory requirement to provide daily collective worship, a survey has found, renewing debate over whether the law should be repealed.

Almost two thirds of parents questioned said their children don’t attend daily collective worship at their schools.

The research, conducted by ComRes on behalf of BBC Local Radio suggests maintained schools are forgoing their statutory duties to provide worship to reflect the “broadly Christian” traditions of England.

Of the 500 parents questioned, 64 per cent said their child did not attend worship assemblies. But the Church of England insisted the results of the poll were unreliable saying it did not differentiate primary and secondary schools where the former regularly had daily worship or reflection.

A spokesman for the C of E said: “Collective worship is when pupils of all faiths and none come together to reflect – it should not be confused with corporate worship when everyone is of the same belief. Evidence collected in Church school inspections shows that schools place a high value on collective worship.

“The Church strongly supports the law – although it is not its job to enforce it – as it provides an important chance for the school to focus on promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of its pupils. Read the rest of this entry »

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An Interview with Agni Frank Eickermann and Domo Geshe Rinpoche

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 11, 2011

Domo Geshe Rinpoche

On the occasion of 2555thBuddha Jayanti and the first Anniversary of Kapilvastu Day Movement, KDM is presenting an

Agni Frank Eickermann

interview with its two Advisors Agni Frank Eickermann and Domo Geshe Rinpoche. On behalf of Kapilvastu Day Movement Ram Kumar Shrestha took this interview with them.

Agni Frank Eickermann: Founder:Chateau Amritabha, Riebeuvillé, France. Author of 11 books, some translated in English, German, Swedish, Chinese, Russian, Dutch, Italian, French and Spanish. Founder: Spiritual Teachers Training with more than 300 teachers worldwide. Founder: Alpha Chi Consultants (1200 Feng Shui Consultants on 5 continents). Founder : “Path into Light”, conducted in 39 countries.Founder: over 100 Light-Center in 50 countries and all continents. Speaker: Spirituality, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Feng Shui, Management solutions, Golden Age.

Domo Geshe Rinpoche. Tara WangchukSpiritual Director, White Conch Dharma Center. Rinpoche is considered to be a reincarnated Tibetan high lama of the Geluk order.  Her healing-related talks are accessible Western interpretations of Tibetan Buddhist teachings on how to achieve spiritual and emotional wellbeing. She is also theFounder and Director of the Tibetan-American Friendship Foundation and Tibetan Resettlement andProject Coordinator for the largest community of Tibetans in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Practical Wisdom of Buddhism

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 22, 2011


“It is not the appearance that binds you, it’s the attachment to the appearance that binds you.”
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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