The first volume of Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, a new series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Thupten Jinpa, is both a revelation and a precious resource on these civilizations that coinvented the scientific spirit. The editors define science as a form of knowledge of nature and its laws, based on empirical observations and striving to reach intersubjective agreement by shared rational principles.
Buddhism beyond Gender articulates Gross’s objectives as a Buddhist teacher and also more sharply and directly issues a call that will be controversial, particularly among feminists coming of age in this generation, to realize that clinging to gender identity subverts enlightenment. An early pioneer of feminist scholarship, Gross navigated hostile terrain as a graduate student at the University of Chicago in the 1970s, where she was shunned by “serious scholars” for writing her dissertation on women’s studies in religion.
Religious thinkers, political leaders, lawmakers, writers, and philosophers have shaped the 1,400-year-long development of the world’s second-largest religion. But who were these people? What do we know of their lives and the ways in which they influenced their societies?
In Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives, the distinguished historian of Islam Chase F. Robinson draws on the long tradition in Muslim scholarship of commemorating in writing the biographies of notable figures, but he weaves these ambitious lives together to create a rich narrative of Islamic civilization, from the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century to the era of the world conquerer Timur and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in the fifteenth.
The amplification of women’s voices has become an idee fixe of modern social media. Rightfully so. If anything has become clear since the 2016 presidential election and the recent #metoo exposure of rampant sexual assault, it’s the necessity and relevance of feminism in our society.
But for today’s fourth-wave feminists, an awareness and appreciation of the great forward leaps made by the second-wave feminists of the 1960s is imperative to maintain historical perspective and inform future action. Marcia R. Rudin’s historical novel, Hear My Voice, does just that.
Interfaith dialogue should be relevant to the context of religious plurality that characterises today’s world. It should address the problems, conflicts, and tensions that threaten the harmonious and peaceful coexistence, in an effort to prevent the exploitation of religious sentiments in exacerbating division. In this wise, there are many practical activities which may be taken up as a fruit of interfaith dialogue.
Reza Aslan’s God: A Human History is of that genre. But it is an unusual specimen. Engagingly written, likely to appeal to “seekers”, it contains an often fascinating potted history of religion, from primitive animism to the multi-faith world of today. While Aslan questions the truth of all monotheistic and polytheistic belief systems, he is not a dismissive atheist in the Richard Dawkins mould. Indeed, he has lambasted Dawkins as “a buffoon, embarrassing himself every day”.
For inhabitants of the northern hemisphere, autumn features increasingly shorter days as we move inexorably toward the longest night of the year around December 21. Interestingly, many cultures and faith traditions have long-standing traditions and stories that lift up light during this time of relative darkness. For Neo-Pagans/Wiccans and other indigenous peoples, it’s Winter Solstice, for Jews, Hanukkah, for the ancient Romans, Saturnalia, for Christians, Christmas, and for African-Americans, Kwanzaa, just to name a few.
More than ever, the world needs strong leaders, committed teachers and people filled with a life purpose. Such was the life embodied by a humble Coptic gentleman named Habib Girgis, who was born in Cairo in 1876 and lived in Egypt until 1951. There is much to be learnt from this man as highlighted in a new book by Leader of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne, Bishop Suriel.
Religions for Peace (RfP) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) seek your leadership and skillful interventions in urging your governments to sign and ratify the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by over 120 governments at the United Nations (UN) on 7 July 2017.