Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


Leave a comment

London’s Victoria & Albert Museum to display Lord Vishnu on silk

Special to Earthpages.org

Victoria and Albert Museum (V&AM) in London, which claims to be “world’s greatest museum of art and design”, will be showcasing Lord Vishnu avatars on silk in its Fabric of India exhibition from October three to January 10.

Dated around 1570, this display will include a Hindu narrative cloth in silk lampas weave, depicting avatars of Lord Vishnu. It will be “the first exhibition to fully explore the incomparably rich world of handmade textiles from India”, presenting about 200 objects made by hand, including sacred temple hangings and some expressing religious devotion and examining how fabrics were used in spiritual life. “Sacred fabrics created for temples and shrines would employ the best of available materials and highest levels of craftsmanship,” Museum release says.

Commending V&AM for plans to exhibit Lord Vishnu, Rajan Zed said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged major art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.

Some fragments of Indian fabric dating back as far as the 3rd century will be on display in this exhibition curated by Rosemary Crill and Divia Patel and designed by Gitta Geschwendtner, which will form part of V&AM’s India Festival.

Martin Roth and Paul Ruddock are Director and Board of Trustees Chairman respectively of V&AM, which claims to have “unrivalled collections of contemporary and historic art and design.”


Leave a comment

Miasma – An ancient view of sin and pollution

The poster reads

The poster reads “Firmly support the decision of the Central Committee to deal with the illegal organization of ‘Falun Gong'” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the more underdeveloped concepts we have today is that of pollution. Sure, we all know about measurable pollution like CO2 / global warming and our dying oceans. But how about spiritual pollution?

Not too many people talk about this. Part of the reason might be due to the misuse of the idea. In China, for instance, certain religious groups can be banned, and their members persecuted for ‘polluting’ the state—Falun Gong being a prime example.

The Chinese authorities periodically try to make ‘pollution’ a spiritual issue. This seems a perversion of a genuinely spiritual understanding of pollution. The Chinese authorities’ agenda with their version of ‘spiritual pollution’ is primarily ideological, and state oppression is tangibly real.

“Every several years — maybe five to seven years — China is likely to have a ‘spiritual pollution’ campaign and ‘anti-spiritual pollution’ campaign which means that they don’t like what they perceive to be coming from the West: sex, the freedoms, drug use; all of these very sensationalistic television programs.”¹

Considering the gross misuse of the term ‘spiritual pollution’ by governments overly concerned with social control, many of us in liberal democratic countries might see it as politically incorrect – or impolite – to say anything at all about spiritual pollution. However, liberal-democratic political correctness, no matter how well-intentioned, can sometimes stand in the way of progressive theory. People may be reluctant to talk about certain issues for fear of being branded a zealot. And I think this might be the case with spiritual pollution.

A 1772 painting by Jacques-Louis David depicting Niobe attempting to shield her children from Artemis and Apollo – via Wikipedia

We walk a fine line with religion these days. Few of us want to upset the apple cart, and for good reason. No person in their right mind wants to hurt or harm another for no reason. But if this also means that discussing the idea of spiritual pollution is utterly taboo, then something’s amiss and freedom wanes.²

The ancient world had a complicated view of spiritual pollution. It certainly was not without its sociological elements. But there was more. Gods and goddesses could be involved, along with demons. Not being a classics scholar, I find it relatively difficult to come up with good material on this. It’s all out there, but one has to weed through the ancient texts to get at it. So I was happily surprised to discover two things.

  • JSTOR now is open to the public. You can access up to three journal articles per 14 days for free. Then after 14 days, three different articles.³
  • While reading a footnote in the revised edition of G. M. A. Grube’s translation of Plato’s Rebublic, I noticed the following reference, which I found at JSTOR.
.
I can’t recommend this review strongly enough for those interested in ancient Greece and the idea of spiritual pollution. It contains a plethora of references to the idea of spiritual pollution as portrayed in classical literature, making it a good starting point for further research.
MC
¹ Nikola Krastev, “China: Report Says Media Control Is Tightening,”Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Thursday, February 23, 2006.
² I make a preliminary attempt in “Pollution” at earthpages.ca
³ I can access JSTOR through the Toronto Public Library. But that only works for me for as long as I live in Toronto, which may not be forever. So I was quick to sign up for my free account, independent of the library.


1 Comment

The History of Tattoos

by Becky McClure

The word, Tattoo, comes from the Polynesian word, “tatao” which means “to tap” or “to mark something.”Captain James Cook introduced this word to the English during his voyage around the world in 1769. Captain Cook and his crew of the ship, The Endeavour, were welcomed with open arms by the friendly and uninhibited Tahitians (yeah, that means many of them were naked.) Since the weather was very warm on the island, clothing was optional.

The Tahitians tried to look their best by decorating their bodies. But the fact of the matter was the application of tattoos, which was painful. It was done by dipping a sharp-pointed comb into lampblack and then hammering it into the skin. Nonetheless, everybody did it.

A woman showing images tattooed or painted on ...

A woman showing images tattooed or painted on her upper body, 1907. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As word of tattooing in Tahiti and other Polynesian islands spread, the European sailors began to get tattooed themselves. This probably illustrated why tattoos were looked upon with such a lack of credibility in the early days and were considered as a kind of thing suitable for drunkards, sailors and criminals.

Modern archeology has uncovered the practice of tattoos in many ancient cultures all over the world.

In 1992, in the Alps between the border of Austria and Italy, a perfectly preserved body of a man was found. He was estimated to have lived 5,000 years ago! And he had 58 tattoos all over his body.

Mummies from the ancient Egyptians had tattoos.

Clay figurines found in Japan dated 3,000 years ago were engraved with tattoo marks.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used tattoos to identify slaves and criminals.

But tattooing has only become acceptable in the mainstream society recently. Tattoo shops and parlors were nothing more than wretched hives of scum and villainy, located in the seediest parts of most towns have undergone significant changes.

English: Tattos of Cross on Croatian women in ...

English: Tattos of Cross on Croatian women in Bosnia and Herzegovina were defence from Ottoman Turks Hrvatski: Tetovaže križa i ostalih kršćanskih simbola na hrvatskim ženama u Bosni i Hercegovini bile su obrana od Osmanlija. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tattooing has really become popular with sports athletes. No one can forget the now-retired flamboyant NBA forward, Dennis Rodman, whose body was a tattooing canvas. A more current example is Allen Iverson of the Philly 76’ers. The tattooing trend is getting really popular in college basketball. And the trickle-down effect is appearing on high school athletes. Some old-fashion coaches forbidden any display of tattoos which meant some basketball players has to play with a t-shirt under their game jersey. Football fans can’t miss the barbed wire tattoos on the well-developed arms of football players.

The popular show, “Miami Ink,” from TLC is a reality-based show. The show’s popularity demonstrates just how mainstream the art of body art or “inking” has become. And it gives the viewers a look into the skill and history of both the artists and their customers.

Article Source: http://www.articleset.com


Leave a comment

Liminal and Liminoid

English: Rock concert at The Hexagon The band ...

Rock concert at The Hexagon The band are Jethro Tull, performing an acoustic number. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Expert from my blog… read more here

Browsing through my library, I recently found some interesting material on the idea of liminality. You’d think I’d know all about this concept; it’s right up my alley. But as things go, I’ve only made note of it until now.

Some quick research on Wiki produced these two links. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in religion and the related idea of numinosity. Of particular interest is the distinction anthropologist Victor Turner makes between the liminal and the liminoid. The one is structured and expected by society, and more like work (e.g. going to Church); the other is free and playful (e.g. going to a rock concert). But both apparently have similar effects. They transport you somewhere out of the ordinary.

This second link is an interview with Talal Asad. I was pleasantly surprised to discover his views on postmodernism and religion. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. And it’s always great to find an “established” thinker who’s saying things that you’ve already thought about. It gives you a sense of reinforcement and encouragement. After all, a single innovative thinker is often ignored or marginalized (as has been my experience). More than one, however, and people begin to take notice.

Apart from my personal story, I really believe that humanity would benefit from using all of the intellectual tools we have at our disposal… especially with regard to religion and society.

—MC


4 Comments

Confucianism – A General Summary of the Religion

Birthday anniversary of Confucius celebrated around China, Sept. 28, 2013. CultureInCart.com via Tumblr

By William Bailey

Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) is a well-known philosopher who is known for his work in governmental and personal morality, sincerity, justice, and the correctness of social relationships. He is known as a Chinese thinker and philosopher during the Spring and Autumn Periods, which corresponds to the first half of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771 to 476 BC).

Confucianism is an ancient Chinese religion with approximately 6 million followers worldwide, and named after the well-known philosopher, Confucius. The religion involves the worshiping of the spirits of the forefathers, the great God of Heaven, and the consecrating angles. In addition to the religious values and traditions that were inherited from their forefathers, Confucius added moral values and his own philosophy. The sum of these ideals equaled sound behavior, which is one of the main attributes of Confucianism.

Confucianism is centralized around the core concept of humanism. Humanism is a philosophy or practice that is based on human values and concerns. It’s believed that humans are able to improve themselves through teachings and self-creation. Confucianism focuses on the refinement of one’s ethics and personal virtue, specifically ren, yi, and li. Li deals with one’s overall demeanor within a community. Ren is caring for the welfare of others within one’s society, and Yi is the adherence to one’s moral principles that benefit the community from within. A true Confucianist must be willing to give their life while upholding their virtues and moral ethics. Confucianism doesn’t involve the belief of a God or the supernatural world, therefore is a non-theistic religion.

Confucianism originated in mainland China and spread throughout other territories including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Themes of Confucian thought are elements such as modesty, reverence, righteousness, loyalty, honesty, shame, bravery, cleanliness, gentleness, frugalness, and kindheartedness.

Relationships are a key concept in the religion of Confucianism. There are numerous stages of relationships in one’s life. As a junior, one has relationships with parents and elders. Juniors owe reverence to their seniors. As a senior, one has relationships with juniors. Seniors are required to have loyalty and care for the welfare of juniors. This loyalty and feelings of benevolence are present, even in today’s East Asian’s society. This harmonic social class order is only possible when each individual of the society are both aware and plays a part in his or her social role.

A key concept within the Confucianist society is ‘The Great Learning’ teachings. The following six principles and key aspects are essential concepts of the religion:

  • Tao – Is a metaphysical concept meaning the underlying natural order of the universe, and the state of refining your moral self and achieving balance.
  • The path will be reveled to one, after the proper rest, reflection, and calmness is achieved.
  • Focusing properly will allow one to set priorities that are essential to one’s goal, thereby allowing achievement of the goal attainable.
  • Education is both comprehensive and imperative to one’s future.
  • Confucianist must utilize the trickle-down theory in reference to one’s personal relationships, organization, and product. When one’s personal or home life is in order the positive results will reflect in their professional activities.
  • Confucianism believes in the concept of effort over knowledge. Political influence, financial compensation, or social status has no bearing on one’s capability of learning.

Beginning in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), Confucianism regulated gender roles as the cornerstone of its religion, thus shaping social life and societal stability in East Asia. Confucius regulated the following female and male roles in society:

  • Women remained dependent to their father prior to marrying.
  • Women became dependent on their husband after marriage.
  • Women became dependent on their child if in fact their husband passed away.
  • In ancient times, successful men had many side relationships (concubines) with women who they were not married to.
  • Men had the option to remarry, whereas women were supposed to retain their vow of chastity when their husbands were lost.

Ban Zhao (45 – 116CE) was born in Fufenganlin (in current day it’s called Shanxi Province). Ban Zhao followed in her father’s (Ban Biao) footsteps and became a famous historian. She has the honor of being the first known female Chinese historian. In the Han dynasty period, Ban Zhao wrote the important Confucian text titled ‘Lessons for Women’, or ‘Nujie’. These lessons were written by a woman and for women. The book listed the following proper roles for women:

  • All women should be hard working, follow instruction, and remain silent.
  • Ban Zhao enforced the yin-yang theory of how opposites are interdependent. She utilized this theory by showing how men and women are equally dependent upon one another however, she points out the fact that the yang-male is dominant.
  • In contrast to typical Confucianism practices, Ban Zhao maps out a solid educational plan for all females of all ages.
English: Commentaries of the Analects of Confu...

Commentaries of the Analects of Confucius, composed by He Yan in Cao Wei and published in Ming Dynasty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The question of the Confucianism religion being secular or non-secular dates back to the 16th Century. When Europeans (Christian Jesuits) arrived in China, they researched Confucianism and came to the conclusion that it was a non-religious based ethical system, however compatible with Christianity. The debate of Confucianism being a religion continues today. That said, two aspects of the religion have been agreed upon. Confucianism is both humanistic, and a non-theistic religion.

Confucianism deals with the here and now. The cornerstone and root of its religion is moral values. The moral values include, reciprocating harmony, the act of turning the other cheek when receiving an unwelcome statement or hypocrisy.

Analects of Confucius are records of acts, words, and discussions of Confucius and his disciples. The Analects are considered the core belief system of Confucianism. These records were written around 500 BC with the vast majority written approximately 40 years after his death. Confucius began writing the Analects in the Spring and Autumn Period. It is believed that Confucius’s disciples and ‘second generation’ disciples wrote the vast majority of the Analects, and completed the records during the Warring States Period, with the content being Confucius’s theories, ideas, and thoughts.

‘I transmit but do not create, I place my trust in the teachings of antiquity.’

Written by – Confucius, Analects VII

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/confucianism-a-general-summary-of-the-religion-5738387.html

About the Author

William Bailey has written and published numerous books, E-books, papers, articles, research papers, reviews, and other publications in various genres including politics, children’s literature, fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, self-help, How-To, article reporting, and other categories of genres and sub-genres.

William Bailey’s writing website is as follows:

http://baileypublishing.webs.com

Reverend Doctor William Bailey: received his ordination confirmation in the year 2011, thereby making him, Rev. William Bailey. He then competed his Dissertation of Divinity in 2012 making him Rev. Dr. William Bailey. Aricles relating to religions or a spiritual nature published on this website are from research materials acquired while completing his Doctorate of Divinity. He has founded a Spiritual Network online at the following address:

http://holytrinityministries.webs.com/

Rev. Dr. William Bailey has an additional email for religious correspondents:

reverendwilliambailey@religious.com

As always his general email address is: billbailey15@hotmail.com


1 Comment

Cosmology Matters

Yesterday I tweeted about this program. I also wrote the television station, telling them how much I enjoyed the show and that it should be available on the web. I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that TVO is extremely web savvy. So if anyone read my comments re yesterday’s entry, I stand corrected!

More importantly, I’m glad that visitors to Earthpages.org can watch this video too. I found it very helpful… nothing short of captivating.

—MC


2 Comments

Finally, a cosmology that includes spirituality

Watched the authors on TV Ontario tonight. Outstanding. They were articulating things that I have thought about but often find challenging to express. One idea I really liked was the notion that even change changes. I think this is valuable on one level. Certainly there are many ways to view the universe or to “slice an onion,” as the old saying goes. But I think there still could be some meta-truths. For example: One of God’s primary attributes is love.

—MC

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 841 other followers