Ursi's Eso Garden
Your Competent Esoteric Guide
Saturday, 18. October 2008
Miracles - will they never cease?
The parting of the Red Sea, the feeding of the five thousand, the turning of water into wine - miracles. Miracles?
Yet Miracles have been part of human culture for thousands of years. From beliefs about the shin bone of a saint to ideas about the nature of creation and the laws of nature, miracles have been a measure of disputes within religion and between religion and rationality from St Augustine in the 4th century to David Hume in the 18th. They have also been used by the corrupt and the powerful to gain their perverse ends.
Miracles have been derided and proved to be fraudulent and yet, for many, the miraculous maintain a grip on our imagination, our language and our belief to this day.
Three Miracles of Saint Zenobius, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Melvyn Bragg asks: Miracles - will they never cease?
He is joined by:
Broadcast was on 25 September 2008 at BBC 4, 'In Our Time'.
Also available for RealPlayer.
Miracles by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Saturday, 11. October 2008
The Yogis of Tibet
Since the invasion of Tibet over 50 years ago, China has systematically destroyed the Tibetan culture. One of the most profound losses is the tradition of the great master yogis. The entire system which supported these fascinating mind masters has been inexorably eliminated.
In order to record these mystical practitioners for posterity, the filmmakers were given permission to film heretofore secret demonstrations and to conduct interviews on subject matter rarely discussed.
This profound historical, spiritual and educational film will someday be the last remnant of these amazing practitioners
Directed by Phil and Jo Borack, JEHM Films
Duration: 77 minutes
The official website: The Yogis of Tibet
Article: Filming The Yogis of Tibet by Jo Borack
Friday, 03. October 2008
Mudra: Cymbals mudra (rol mo bkrol ba'i phyag rgya)
Mudras is a selection of photos of "mudras" (Buddhist hand gestures) taken by photographer Dennis Cordell.
These portraits, shot in black and white, are of young monks at Gyud Zin monastery in Ladakh, India taken during the summer of 2006. Each monk is presenting a "mudra" which represents an offering to the Buddha. The delightful juxtaposition of the religious iconography with the boyishness of the young monks makes the portraits in this project wondrously expressive and heart-warming.
Mudra: Annointing with Perfume mudra (dri byugs pa'i phyag rgya)
Visualizing the Bible
Click the picture for a larger view (2000x1200, 1.4MB)
Visualizing the Bible, awarded an Honorable Mention in Illustration, depicts all 1189 chapters of the Bible as a bar graph with the length of each bar proportional to the number of verses in the chapter. Above this, arcs represent 63,779 cross references between chapters; different colours denote varying distances between connected chapters.
Visualizing the Bible by Chris Harrison of Carnegie Mellon University and Christoph Römhild of North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Click the picture for a larger view (2000x2000, 1.4MB)
Sunday, 28. September 2008
Saturday, 20. September 2008
Muslim faithful throughout the world are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan. Observant Muslims participate in fasting (sawm), one of the five pillars of their faith, this entire Lunar month (this year it extends from September 1st to the 30th). Eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity is prohibited from dawn until sunset, when the fast is broken with the evening meal called Iftar. Local customs define varying traditions, including differing types of food used to break the daily fast. The fasting is meant to teach a person patience, humility and sacrifice, to set aside time to ask forgiveness, practice self-restraint, and pray for guidance in the future.
News Stories in Photographs: Observing Ramadan (35 photos total) by The Big Picture.
Saturday, 13. September 2008
Japanese Buddhist Art
The Planets and the Northern Constellation
Japanese, Kamakura period, 13th century
Panel; ink, color, and gold on silk
See remarkable holdings include statues, paintings, and ritual objects. Notable are the wooden image of Miroku, the Bodhisattva of the Future, by the late twelfth-century master sculptor Kaikei, the eighth-century icon of the Historical Buddha Preaching on Vulture Peak, and the exquisite twelfth-century paintings of Batô Kannon, the Horse-headed Bodhisattva of Compassion, and Bishamonten, Guardian of the North.
All pictures are zoomable for closer examination, perhaps works in IE only.
Website Collection Page: Japanese Buddhist Art by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Or choose The Interactive Tour.
White-robed Bodhisattva of Compassion
Japanese, Muromachi period, first half of the 16th century
Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk
Sunday, 22. June 2008
Religions of the World: Hinduism
This video is part of the "Religions of the World" series, narrated by Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley. You do not have to see the other videos for this one to make sense.
Learn how and why Hinduism has survived to be one of the oldest and largest world religions with nearly one billion followers located mostly in India. Hinduism encompasses wide practices and traditions largely due to its great capacity to integrate the new with the old.
You will learn about the descendants of the Indus River Valley, who, around 1500 B.C.E., used Sanskrit to transcribe their daily rituals and customs. You will also discover Hinduism's impact on the literary world with its library of tens of thousands of sacred hymns and poems known as the Vedas, which means "truth" or "knowledge."
I would recommend this video for those wanting to understand a bit more about Hinduism.
Runtime: 47 minutes
Saturday, 21. June 2008
The Seeker’s Glossary of Buddhism
Note to the second edition:
This is a revised and expanded edition of 'The Seeker's Glossary of Buddhism.' The text is a compendium of excerpts and quotations from some 350 works by monks, nuns, professors, scholars and other laypersons from nine different countries, in their own words or in translation.
The Seeker's Glossary of Buddhism
by Sutra Translation Committee of USA/Canada
STC of USA/Canada, 2nd ed 1998 | 999 pages | PDF | 4.8 MB
Also available at BuddhaNet and Urban Dharma.
Sunday, 15. June 2008
A History of God
Theologian Karen Armstrong guides us along one of the most elusive and fascinating quests of all time - the search for God. This film is fine synopsis of Karen Armstrong's comprehensive book by the same title.
'A History of God' examines the concept of God in the three major monotheistic religions from the days of Abraham to modern times. Looking at the way that humans have perceived the idea of a supreme being throughout history and gathers interviews with representative's of several different religions to discuss the role that god plays in their lives.
The narration and commentary has been beauifully edited with a fine music score and excellent selected of visuals - paintings, photographs, and video of scenes in the Middle East - and the information gives a broad understanding of many of the world's religions. Recommended for those with open, questioning minds.
Runtime: 93 minutes
Saturday, 14. June 2008
Historical Atlas of the Celtic World
Pre-Christian Celts left no written records, so all the accounts we have of these people are from prejudiced Mediterranean writers.
The Celtic Peoples of Europe: The Celtic migration, Gauls, Bretons, the Galatians
Early Celtic Art: Origins, La Tène Period art, Iron Age Celtic art
Celtic Belief: The calendar, death and the afterlife, sacrifice, the bog men, gods and divinities
The Celtic Peoples of the British Isles: Britons, Irish, Picts and Scots, Welsh
The Roman Invasions: Caesar's conquest of Gaul, Romans in Britain
The Druids: Witchcraft, prophesy and divination, archaeological evidence
The Celtic Warrior: Celtic warfare, arms and armor, warrior chieftains, resisting the Romans
The Post-Roman Celtic World: Barbarian invasions, Anglos and Saxons, Arthur of the Britons
The Renaissance of Celtic Art: The High Celtic Period, Celtic Christian art, Pictish symbol stones
The Coming of Christianity: St. Patrick, the Celtic church, illuminated manuscripts, the Book of Kells
Celtic Mythology: Irish Celtic myth/the Mabinogion, Arthurian myth
The Celtic Legacy: Celtic revival art, the Celtic fringe.
Historical Atlas of the Celtic World by Angus Konstam.
Checkmark Books, 2001, 2003 | 192 Pages | PDF | 61.7 MB |
In addition to the text, there are many illustrations and photos of Celtic art throughout the book.
Tuesday, 03. June 2008
How To Become a Saint
Contrary to popular belief, saints weren’t altogether perfect people during their lifetimes - but it’s not good works alone that garner you a spot next to Francis of Assisi.
(Transcript of this video)
You Will Need:
Miracles attributed to your intercession
Step 1: Die
Die. The Vatican usually requires a five-year waiting period after a person’s death even to begin the process toward sainthood. Even after death, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Step 2: "Cause" initiated
After five years, what is known as a “cause” may be initiated with the individual’s local bishop and then with the Vatican’s Congregation for Sainthood Causes.
Step 3: Postulator leads investigation
A postulator will lead the cause and serve in charge of the investigation of the deceased’s virtue and miracles attributed to him or her.
Step 4: Pope deems candidate "venerable"
If the pope recognizes the candidate as having heroic virtues, the pope may deem him or her “Venerable,” the first step toward sainthood.
Tip: Martyrdom, or dying for the faith, can also result in the venerable title.
Step 5: Two miracles required
In general, the verification of two miracles attributed to the intercession of the candidate is required for canonization.
Tip: The miracles can occur during the person’s lifetime or after he or she is dead.
Step 6: Pope beatifies candidate
After one miracle, the pope may beatify the candidate, the second step toward sainthood. The candidate is then called “Blessed.”
Step 7: Vatican verifies second miracle
If the Vatican verifies an additional miracle, canonization may follow.
Step 8: Intercede with God
Should you make it to sainthood, expect to be very busy for subsequent millennia. Catholics pray that saints intercede with God on their behalf. That’s running some heavy interference.
During his pontificate, Pope John Paul II proclaimed 482 saints, more than all his predecessors over the previous 400 years combined.
Saturday, 31. May 2008
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism
This encyclopedia includes not only the teachings of Confucius but also a wealth of information about Chinese culture, music, ceremony, teachers, writings, emperors, and events that are integral to Confucianism.
Each entry includes numerous cross-references in bold type and a bibliography of works in English. The entries vary widely in length from short paragraphs to several pages and are complemented by many full-page and smaller black-and-white illustrations, photographs, and high-quality maps. The portraits of teachers and emperors are particularly interesting.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism
by Rodney Leon Taylor, Howard Y. F. Choy
Rosen Publishing Group, 2004-07 | 1000 pages | PDF | 22.7 MB
Click the picture for a larger view
Saturday, 24. May 2008
The Life of Hinduism
The Life of Hinduism brings together a series of essays - many recognized as classics in the field - that present Hinduism as a vibrant, truly "lived" religion.
The Life of Hinduism by John Stratton Hawley & Vasudha Narayanan
University of California Press, 2006 | 343 pages | PDF | 1.2 MB
Thursday, 22. May 2008