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Benefiting from having the charismatic 14th Dalai Lama as its most visible spokesperson, Buddhism is enjoying a surge of popularity, drawing an increasing number of spiritual seekers from the West as well as from the East. In this program, Hans Kung enters the world of the Buddha, beginning with the holy site of the Tree of Enlightenment, in India, and ending at a Zen Buddhist monastery in Japan, to offer an overview of the many branches of and traditions in Buddhism today. (57 min)
This program offers a profile of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and an overview of teachings found in the Tripitaka, then takes viewers to the ordination of a Thai Buddhist monk. With stops at Sarnath and Bodh Gaya along the way, the video covers the Three Jewels, the Eightfold Noble Path, and differences between the Theravada and Mahayana schools. A discussion of the historical development of the sangha and links between Buddhism and Hinduism rounds out the program.
This accessible volume covers both the teachings of the Buddha and the integration of Buddhism into daily life. What are the distinctive features of Buddhism? What or who is the Buddha, and what are his teachings? Words such as "karma" and "nirvana" have entered our vocabulary, but what do they really mean?
The Tibetan Buddhist tradition has known over thirteen centuries of continuous development. During that time, it has spread among the neighboring peoples - the Mongol, Himalayan, and Siberian peoples, Manchus and Chinese. At its height is has been practiced in regions as far west as the Volgariver and to the east in Beijing. Its capacity for creative adaptation is demonstrated by its recent growth in Europe and America. At the same time, it is at the center of political contestation in ethnically Tibetan regions of China, while its best known exponent, the Dalai Lama, has become one ofthe most admired religious leaders in the world today.But what does this religion teach?
This is a comprehensive guide to Buddhist thought and practice that draws upon the latest scholarly research. It examines the historical and cultural roots of Buddhism in India together with its emergence as a major religious force on the Indian sub-continent.
This program brings viewers to exceptional sacred sites throughout the Near East and Asia to trace the first expansion of Christianity from Jerusalem—which was not to Rome with Paul, but to Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Armenia, and Ethiopia. After the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD followers of Jesus fled to Asia Minor, establishing a thriving ecclesiastical community at least 100 years before Constantine made Christianity Rome’s official religion. The video highlights the significance of the Syriac Orthodox Church and discusses differences between Eastern and Roman imperial Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity, and the impact of Islam in Syria. (59 min)
Christianity is now over 2,000 years old. Yet today in the West it faces its greatest challenge--modernity and the rapid rise of the secular society. Can Christianity survive in the West? In the final episode of the series, practicing Catholic and leading barrister Cherie Blair examines how Christianity has fared in the face of World Wars, unprecedented suffering and monumental social change. (48 min)
At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction offers an important new overview of the world's largest religion. Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity, and tracing its course over two millennia, this book provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of its past and present.
The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity addresses general readers, students, and professionals in other fields who want information about early Christianity. The articles, therefore, avoid technical language as much as possible, and where such is necessary provide definitions or explanations.
Crusading fervour gripped Europe for over 200 years, creating one of the most extraordinary, vivid episodes in world history. Whether the Crusades are regarded as the most romantic of Christian expeditions, or the last of the barbarian invasions, they have fascinated generations ever since,and their legacy of ideas and imagery has resonated through the centuries. Christopher Tyerman picks his way through the many debates to present a clear and lively discussion of the Crusades; bringing together issues of colonialism, cultural exchange, economic exploitation, and the relationship between past and present.
Hinduism, a spiritual way of life for hundreds of millions of people living in India, is little practiced throughout the rest of the world. In this program, Hans Kung traces the diversity of traditions and convictions making up that venerable religion. Rarely mentioned in the interreligious dialogue because it has neither an ecclesiastical organization nor overall binding doctrines, the planet's third-largest religion nonetheless has much to offer a world in need of wisdom from every quarter. (58 min)
Its followers prefer to call it Sanatana Dharma—the Eternal Way—but in the West the 4,000-year-old group of practices and beliefs is known as Hinduism. This program traces the origins of Hinduism before examining its main tenets, major deities, and sacred texts. Particular attention is paid to how cultural customs in India are shaped by Hinduism, with information on bhakti yoga, Diwali, and the Bhagavad Gita, and what living according to the Dharma means to Hindus today. (22 minutes)
Hinduism is practiced by about eighty percent of India's population, and by about 30 million people outside India. But how is Hinduism defined, and what basis does the religion have? In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott provides clear insight into the beliefs and authority of Hindus and Hinduism, and considers the ways in which it has been affected by colonialism and modernity.
Is Hinduism coherent, or should it be viewed as a conglomeration of many distinctive traditions? What were (or are) its most important and central teachings? When did the idea of "Hinduism" first arise and what have been the consequences? What were the effects of British rule on the religion and what are the effects of continuing modernization? This book responds to all such debates surrounding Hinduism in the colonial and contemporary periods.
Understanding Hinduism today requires an understanding of how it is practised in the contemporary world. Stephen Jacob's introduction tackles these central issues, beginning with case studies of the grassroots practice of Hinduism in India and in diaspora communities.
Huston Smith discovered Islam as an adult, and became enamored with Islamic conceptions of order, justice, mercy, and compassion. He still prays five times a day as Muslims do. The Sufis opened the doors of Islam to Smith. Through their trance-inducing dances, these mystics bring God into the immediate moment. Smith and Bill Moyers discuss misconceptions about Islam held in the West today. (56 minutes)
With the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, Americans have become deeply concerned about all things Muslim. This compilation of recent NewsHour segments sheds light on issues ranging from Islamist extremism to Islamic religious observance in order to open-mindedly address Islam-related issues. (1 hr 14 min)
A distinguished scholar of international politics clarifies what is widely misunderstood in the West: Islam and Islamism are not two words for the same thing. Despite the intense media focus on Muslims and their religion since the tragedy of 9/11, few Western scholars or policymakers today have a clear idea of the distinctions between Islam and the politically based fundamentalist movement known as Islamism. In this important and illuminating book, Bassam Tibi, a senior scholar of Islamic politics, provides a corrective to this dangerous gap in our understanding.
This compact introduction to Islam encapsulates the essential aspects of Islam as a living religion and social force. The book is organized around seven topics: the life of Muhammad; Islamic political development and territorial expansion; the important groupings of Islamic believers (Sunni, Shi'ite, and Sufi); the Qur'an (the Holy Book of Islam); Sunnah, Hadith (the record of the Prophet's actions and sayings), and Shari'ah (the compilation of Islamic law); the five Articles of Faith and the so-called Five Pillars of Islam that govern faith and action; and other binding religious observances and festivals.
Islam features widely in the news, often in its most militant versions, but few people in the non-Muslim world really understand the nature of Islam, both as ideology and religion. Malise Ruthven's Very Short Introduction therefore offers an essential insight into issues such as the why thegreatest `Jihad' (holy war) is now against the enemies of Islam, rather than the struggle against evil, why Islam has such major divisions between movements such as the Shi'ites, the Sunnis, and the Wahhabis, and how the Shar'ia (Islamic law) has become such an important aspect of Islamic life.
From Abraham’s trek to Canaan, through to Moses, the Jewish Revolts, and the Diaspora, this program gives the early history of Judaism as recounted in the Tanakh and shows how the religion’s rich past survives in ceremonies still practiced by the Jewish people today. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Purim are described in detail, along with other holidays and rituals that take place inside the synagogue. The video also covers the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. Filmed on location in Israel and the U.S. A part of the series Let’s Look at World Religions. (25 minutes)
A shared heritage, a spiritual belief system, a set of rules for living—these are all aspects of Judaism, but the order in which they are emphasized varies greatly within the faith. This program features opinions from four articulate and sometimes controversial adherents to the Jewish religion who share their views on differences and similarities within Judaism. Highlighting the impact of the Holocaust and contrasts between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi traditions, the program participants include Rabbi and Baroness Julia Neuberger, Rabbi Barry Marcus of the Central London Synagogue, performer Uri Geller, and Jewish Museum education director Susanna Alexander. (24 minutes)
Modern Judaism: An Introduction to the Beliefs and Practices of Contemporary Judaism is a modern, up-to-date introduction to Judaism as a culture and as an expression of faith. The book begins with a survey of Jewish history in order to provide a context for the thoughts and practices of Judaism today.
Norman Solomon's succinct book is an ideal introduction to Judaism as a religion and way of life. In addition to surveying the nature and development of Judaism, this Very Short Introduction outlines the basics of practical Judaism -- its festivals, prayers, customs, and various sects.
For nearly four millennia Judaism was essentially a unified religious system based on shared traditions. Despite the emergence of various sub-groups through the centuries such as the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Karaites, Shabbateans and Hasadim, Jewry was united in the belief in a providential God who had chosen the Jews as his special people and given them a code of law. In the modern period, however, the Jewish religion has fragmented into a series of separate denominations with competing ideologies and theological views. Despite the creation of the State of Israel, the Jewish people are deeply divided concerning the most fundamental issues of belief and practice.
For many centuries, from the birth of the religion late in the second millennium BC to its influence on the Achaemenids and later adoption in the third century AD as the state religion of the Sasanian Empire, it enjoyed imperial patronage and profoundly shaped the culture of antiquity. This authoritative volume brings together internationally recognised scholars to explore Zoroastrianism in all its rich complexity.
An attempt to understand Shinto's continuing relevance to the cultural identity of contemporary Japanese. Through an investigation of one of Japan's venerated Shinto shrines, it addresses what appears to western eyes to be an exotic and incongruous blend of superstition and reason.
This volume offers a stimulating, multidisciplinary set of essays by noted Native and non-Native scholars that explore the problems and prospects of understanding and writing about Native American spirituality in the twenty-first century. Considerable attention is given to the appropriateness and value of different interpretive paradigms for Native religion, including both "traditional" religion and Native Christianity.
Religion is one of the most important elements of Afro-Caribbean culture linking its people to their African past, from Haitian Vodou and Cuban Santeria—popular religions that have often been demonized in popular culture—to Rastafari in Jamaica and Orisha-Shango of Trinidad and Tobago. In Afro-Caribbean Religions, Nathaniel Samuel Murrell provides a comprehensive study that respectfully traces the social, historical, and political contexts of these religions. And, because Brazil has the largest African population in the world outside of Africa, and has historic ties to the Caribbean, Murrell includes a section on Candomble, Umbanda, Xango, and Batique.
Founded by Bahá'u'llah in Iran in the 19th century, the Bahá'í Faith is one of the youngest of the world's major religions. Though it has over 5 million followers worldwide, it is still little understood outside of its own community. The Bahá'í Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed explores the utopian vision of the Bahá'í Faith including its principles for personal spiritual transformation and for the construction of spiritualized marriages, families, Bahá'í communities, and, ultimately, a spiritual world civilization.
To understand China, it is essential to understand Confucianism. First formulated in the sixth century BCE, the teachings of Confucius would come to dominate Chinese society, politics, economics, and ethics. In this Very Short Introduction, Daniel K. Gardner explores the major philosophical ideas of the Confucian tradition, showing their profound impact on state ideology and imperial government, the civil service examination system, domestic life, and social relations over the course of twenty-six centuries.
Comparing Religions is a next-generation textbook which expertly guides, inspires, and challenges those who wish to think seriously about religious pluralism in the modern world. Draws on a wide range of religious traditions to demonstrate the complexity and power of comparative practices Provides both a history and understanding of comparative practice and a series of thematic chapters showing how responsible practice is done.
How is knowledge about religion and religions produced, and how is that knowledge authenticated and circulated? In developing a material history of the study of religion, Chidester documents the importance of African religion, the persistence of the divide between savagery and civilization, and the salience of mediations—imperial, colonial, and indigenous—in which knowledge about religions was produced.
The present geopolitical rise of India and China evokes much interest in the comparative study of these two ancient Asian cultures. The book focuses on four themes: metaphysics and soteriology; ethics; body, health and spirituality; and language and culture.
The work provides a thorough methodological discussion on specific themes, historical figures and movements in Religious Studies. It delves into other themes such as the concepts of God, spirits, mysterious forces, pollution and ritual symbolism.
This book is about new forms of religious activities emerging in the context of their dialectic relations with contemporary multicultural realities. World religions are effectively a major agent of the multiculturalization of contemporary societies. However, multiculturalism pushes them not only toward change but also toward new conflicts.