Memadamkan sebuah kebakaran yang terjadi, itu bagus. Tapi, memahami penyebab dan berupaya untuk menghindari terjadinya kebakaran, itu jauh lebih bagus. Demikian pula halnya ketika terjadi permasalahan kemanusiaan; untuk mengatasi masalah yang muncul, sudah tentu, itu penting. Tetapi, untuk memahami akar permasalahan, itu tidak kalah penting, bahkan jauh lebih penting, agar supaya kita dapat menghindari kesalahan-kesalahan yang sama secara berulang-ulang, yang disebabkan oleh akar permasalahan yang sama. “Hanya keledai terjatuh ke dalam lubang yang sama.” Ungkapan ini bermaksud untuk mengingatkan kita supaya tetap waspada dan berhati-hati agar tidak melakukan kesalahan yang sama dalam masalah yang sama karena akar permasalahan yang sama. Jika itu terjadi, menunjukkan bahwa kita masih diliputi avidya, membuat kita menjadi keledai sebagaimana dalam ungkapan itu, yang mewakili kedunguan. Dalam gelapnya avidya, orang sering melakukan kesalahan, kemudian menyesal, tapi tidak jarang melakukan kesalahan yang sama, dan menyesal lagi, demikian lagi dan lagi. Bahkan ada orang yang sengaja memperbesar kesalahannya dengan alasan: “Sudah terlanjur basah, sekalian saja nyemplung.” Dominasi ego mayoritas manusia, selain telah menimbulkan berbagai permasalahan dalam diri pribadi seseorang, itu juga akan berdampak ketika berhubungan dengan orang lain, sehingga terjadi konflik antar manusia, baik antar pribadi maupun antar kelompok atau golongan. Ketika terjadi konflik, mungkin ada penanganan, tapi tidak sampai ke akar-akarnya, sehingga konflik terjadi lagi, dan lagi. Kita sering mendengar bahwa keragaman sering menjadi sumber atau potensi konflik. Benarkah? Benarkah keragaman berpotensi menimbulkan konflik? Apakah kemudian banyak orang yang berkonflik mengupayakan keseragaman adalah bertujuan untuk mengurangi potensi konflik? Amritanandamayi Devi menegaskan, “Pertama-tama kita harus menanam benih-benih cinta kasih, kedamaian dan kesabaran dalam diri kita sendiri. Kunci untuk perdamaian dunia berada dalam setiap individu yang berada di planet ini. Perdamaian bukan hanya tidak adanya perang dan konflik, melainkan melampaui itu. Hanya dengan mengirim senjata nuklir dunia ke museum tidak akan dengan sendirinya membawa perdamaian dunia. Pertama-tama yang harus dihilangkan adalah senjata nuklir pikiran.”
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, May 16, 2015 (Facebook):
Last Saturday’s UC Berkeley University commencement featured moving, personal remarks by top graduating senior Radhika Kannan. Kannan, UC Berkeley’s most distinguished graduating senior and winner of the University Medal, earned the highest distinction in Economics and Conservation studies. Having grown up both in India and Singapore, two areas plagued by drought and floods, she developed a passion for environmental justice. She’s is now headed to the University of Oxford for a Masters Degree. Kannan began her speech with “Mikka Nandri, Thank-you” to University Chancellor Dirks who she noted also speaks her mother tongue–Tamil. More on Radihika speech is at “source” above and an article about her here: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2015/05/04/medalist2015/
A second inspiring speech is by Vrinda Agarwal who gave the UC Berkeley Political Science Valedictorian Speech. She’s worked on rights for women in India’s slums, as well as rights for the poor communities of Oakland (Berkeley’s next-door neighbor). Her long-term goal is to become the first female Indian-American US Senator. She’s served as an officer of Berkeley’s Hindu Students Council. Her speech is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzXWBzwqZKY
Kesabaran adalah benteng perlindungan dan pertahanan kita terhadap gempuran berbagai permasalahan hidup. Tanpa memiliki benteng kesabaran yang cukup kokoh sebelum datangnya permasalahan, seseorang bagai rumput kering di puncak musim kemarau, yang sangat mudah tersulut dan hangus terbakar. Demikian orang yang tidak melindungi dirinya dengan kesabaran yang cukup terhadap hal-hal tak terduga yang tidak menyenangkan, akan mendapati perasaan hatinya hancur lebur ketika kejadian yang tak diinginkan datang menyapanya. Kebanyakan orang memenuhi pikirannya dengan khayalan indah dan enggan membayangkan hal-hal buruk yang mungkin terjadi, karena kekhawatiran dan ketakutan akan segera menghampiri mereka. Sementara, para bijak, dengan kesabaran dan kebijaksanaannya, menikmati keindahan hidup apa adanya dan mempersiapkan diri mereka untuk menerima dan menghadapi kejadian terburuk yang mungkin terjadi pada waktunya, dengan gejolak perasaan minimal untuk diri mereka sendiri dan mengupayakan hal yang sama pada orang lain dengan siapa mereka berhubungan, melalui pemahaman-pemahaman kebijaksanaan yang mereka berikan.
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, May 22, 2015 (Press Release):
In partnership with Dharma Civilization Foundation, the Graduate Theological Union, has just launched a Master’s Degree Program in Hindu Studies. This program will enable the creation of scholars in Hindu Dharma who are also practitioners who will present and teach the perspectives of the insiders to the traditions. In the fullness of time, these scholars will teach courses in Hindu Dharma in many main stream universities. Many thousands of students of future generations will derive immense value from these teachers.
So far, Hindu Studies has been the privilege of outsiders to the tradition itself i.e. those who examine Hinduism academically, and critically i.e. through Marxist, Freudian or otherwise suspicious eyes. South Asian studies Departments have focused on geo-political issues, and have not examined the many gifts of Hindu Dharma to humanity.
The Hindu Studies program aims to change that. A fund-raiser event will be held May 30, 2015, starting at 3 pm at the India Community Center in Milpitas. For more information on this limited-seating event, contact email@example.com or 614-668-1668.
The event will include talks by Prof. Vamsee Juluri on his new book “Rearming Hinduism” and Prof. Riess Potterveld on the integration of Hindu Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. A preview of activities over the next year will be given, including the continued development of the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Hindu Studies.
LONDON, ENGLAND, May 23, 2015 (YouTube):
Jay Lakhani, a prominent teacher of Hinduism in the UK, explains why the media–specifically the BBC–is bias against India. He points out that the media only reports on the negative and avoids reporting on the positive, thereby giving a wrong impression of India. The video is short and to the point.
OKLAHOMA CITY, U.S., May 18, 2015 (The Oklahoman):
Edward Shepherd found himself outside of his apartment in Moore, yelling at a garbage truck. Shepherd had returned from four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq that lasted collectively almost five years. Shepherd is among about 60 veterans who take a yoga class at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center that is aimed at helping veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
Sara Alavi, owner of Yoga Home of Therapeutics, who leads the class, says there’s nothing more rewarding than hearing the impact it has on the veterans, many of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some research has shown that breathing-based meditation and yoga can help people with PTSD. A study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress in 2014 said veterans surveyed reported that after participating in a yoga program, they experienced fewer hyperarousal symptoms. They also reported that re-experiencing traumatic memories had less impact on them.
KATHMANDU, NEPAL, May 22, 2015 (PTI):
Around 200 Buddhist monks and nuns were killed when about 1,000 monasteries collapsed in the massive April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in Nepal, according to authorities. Buddhist philosophy promotion and monastery development committee (BPPMDC), under the ministry of federal affairs and local development, said that all 215 monasteries in Sindhupalchok district were flattened due to impact of the earthquake. A total of 150 Buddhist monasteries collapsed in Gorkha, 105 in Dhading, 60 in Rasuwa and 60 in Solukhumbu. Monasteries also collapsed in Nuwakot, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga, Makwanpur, Lamjung and Syangja districts as well.
Some well-known monasteries include Seto Gumba in Ramkot; Rato Gumba in Sitapaila, both located in the outskirt of Kathmandu; Khumchey Gumba in Gorkha; Chrighyang Gumba in Dolakha and Chirite Gumba in Sindhupalchok. Karma Tsering Tashi Lama, president of the BPPMDC, who recently visited many of the earthquake-hit areas in Sindhupalchok and Rasuwa, said he did not see a single monastery that stands intact.
INDIA, May 21, 2015 (The Hindu):
A special convention of Elephant Owners Association held here on Monday called upon people to protect festivals and cultural heritage of the state. “The people with vested interests have misled the court that elephant owners were misusing elephants for making money. We should try to convince Union ministers about the importance of festivals, including Thrissur Pooram, in Kerala tradition,” said T.A. Sundar Menon, President of Elephant Owners Co-operative Sangam..
Cochin Devaswom Board former President Adv. M.A.A Krishnanunny said that the controversy over using elephants for festivals was an ongoing problem. “We should be able to convince the Supreme Court about the facts about festivals and elephant parades,” he said. Meeting called up on temple managements to pass resolution against move to ban elephant parades. Elephant Federation has also given instruction to mahouts that the elephants should not be harassed in any way.
BEIJING, CHINA, May 19, 2015 (Business Standard):
Participation of Premier Li Keqiang in the high profile yoga-tai chi event along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here recently and the permission to set up the first India-assisted yoga college in China is seen as an official sanction for its spread in the communist nation. Li’s participation in the colorful yoga-tai chi meeting last week involving 400 Chinese and Indian students along with Modi provides “official seal” to permit practice of yoga in a big way, Indian officials said.
Yoga has become immensely popular in China especially among the educated middle classes who see it as more of a physical exercise. However, this is the first time that a high powered official attended a yoga event sending an official signal to the provinces to encourage it. An MOU to set up a yoga college along with Indian teachers in Yunnan University was signed during Modi’s visit which for the first time bring will bring new standards to thousands of yoga teachers and institutions mushrooming all over China.
NEPAL, May 20, 2015 (France 24):
The massive earthquakes that recently hit Nepal caused the loss of thousands of lives, but they also destroyed numerous temples. In a strange twist of fate, some holy statues survived the two quakes and their aftershocks… because they were stolen and smuggled abroad several decades ago. Nepalese people are now calling for their immediate return. UNESCO reported that the earthquake had taken a “catastrophic” toll on cultural heritage sites in Nepal: 90% of seven World Heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley were destroyed, including most of their statues. However, some of these temples’ original statues were not damaged, because they are no longer in Nepal. More than 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues have disappeared from Nepali temples, fountains and sanctuaries since the country first opened its borders to tourists in 1951.
Between 1960 and the early 1990s, numerous statues were stolen and then sold to private foreign collectors. Others ended up in museums in the United States or Europe. The project “Remembering the Lost” has tracked down about 160 statues that were stolen from Nepal. According to the project’s founders, the total number of missing relics – including statues and other religious items – is probably close to 1,000. In Nepal, these religious objects are integral to the spiritual life of the community. Statues are seen as incarnations of divinities and each has a specific task