Signs & Portents
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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, March 24 2017
A look at ancient traditions surviving into modern China. Lessons from the Bodhisattva path of Mahayana Buddhism. And Jainism's philosophy on death and dying. It's Faithful Friday, our segment on news about faiths and religious communities from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
Throughout many places of the world, there is an impression that modernism has stamped out the traditions of the past. But that isn't always true. Sometimes modern people enjoy carrying on the traditions of their ancestors. In Anhui, China locals continue to practice the ancient ritual performance known as nuo, which is deeply wedded to ancient religious beliefs in southern China.
All the same, no religion can be expected to stay the same forever. Judaism notably has undergone considerable evolution over its history: even much of what we consider "traditional" Judaism today—such as Hasidism—was once radical and modern. Now some Jews wonder if their religion is headed for a post-Rabbinic phase.
Buddhism doesn't have saints per se, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have holy figures. In addition to the Buddhas (which includes the one Westerners are most familiar with along with several others), there are the Bodhisattvas, selfless men and women whose goal of enlightenment and salvation for all humankind extends beyond their mortal lives. At Lion's Roar, Pema Chödrön considers what ordinary Buddhists (and others) can learn from the Bodhisattvas.
What is the purpose of rituals? Are they necessary for communion with the divine? Are they there to placate and comfort the faithful? Ask any number of theologians or philosophers and you'll likely get as many answers. Nonetheless, NewsGram tries to outline one of the reasons rituals are important in Hinduism: because they contribute to a sense of collective self.
Although at least as ancient as Buddhism and Hinduism, Jainism is not generally as well-recognized outside of its native India. An ancient religion preaching nonviolence and selflessness, Jainism once commanded considerable followers throughout India but has gradually been overtaken by Buddhism and Hinduism. Nonetheless, it still has lessons to offer us, as this article on the Jain philosophy of dying argues.
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