Fasting, on Translation, the Problem of Evil and the Parliament of Religions

• This week, the first new addition to our library is a talk by Abdal Hakim Murad (T. J. Winter), delivered on the 1st of Ramadan 2009, where he elaborates on the divine saying “fasting is mine.”

… but still, there is this illa siyam, “except for fasting”, fa innahu li, “for it is mine”, and we need to understand this; and we can understand it most easily not by using our brains… but by using our hearts. What does the heart feel in Ramadan?

Click here to listen.

• By Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, the lesser known article “On Translation: Maya, Deva, Tapas”, where three key terms in Hindu and religious studies in general are examined and exemplified.

“What Europe has understood by ‘religious tolerance’ is a merely negative conception, reached by way of scepticism and political convenience. The basic principle of tolerance is positive… ‘Because of his incomprehensible nobility and sublimity, which we cannot rightly name nor wholly express, we give Him all these names.’”

• From the many insightful articles authored by Marco Pallis, a foremost authority on Tibetan Buddhism, “Is There a Problem of Evil?”

“Did we but know it, all the desires beings experience, all their attempts to snatch satisfaction from this thing or that thing, are but signs of a deep-seated homesickness for the Tree of Life, man’s true homeland. The one and only ‘problem,’ in our situation, is to find the way home.”

• Finally, a fundamental text in the study of comparative religion: Swami Vivekananda’s famous addresses at the Parliament of the World’s Religions (1893), widely recognised as the occasion of the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide.

“The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth. If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character.”