7 11, 2017

Are We Throwing Out the Spiritual Baby with the Religious Bathwater?

When we look around today, so many of us are troubled by the erosion of civility, the lack of kindness, and the utter selfishness that seems to pervade so many of our institutions.  We fret over how easily it has seeped into our everyday lives and we stand by as it flows freely out of our screens, out of our mouths, and down through our keyboards surprising even us with our own bad behavior.  I have a theory on how some of this has happened and how we, as parents, can start moving back to a place of kindness and better behavior. The good news is, it’s probably not as hard as you think.

Let’s start with the premise that organized religion has let us down.  Not the whole of it, but much of it.  Folks argue all the time about whether or not the world would be better off without religion and the truth is, the answer is easily yes and no. Religion has been the source of tremendous pain and suffering, but it has also been the driving force for a stunning amount of goodwill and service to mankind.

Religion has delivered to us many ancient pearls of wisdom […]

10 10, 2016

The Most Auspicious Jain Festival: Paryushan

Paryushan literally means to retreat from all sides towards yourself. It is the biggest and most important of all festivals for Jains across the world. Each year we celebrate it for at least eight days retreating from all worldly matters as much as possible and taking the time to come closer to ourselves. It is a time for silence, contemplation, reflection and realization. It is a time to cleanse our soul through meditation, soul-searching, self-study, fasting, compassion, seeking and granting forgiveness, etc.

On the last day, Jains observe a unique custom, where they ask every individual they may have offended during the year for forgiveness… a forgiveness that is born out of immense inner work.

Forgiveness is a virtue celebrated as the ornament of the brave. So they fold their hands and say “Micchami Dukadam” seeking forgiveness. Michchhami means to be fruitless (forgiven) and Dukkadam (Dushkrut) means bad deeds. Therefore the meaning of Michchhami Dukkadam is may my bad deeds (with you) be fruitless.
The following is the prayer we say:
“KHAMEMI SAVVE JIVE,
SAVVE JIVA KHAMANTU ME
METTI ME SAVVE BHUYESU,
VERAM MAJAHAM N KENAI”
It means: “I forgive (from the bottom of my heart without any reservation) all living beings (who may have caused me any pain […]

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