I have interviewed Pastor Kim from the Korean Church of True Light here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. For my research paper I am gathering the history and general information about this church.
Three years ago a few members of a local protestant church split to form the Korean Church of True Light. While searching for a building to call their own, they held service in a local park. Soon after their split they formed a partnership with Calvary Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa.
They currently use the old chapel adjacent to the main building of Calvary Baptist. Pastor Kim has been the senior pastor here for one year. He says, “God knows my heart. He put me in a place I love and can do God’s work”.
Our class is finishing our discussion of “Transcendent in America” by Lola Williamson. The author gives a detailed look into HIMMs or Hindu-Inspired Mediation Movements. In part two of her book she discusses three specific movements that include Transcendental Mediation, Self-Realization Fellowship, and Siddha Yoga. I enjoyed reading and learning about these movements. Williamson is unbiased in explaining these HIMMs. Usually I find informational books such as this to be boring and unbearable. I found this book less painful than expected. I feel that the author tried her best to convey her experiences as well as others’ experiences. I believe some things were lost in translation, based on the fact that I have not had a personal HIMM experience.
Murali Balaji wrote this article that highlight the misconceptions between Hindu Americans and their teachers and classmates. Balaji grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and was often confronted with inappropriate questions from “misinformed” classmates and teachers. His parents would feel frustrated and powerless about their child’s unfortunate circumstances. He gives two extremes that could arise between Hindu parents and their children’s teachers. This first approach is the “in-your-face” and the second is the “non-confrontational”. Often Hindu parents take the latter approach.
Balaji is the Hindu American Foundation’s Director of Education and curriculum Reform where he has talked with many parents frustrated by what their children are learning about Hinduism. He points out two truths in education: 1) teachers don’t intentionally teach wrong information and are almost always willing to learn and 2) parents can work with schools, school boards, and individual teachers to help fight stereotypes and wrong information. Harsh confrontation rarely yields results, as with Passivity. He encourages parents to meet with their child’s teachers to calmly discuss cultural or religious meanings.
While I was searching what to write about this week I came across this site. The creators define Hindupedia as “the Hindu Encyclopedia”. This site is meant to educate the public about all aspects of Hinduism. The main page notes that this site is the only online Hindu encyclopedia that provides the public with a traditional perspective on the Hindu way of life. There are 14 categories ranging from General information to Philosophy and art. Personally, I enjoyed reading about the preparation and celebration of Hindu Festivals. There are many different kinds of festivals. During one festival colored water or powder is thrown on people. This is the festival of colors, Holi. This festival reflects the changing color of nature.
The author of this article, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, gives a Buddhist insight on technology. He points out that Technology can be a good or bad thing. If we lack vision, technology can attack our weaknesses and distract us from nowness. Technology can numb our senses and drain us of energy. On the other hand technology has positive affects. He gives positive examples such as feeling uplifted, informed or delighted. Rinpoche then explains that the five basic parameters of karma are still in place even though technology has advanced our ability to communicate. These parameters include: raising the intention, deciding to do the action, preparing to do the action, doing the action and having no regret. As you send the “send” button, karma is initiated. He states, “In the modern era we need to be even more convinced of virtue, having resolve in terms of who we are and how we want to manifest. Generally, the best approach with technology is to consider out dignity and concern for others.” In his closing statements he urges people to cherish the mind and remain mindful of our principles and priorities.
In a world where religious hatred and persecution is wide spread, Gadadhara Pandit Dasa is trying to bridge the gap between Hinduism and Christianity. He writes about his experience growing up in LA and attending a Christian high school. Years after graduating he decided to become a Hindu monk and focus on bridging the gap between the two religions. A fellow Hindu monk suggested that he read the Gospels to become more familiar with the Christian faith. He noticed some surprising similarities. He compares Matthew 18:21-35 and Matthew 23:12 with an excerpt from the Siksastakam. Both suggest that an individual learn should learn to become humble. In his final statement he urges his readers to love our neighbors as ourselves and to make an attempt to cross the bridges that divide us. This is a refreshing article about religious tolerance and humility.
Sakura festivals, or Cherry Blossom festivals are popular in Japan. In recent years the U.S has hosted a rising number of these festivals. Many universities and cities host their own Sakura festival. Cherry blossoms symbolize the enduring yet fleeting nature of life, and are also associated with Buddhist influence. America has embraced Japan’s festive reminder that life is short and sweet.