June 28, 2013

What is the Wheel of Life?

     Have you ever wondered about the wheel in the center of the flag of India? It's called the dharma chakra, the Buddhist wheel of life.  It's one of the oldest symbols you will find in Indian art. If you know a thing or two about India, you know the history goes way back. The 24 spokes represent the 24 hours in a day. Dharma is the Buddha's teaching of the path of enlightenment.
     While in India, I'll look for the dharma chakra symbol. Pics will be posted.

June 3, 2013

A Parable of Religious Pluralism

Ludwig, Patti. dscn0863.jpg. August 2011. Pics4Learning. 4 Jun 2013
In Several Indian religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism), there is a parable that compares religions to six blind men wanting to figure out what an elephant is like. This parable will help younger students see the moral of the story: Each blind man could only report what he had felt and understood, depending on the elephant body part. If one man felt only the elephant's leg, he would say, "An elephant is like a tree trunk". He was not wrong, but didn't know the full picture. This is the same with the ultimate truth---we may not know the whole truth. When we see that other religions appear to say something different, they may just be describing a different part of it. This is the essence of religious pluralism: Every form of religion is right, just different.
"There are many paths up the Mountain, but the view of the moon from the top is the same."  
-Japanese proverb