Open AccessArticle
The Implicit as a Resource for Engaging Normativity in Religious Studies
Religions 2017, 8(11), 253; doi:10.3390/rel8110253 -
Abstract
This piece recommends the implicit as a resource for examining normativity within the study of religion. Attention to the implicit serves at least two purposes toward this end. First, it gives the scholar of religion a clearer sense of the norms of the
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This piece recommends the implicit as a resource for examining normativity within the study of religion. Attention to the implicit serves at least two purposes toward this end. First, it gives the scholar of religion a clearer sense of the norms of the communities she seeks to understand, norms that, depending partly on one’s methodological commitments, may be evaluated as well as described. Second, it deepens the scholar’s reflections on the implicit norms that guide her own work. These claims—which extend the work of Tyler Roberts, Kevin Schilbrack, and Thomas A. Lewis—are embedded within specific understandings of language and mind as drawn from Robert Brandom and Peter Ochs. Brandom and Ochs help speak to the questions of whether the academic study of a religious tradition can or should evaluate that tradition, answering “yes” and “it depends”, respectively. This presents scholars of religion with both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is that religionists no longer have recourse to a strict distinction between fact and value. The opportunity is that, by linking implicit facts and values to explicit analysis and evaluation, scholarly investigations can be expanded in both descriptive and prescriptive contexts. Full article
Open AccessArticle
#BlackBabiesMatter: Analyzing Black Religious Media in Conservative and Progressive Evangelical Communities
Religions 2017, 8(11), 255; doi:10.3390/rel8110255 -
Abstract
This article explores how conservative and progressive black Protestants interrogate the theological theme of the sacrality of black life through digital media. The innovations of religious media in black evangelical communities remain an understudied phenomenon in African American religion, making this an apt
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This article explores how conservative and progressive black Protestants interrogate the theological theme of the sacrality of black life through digital media. The innovations of religious media in black evangelical communities remain an understudied phenomenon in African American religion, making this an apt arena for further discovery. This current intervention into the study of African American Religion examines digital activism through examples of religious media produced by blacks for black audiences. This article begins its interrogation of the sacrality of black life by juxtaposing those who contend that Black Babies Matter as pro-birth-oriented, religiously motivated activists with those religious opponents asserting Black Lives Matter who present an intersectional pro-life approach. The comparison of views relies on womanist cultural analysis as its main methodology to analyze and interpret digital media and explore its ramifications for African American Religion. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Spiritual/Religious Coping of Women with Breast Cancer
Religions 2017, 8(11), 254; doi:10.3390/rel8110254 -
Abstract
This research aimed to evaluate the level of Spiritual/Religious Coping (SRC) of women with breast cancer. This is a quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional study. A total of 94 mastectomized women who participated in the study were enrolled in a rehabilitation center of a higher
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This research aimed to evaluate the level of Spiritual/Religious Coping (SRC) of women with breast cancer. This is a quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional study. A total of 94 mastectomized women who participated in the study were enrolled in a rehabilitation center of a higher education institution of São Paulo. Data were collected from October 2013 to June 2014 using a questionnaire with sociodemographic, clinical, and spiritual/religious data, stressor stimulus associated with breast cancer, and the SRCOPE-Short Scale. All participants used SRC, 76.6% at high/very high level, and 23.4% at medium level; positive SRC (mean 3.41; standard deviation 0.59) was more used than negative SRC (mean 1.27; standard deviation 0.40), confirmed by the NSRC/PSRC ratio (mean 0.38; standard deviation 0.14). The SRC proved to be an important coping strategy in stress situations experienced by women with breast cancer and helpful in coping with the disease and the consequences of the treatments. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Seeing in Eternal Return: Hermeneutical Perspectives on Karma and Rebirth
Religions 2017, 8(11), 250; doi:10.3390/rel8110250 -
Abstract
This article is a reflection on a conception of death, that of karma and rebirth, and its value in interpreting one’s life. I have thought about this conception in two ways. The first is that I can see the circumstances of my life
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This article is a reflection on a conception of death, that of karma and rebirth, and its value in interpreting one’s life. I have thought about this conception in two ways. The first is that I can see the circumstances of my life as the result of causes of which I was the agent, and the second is that I can see my life and the relationships in my life as part of a much larger narrative that began before this life. Through an examination of Vaishnava and Advaita theology, Nyāya philosophy, and some Puranic and Epic texts, I argue for an interpretation of karma and rebirth as a rational system that allows one to see relationships as involving many layers of complexity. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
“Wherefore She Made Suit”: African Women’s Religious and Spiritual Determinism in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England
Religions 2017, 8(11), 251; doi:10.3390/rel8110251 -
Abstract
Historical evidence of early modern English religious communities demonstrate that culturally negative perceptions of skin color and ethnicity contributed to theological notions of black inferiority which supported societal hierarchies based on racial and gender discrimination. This essay analyzes three accounts of a group
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Historical evidence of early modern English religious communities demonstrate that culturally negative perceptions of skin color and ethnicity contributed to theological notions of black inferiority which supported societal hierarchies based on racial and gender discrimination. This essay analyzes three accounts of a group typically ignored by religious scholars on early modern England: sixteenth and seventeenth century African women. Despite living in a period that arguably witnessed the ideological birth and development of the racial construct in tandem with British colonialist and imperialist expansionism, these women defiantly crafted their own brand of spiritual determinism to wield personal agency in the face of racist theological discourse, ecclesiastical institutions, and legal authorities. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Untidy Playground: An Irish Congolese Case Study in Sonic Encounters with the Sacred Stranger
Religions 2017, 8(11), 249; doi:10.3390/rel8110249 -
Abstract
This paper explores the proposal that music, and particularly singing, has unique properties that render it amenable to encounters with “the other” or the sacred stranger. Drawing on the deconstructionist works of Kristeva and Derrida, as well as the postmodern hermeneutics of Kearney
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This paper explores the proposal that music, and particularly singing, has unique properties that render it amenable to encounters with “the other” or the sacred stranger. Drawing on the deconstructionist works of Kristeva and Derrida, as well as the postmodern hermeneutics of Kearney and Caputo, it explores current debate concerning the nature of “the sacred” in contemporary life and the erosion of the theistic/atheistic divide, while proposing a deepening of the debate through the inclusion of the performative. As philosophical and theological discourses embrace this aporia, it does so against the backdrop of unprecedented human migration. The concomitant cultural and social disruption throws up new questions around the nature and experience of religion, spirituality and the sacred. This paper explores these questions in the context of a Congolese choir called Elikya, which was established by a group of asylum seekers in Limerick city, Ireland, in 2001. In tracking the musical life of this choir over the last decade and a half, including two musical recordings and numerous liturgical, religious and secular performances, it suggests that the sonic world of the choir both performs and transcends these descriptors. Using a three-fold model of context, content and intent, the paper concludes that musical experiences such as those created by Elikya erode any easy divisions between the religious and the secular or the liturgical and the non-liturgical and provide sonic opportunities to encounter the sacred stranger in the untidy playground of creative chaos. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Kuṇḍalinī Rising and Liberation in the Yogavāsiṣṭha: The Story of Cūḍālā and Śikhidhvaja
Religions 2017, 8(11), 248; doi:10.3390/rel8110248 -
Abstract
Various Śaiva Tantric elements have been identified in the Yogavāsiṣṭha, but little has been written about the role of kuṇḍalinī rising in relation to this text’s notion of living liberation (jīvanmukti). The story of Cūḍālā and Śikhidhvaja is relevant to
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Various Śaiva Tantric elements have been identified in the Yogavāsiṣṭha, but little has been written about the role of kuṇḍalinī rising in relation to this text’s notion of living liberation (jīvanmukti). The story of Cūḍālā and Śikhidhvaja is relevant to examine in Tantric studies not only because it includes one of the few descriptions within Sanskrit literature of a kuṇḍalinī experience as explicitly pertaining to a woman, but also because it offers key elements of comparison between experiences of enlightenment: one including kuṇḍalinī rising (Cūḍālā) and another one without it (Śikhidhvaja). This paper compares Cūḍālā’s experience of enlightenment with that of Śikhidhvaja’s in order to understand what role kuṇḍalinī rising plays in the pursuit for liberation. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperEssay
Bowing to the Dharma: Japanese Buddhist Women Leaders & Healers
Religions 2017, 8(11), 247; doi:10.3390/rel8110247 -
Abstract
The prodigious stream of Japanese Buddhist women in roles of leadership and healing extends the length of Japanese Buddhist history. This article will highlight the transformative power of bowing that helped galvanize Sōtō Zen nuns on the eve of the twentieth century and
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The prodigious stream of Japanese Buddhist women in roles of leadership and healing extends the length of Japanese Buddhist history. This article will highlight the transformative power of bowing that helped galvanize Sōtō Zen nuns on the eve of the twentieth century and feature twentieth-century leaders who institutionalized their disciplined commitments. It will also offer a window into the creative healing practices that characterizes women’s activity in the home. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Protection of Religious Signs under Trademark Law: A Perspective of China’s Practice
Religions 2017, 8(11), 246; doi:10.3390/rel8110246 -
Abstract
This article looks at how religious signs are increasingly used in trade and how misappropriation can be harmful to the identity and preservation of religious cultures. Research has shown that trademark rules can be used to help prevent such issues occurring in trade.
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This article looks at how religious signs are increasingly used in trade and how misappropriation can be harmful to the identity and preservation of religious cultures. Research has shown that trademark rules can be used to help prevent such issues occurring in trade. Some religious entities have also taken trademark strategies to safeguard their religious signs. Considering that religious signs are generally regarded as common patrimony, a balanced system is more beneficial to both the public and trademark proprietors. This research delves into the theory that the trademark system should ensure that the non-commercial use of religious signs used for historical, cultural and social purposes, remains in the public domain. By analyzing China’s practice of protecting religious signs, this article finds that despite the success of certain religious entities in safeguarding religious trademarks, their approach is not necessarily feasible for wide application. The article suggests that the government should do more to protect religious signs by using trademark rules under which any signs detrimental to religious identity, value or culture should be refused for registration and prohibited from use. Also, in certain cases, social organizations and individuals should be entitled and encouraged to participate in the protection of religious signs. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Some Gender Implications of the ‘Civilising Mission’ of the Anglican Church for the Acholi Peoples of Northern Uganda
Religions 2017, 8(11), 245; doi:10.3390/rel8110245 -
Abstract
Anglican missionaries arriving in Uganda’s Acholiland in 1903 saw the local peoples as in need not just of Christianisation but also of civilising. This last consisted primarily of inculcating western notions of gender identities for both men and women, with an emphasis on
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Anglican missionaries arriving in Uganda’s Acholiland in 1903 saw the local peoples as in need not just of Christianisation but also of civilising. This last consisted primarily of inculcating western notions of gender identities for both men and women, with an emphasis on the wearing of gender-appropriate clothing and terminating the practices of polygyny and bride-price payment. The first missionaries considered the Acholi to have high levels of gender equality but they still believed conversion would improve women’s status through domesticating them and instilling the notion of male superiority, despite the fact that local customary rituals did not distinguish on grounds of gender. Over decades, the population gradually converted to various Christian denominations, mainly Anglicanism and Catholicism, but without abandoning their customary rituals, using them as and when required, to ward off evil or ask for rain, for instance. The most significant impact of the civilising process was arguably the institutionalisation of the notion of masculine superiority now legitimised by appeals to what happened in the Garden of Eden. The paper is based on historical documents, both published and from the missionary archives, as well as on ethnographic research into gender in the region today. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Urban Residents’ Religious Beliefs and Influencing Factors on Christianity in Wuhan, China
Religions 2017, 8(11), 244; doi:10.3390/rel8110244 -
Abstract
In this paper, we conducted an empirical analysis of the reasons for belief in Christianity in Wuhan, China. The data in this paper is from Chinese Urban Research Center for Ethnic and Religious Affairs Management, collected in 2015. We focus on the group
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In this paper, we conducted an empirical analysis of the reasons for belief in Christianity in Wuhan, China. The data in this paper is from Chinese Urban Research Center for Ethnic and Religious Affairs Management, collected in 2015. We focus on the group characteristics of Christians in urban areas, and its influencing factors. It is found that the Christians in Wuhan are typically older, female, and less educated. Other patterns we have found include powerful influence by family members and friends, pragmatic reasons for following Christianity, family parties as a common way of religious assembly, and discretional admission and exit. Logistic regression is employed here to analyze the determinants of Christian belief. Gender, age, marital status, average annual income, education degree, and health conditions have significant effects on believing in Christianity. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Fighting Injustice and Intolerance: Re-Presentations of Race and Religion at the Muhammad Ali Center
Religions 2017, 8(11), 241; doi:10.3390/rel8110241 -
Abstract
This article explores the significance of the Muhammad Ali Center as a site where meanings associated with “race” and “religion” are constructed, contested and potentially transformed. The Muhammad Ali Center is examined as an example of an increasing number of cultural institutions (i.e.,
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This article explores the significance of the Muhammad Ali Center as a site where meanings associated with “race” and “religion” are constructed, contested and potentially transformed. The Muhammad Ali Center is examined as an example of an increasing number of cultural institutions (i.e., cultural centers, museums, arts spaces etc.) engaged in the strategic re-presentation of issues of cultural difference and socio-political conflict, towards the ends of promoting social justice and/or human rights. The article draws upon theories and methods in cultural studies, religious studies, and museums studies in order to explore the significance of the representational and curatorial strategies of such cultural institutions for understanding alternative approaches to influencing and/or intervening in public discourses and practices surrounding issues of racial injustice and religious intolerance. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Buddhism and Legislative Measures on Theft in Mongolia (The 18th Century–the Early 20th Century)
Religions 2017, 8(11), 240; doi:10.3390/rel8110240 -
Abstract
This article examines the issue of theft as addressed in two legal texts—the Khalkha Regulations and the Laws and Regulations to Actually Follow—which functioned as the customary and statutory laws for Khalkha Mongolia at different periods, and which governed the life of lay
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This article examines the issue of theft as addressed in two legal texts—the Khalkha Regulations and the Laws and Regulations to Actually Follow—which functioned as the customary and statutory laws for Khalkha Mongolia at different periods, and which governed the life of lay and monastic Buddhists. The article approaches the concept of theft as a broader category that encompasses both the direct and indirect modes of theft that involve various types of deception and fraud, whereby a person can defraud the another of his rightful belongings. The analysis of the given topic in this paper is based on the two texts from that administered the conduct of monks and laity who belonged to the personal estate, or Great Shavi, to Jebtsundamba Khutukhtus of Mongolia, the record of actual course cases dealt by the Ministry of Great Shavi, and the Mongol Code of Law instituted by the Qing administration for its Mongolian colony. Although a comparative analysis of these laws with the minor banner laws or those instituted among Oirats may reveal some important differences, it is beyond the scope of the article and deserves a through study. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Recognizing Recognition: Utpaladeva’s Defense of Śakti in His “Proof of Relation” (Sambandhasiddhi)
Religions 2017, 8(11), 243; doi:10.3390/rel8110243 -
Abstract
Though one of many possible interpretive orientations, Utpaladeva’s short work, “The Proof of Relation”, may be profitably read in terms of the intention to reveal Śiva via an exposition of His śaktis. This intention, as declared by the author himself in his
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Though one of many possible interpretive orientations, Utpaladeva’s short work, “The Proof of Relation”, may be profitably read in terms of the intention to reveal Śiva via an exposition of His śaktis. This intention, as declared by the author himself in his much more widely studied Verses on the Recognition of the Lord, if carried over into the “Proof of Relation”, does much to account for Utpaladeva’s intention in the latter text, which, although written to convey a rational argument across sectarian lines, may also be read as an exposition of the opening verses of benediction. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Theodicies as Failures of Recognition
Religions 2017, 8(11), 242; doi:10.3390/rel8110242 -
Abstract
This paper examines the ethical failure of theodicies by integrating the perspectives of philosophical argumentation and literary reading and analysis. The paper consists of two main parts. In the first part, we propose an ethical critique of metaphysical realism by analyzing its inability
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This paper examines the ethical failure of theodicies by integrating the perspectives of philosophical argumentation and literary reading and analysis. The paper consists of two main parts. In the first part, we propose an ethical critique of metaphysical realism by analyzing its inability to recognize the perspectival plurality and diversity of suffering. As theodicies seek to explain how an omnipotent, omniscient, and absolutely benevolent God could allow the world to contain evil and suffering, it can be argued that metaphysical realism—i.e., the thesis that the world possesses its own fundamental structure independently of human perspectives of conceptualization and inquiry—is a problematic starting point of theodicism. We examine the failure of recognition of others’ suffering inherent in theodicies as a failure based on the search for an overall reductive and objectifying picture (a “God’s-Eye View”) that is constitutive of metaphysical realism. The second part of the paper shows why we should include insights from imaginative literature in our attempts to understand the recognition failures of theodicies. Emphasizing the literary, philosophical, and theological relevance of various modern rewritings of the Book of Job, which has been a crucially important sub-text for many later literary works in which the protagonists render a particular kind of human experience—unmerited suffering—we turn more closely to some literary examples, such as Joseph Roth’s novels Hiob and Die Rebellion. The tensions that are created around the moral controversy of the experiences of injustice and suffering and the human and religious reasoning and justification of violence are examined. The ambiguous ending of Hiob that adds an apparently hopeful and almost fairytale-like redemption to the story plays a crucial role in the interpretation provided in the paper. By analyzing some literary examples and their relation to the literary Job tradition, the recognition-failures of theodicist attempts to provide meaning into suffering—attempts based on metaphysical realism, as argued in the first part of the paper—are highlighted. Finally, we also critically consider the charge that theodicism could only be theoretically formulated and argue that a sharp distinction between theory and practice in this area is itself an act of non-recognition, or a failure to recognize suffering. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Does Religiosity Predict Suicidal Behavior?
Religions 2017, 8(11), 238; doi:10.3390/rel8110238 -
Abstract
Research was reviewed on whether self-report measures of religiosity were a protective factor against suicidal behaviors. It was found that scores on Francis’s measure of religiosity was negatively associated with non-lethal suicidal behavior (ideation and attempts), a protective effect. Similarly, it was found
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Research was reviewed on whether self-report measures of religiosity were a protective factor against suicidal behaviors. It was found that scores on Francis’s measure of religiosity was negatively associated with non-lethal suicidal behavior (ideation and attempts), a protective effect. Similarly, it was found that intrinsic religiosity (but not extrinsic religiosity) was negatively associated with non-lethal suicidal behaviors. However, these associations were weak. Research is needed on the issue whether counselors can use their patients’ religiosity to reduce the risk of dying by suicide. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Black Buddhists and the Body: New Approaches to Socially Engaged Buddhism
Religions 2017, 8(11), 239; doi:10.3390/rel8110239 -
Abstract
This article deconstructs how Buddhist practitioners of African descent acknowledge racism and challenge predominantly white, affluent Buddhist sanghas that embrace the tenets of Socially Engaged Buddhism. It argues that practitioners of African descent directly acknowledge the social constructs of the black body that
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This article deconstructs how Buddhist practitioners of African descent acknowledge racism and challenge predominantly white, affluent Buddhist sanghas that embrace the tenets of Socially Engaged Buddhism. It argues that practitioners of African descent directly acknowledge the social constructs of the black body that result in violent practices such as police brutality and disproportionate black incarceration. To support this argument, I rely on primary texts published by Socially Engaged Buddhists. The results conclude that black Buddhists not only highlight the suffering wrought by racism in the West, they also challenge white sangha members to reckon with the depth of racism in society and in their sanghas. I conclude that black Buddhists, in their acknowledgement of the socially constructed meanings of the black body, offer an important challenge to Socially Engaged Buddhism. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Religious and Spiritual Beliefs and Practices among Practitioners across Five Helping Professions
Religions 2017, 8(11), 237; doi:10.3390/rel8110237 -
Abstract
Helping professionals’ religious and spiritual beliefs and practices have been reported as important components in the consideration of clients’ religion/spirituality (RS) in mental and behavioral health treatment. However, no study to date has simultaneously examined and compared five helping professions’ RS beliefs and
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Helping professionals’ religious and spiritual beliefs and practices have been reported as important components in the consideration of clients’ religion/spirituality (RS) in mental and behavioral health treatment. However, no study to date has simultaneously examined and compared five helping professions’ RS beliefs and practices, including psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and marriage and family therapists. The current study is a secondary analysis of 536 licensed helping professionals in Texas to answer the following questions: (1) What levels of intrinsic religiosity and frequency of religious activities exist across these five professions, and how do they compare?; (2) To what extent do these five professions consider themselves religious or spiritual, and how do they compare?; and (3) What are the religious beliefs and practices across these five professions, and how do they compare? Results indicated significant differences across the five professions with regards to their religious affiliation, frequently used RS practices and activities, degree to which each profession self-identifies as spiritual, as well as intrinsic religiosity. A general comparison between helping professionals’ responses with the general population’s RS is also discussed. Implications based on these findings, as well as recommendations for future studies are included, particularly given the recent movement toward transdisciplinary clinical practice. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Reincarnation: Mechanics, Narratives, and Implications
Religions 2017, 8(11), 236; doi:10.3390/rel8110236 -
Abstract
This essay explores the mechanics associated with rebirth, noting differences between Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain narratives. It examines the concept of subtle body and the liṅgam in Sāṃkhya. According to the Hindu tradition, the remains of the departed person, when cremated, merge with
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This essay explores the mechanics associated with rebirth, noting differences between Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain narratives. It examines the concept of subtle body and the liṅgam in Sāṃkhya. According to the Hindu tradition, the remains of the departed person, when cremated, merge with clouds in the upper atmosphere. As the monsoon rain clouds gather, the leftovers mingle with the clouds, returning to earth and eventually finding new life in complex biological cycles. According to Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism, the remains of a person take a ghostly form for 49 days until taking a new birth. According to Jainism, the departed soul immediately travels to the new birth realm at the moment of death. According to Jain karma theory, in the last third of one’s life, a living being makes a fateful choice that determines his or her next embodiment. The 20th century Hindu Yoga teacher Paramahamsa Yogananda, in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, provides an alternate description of a twofold astral and causal body. One hallmark of the Buddha and of the 24 Jain Tīrthaṅkaras was that they remembered all the lives they had lived and the lessons learned in those lives. The Buddha recalled 550 past lives and used these memories to fuel many of his lectures. Mahāvīra remembered his past lives and also the past lives of others. Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra states that through the perfection of giving up all things, including psychological attachments, one spontaneously will remember past lives. In the Yogavāsiṣṭha, a Hindu text, Puṇya remembers the past lives of his grieving brother as well as his own prior experiences. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Tantric Yoga in the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa of Hinduism and the Jñānārṇava of Jainism
Religions 2017, 8(11), 235; doi:10.3390/rel8110235 -
Abstract
This paper explores the Markaṇḍeya Purāṇa, one of the earliest expositions of what become Tantric themes in Hinduism, and the Jñānārṇava, which provides an early template for the practice of Jaina Tantra. The former text follows the traditional mapping of the five elements
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This paper explores the Markaṇḍeya Purāṇa, one of the earliest expositions of what become Tantric themes in Hinduism, and the Jñānārṇava, which provides an early template for the practice of Jaina Tantra. The former text follows the traditional mapping of the five elements and correlative senses, linking earth to smell, water to taste, fire to form, air to touch, and space to hearing, in a sequence of ascent. In contrast, the Jaina practice relates earthy, lotus-like material to the earth, to be incinerated by fire, stirring up strong winds that involve vigorous breathing that bring pounding rains, washing away all karmic impurity and its residues, exposing one’s true nature as a distinct liberated soul. Full article