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A festival of colorful emotions

It is as if a massive color palette fell on earth from the hand of the Almighty. The whole atmosphere is painted with bright colors—red, pink, yellow, blue, green, and purple. Young and old, men and women—all are soaked in colored water, running around, laughing loudly, shouting, and throwing mud on each other. It is a war where a water gun is your weapon, colored water is your bullet, and colored powder is your smoke screen.

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World Religion Day 2015

Today, 18 January 2015 marks World Religion Day across the globe. The day was created by the Baha’i faith in 1950 to foster dialogue and to and improve understanding of religions worldwide and is now in its 64th year. The aim of World Religion Day is to unite everyone, whatever their faith, by showing us all that there are common foundations to all religions and that together we can help humanity and live in harmony. The day often includes activities and events calling the attention of the followers of world faiths.

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Rita Angus in Grove Art Online

Angus studied at the Canterbury School of Art, Christchurch (1927–33). In 1930 she married the artist Alfred Cook (1907–70) and used the signature Rita Cook until 1946; they had separated in 1934. Her painting Cass (1936; Christchurch, NZ, A.G.) is representative of the regionalist school that emerged in Canterbury during the late 1920s, with the small railway station visualizing both the isolation and the sense of human progress in rural New Zealand.

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What is African American religion?

What is African American religion? Scholars have written a lot about the difficulties in the study of religion generally. Those difficulties become even messier when we use the words black or African American to describe religion. The adjectives bear the burden of a difficult history that colors the way religion is practiced and understood in the United States. They register the horror of slavery and the terror of Jim Crow as well as the richly textured experiences of a captured people, for whom sorrow stands alongside joy.

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Mindful Sex

By Jeff Wilson
Mindfulness seems to be everywhere in North American society today. One of the more interesting developments of this phenomenon is the emergence of mindful sex—the ability to let go of mental strain and intrusive thoughts so once can fully tap into sexual intercourse.

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Celebrate National Trivia Day with Oxford trivia

Today, Saturday the 4th of January, is National Trivia Day. We may employ a few competitive pub quiz champs in our offices, so we gathered together a few trivia questions from our resources to play a game. Why not bring these puzzlers to your next Trivia Night and let us know how it goes?

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Sir John Tavener, saintly and controversial composer

The recent death of renowned British composer Sir John Tavener (1944-2013) precipitated mourning and reflection on an international scale. By the time of his death, the visionary composer had received numerous honors, including the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, the 2005 Ivor Novello Classical Music Award, and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.

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Logic and Buddhist metaphysics

By Graham Priest
Buddhist metaphysics and modern symbolic logic might seem strange bedfellows. Indeed they are. The thinkers who developed the systems of Buddhist metaphysics knew nothing of modern logic; and the logicians who developed the panoply of techniques which are modern logic knew nothing–for the most part–of Buddhism.

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Is it a dog’s world?

By Steven Heine
Like a number of other traditional East Asian cultural phenomenon, such as kabuki, kimono, kimchee, and kung fu—just sticking to terms that start with the letter “k”—the koan as the main form of literature in Zen Buddhist monastic training has been widely disseminated and popularized in modern American society.

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On the Man Booker Prize 2013 shortlist

By Robert Eaglestone
So here’s the first thing about the books on the Booker Prize lists, both short and long: until the end of August, it was hard-to-impossible to get hold of most of them. Only one was in paperback in July (well done, Canongate). And while some were in very pricey hardback, several hadn’t even been published. This begs the question: who is the Booker Prize for?

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Religious, political, spiritual—something in common after all?

By Roger S. Gottlieb
Many people think it’s a great idea: we can have all the benefits of religion…without religion! We’ll call it “spirituality” and in choosing it we will have unlimited freedom to adopt this or that ritual, these or those beliefs, to meditate or pray or do yoga, to admire (equally) inspiring Hindu gurus, breathtakingly calm Buddhist meditation teachers, selfless priests who work against gang violence, wise old rabbis, and Native American shamans—not to mention figures who belong to no faith whatsoever.

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Ancient manuscripts and modern politics

By Louis René Beres
Oddly, perhaps, there are striking similarities between Western Epicureanism and Eastern Buddhism. Even a cursory glance at Lucretius, On The Nature of Things, reveals a characteristically “Buddhist” position on human oneness and human transience. Greek and Roman Stoicism, too, share this animating concept, a revealing vision of both interpersonal connectedness and civilizational impermanence.

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Jack Kerouac: On and Off the Road

By David Sterritt
Jack Kerouac, the novelist and poet who gave the Beat Generation its name, died 43 years ago on 21 October 1969 at the age of 47. On Friday, the long-delayed movie version of Kerouac’s autobiographical novel about crisscrossing the United States with his hipster friend Neal Cassady in the 1940s, On the Road will be released. When the novel was published in 1957, six years after he finished writing it, Kerouac dreamed up his own screen adaptation, hoping to play himself (called Sal Paradise in the novel) opposite Marlon Brando as Dean Moriarty, the Cassady character.

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Is spirituality a passing trend?

Philip Sheldrake
“Spirituality” is a word that defines our era. The fascination with spirituality is a striking aspect of our contemporary times and stands in stark contrast to the decline in traditional religious belonging in the West. Although the word “spirituality” has Christian origins it has now moved well beyond these – indeed beyond religion itself.

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Remembering Dogen’s death

By Steven Heine
As the founder of Soto Zen, one of the major Buddhist sects in Japan, the birth and death anniversaries of Dogen Zenji (1200-1253) are celebrated every fifty years. It was amply demonstrated at the beginning of the millennium through the outpouring of new publications and media productions, including a kabuki play and TV show as well as manga versions of his biography, that these events help to disseminate the master’s teachings to a worldwide audience yet also turn him into a commercial commodity that is somewhat misrepresented.

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Empathizing toward human unity

By Louis René Beres
According to ancient Jewish tradition traced back to the time of Isaiah, the world rests upon thirty-six just men — the Lamed-Vov. For these men who have been chosen and must remain unknown even to themselves, the spectacle of the world is insufferable beyond description. Eternally inconsolable at the extent of human pain and woe, so goes the Hasidic tale, they can never even expect a single moment of real tranquility.

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