Nickelodeon Featuring the Dharma

Okay, I admit the title of this post is not quite accurate. Actually, it should read “Nickelodeon Featuring the Avatar”.

Since 2005, Nickelodeon has featured an animated series called Avatar the Last Airbender, airing three seasons and winning an Emmy Award in American animated television series. Originally tageted twoards 6-11 year olds, this show has gained popularity among many outside the age bracket – including me. What I find most intriguing about Avatar is that it features a main character, a child monk named Aang, who adheres to Buddhist principles and even talks about basic Buddhist ideas such as forgiveness, nonviolence, and attachment. Though Nickelodeon never directly refers to Buddhism, the fact that one of the most popular and widely watched networks targeted towards children features a hero that succeeds in his journey based upon Buddhist concepts is amazing. I applaud Nickelodeon for producing this show and encourage anyone interested after reading this post to watch it for themselves. 

WARNING: this post MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS for those of you who have not watched all three seasons of Avatar. Continue reading “Nickelodeon Featuring the Dharma”

Ohh yea!

About a month ago I was invited by the Muslim Student Association at my school to attend a talk given by a professor of Islam. The professor proceeded to give a beautiful image of Islam, its practices and meanings, its encouraging of pluralism over evangelism, and its humanistic values.

I had asked why Muslims were to pray five times a day towards Mecca. The practice itself is awe-inspiring, that upwards of 1 billion people perform this act of faith each day. He said, and reminds me that he has always said, “The nature of humanity if forgetfulness. We need reminders.” Prayer was one way of reminding oneself throughout the day about one’s faith and service to God. That it is done by so many people around the world in common spirit must also be a reminder of the communal fellowship that they all share.

That was all I needed to hear.

Continue reading “Ohh yea!”

The Ground of Inspiration

Having spent a goodly amount of time amongst all manner of Buddhist traditions, the academic part of me keeps coming back to the startling similarities that we all share.

However, oddly enough, it is that emotional part of myself, the emphatic part, the part that is moved, that brings me back and back again to the startling difference between traditions and from within the pool of practitioners of varied character in any community. And this, I think, is the difference: Though we may all walk the same path, we are propelled by a myriad of forces – we are dividedly inspired.

This is what inspires me. Continue reading “The Ground of Inspiration”