INDIA, November 27, 2015 (Sadhu Vaswani): Every year, November 25th, Sadhu Vaswani's birthday, is celebrated as International Meatless Day and the number of pledges and supporters are growing increasingly. This year pledges were received from all across the globe including; Germany, Spain, London, St. Maarten, Casablanca, Singapore, and the West Indies.
A total of 2,731,424 people pledged to observe 25th November as Meatless Day. In addition, a total of 82,973,044 people supported the Meatless Day. 5,158 people turned vegetarian for life. H.H. the Dalai Lama, two state ministers from Penang, and former president of Indonesia, Ibu Megawati, pledged to observe the Meatless Day.
Peace marches, rallies and vegetarian food festivals were also organized to spread awareness for the cause. Thousands took part in peace marches that were held in Pimpri, Moshi, Pradhikaran, Ahmedabad, Madhepura (Bihar), Ulhasnagar and Bilaspur. In Penang, Mumbai, Pune and Coimbatore, vegetarian food festivals were held to show people of the many vegetarian food options, which were a big draw. Sadhu Vaswani Centers across the globe celebrated Sadhu Vaswani's Birthday and the International Meatless Day.
ENGLAND, November 27, 2015 (BBC): Religious belief has changed sharply in recent years but religious education has not kept pace, says the Goldsmiths, University of London, report. "Content should reflect the real religious landscape," said co-author Prof. Adam Dinham.
The report comes after a High Court ruling that the government made "an error of law" in leaving "non-religious world views" out of a new religious studies GCSE to be taught from next year. Teaching is currently required to reflect mainly Christian traditions while also taking into account the teaching and practices of other principal religions - but official statistics from the 2011 Census showed an increasingly fractured pattern of religious belief, argue the authors.
Daniel Hugill, chairman of the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education, said the key was better training for all teachers of RE. "This report confirms what RE teachers know already, that the students in their classrooms value the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of the phenomena of religion and belief... "In order for every young person to experience high quality religious education we need the Department for Education and school leaders to value and make further investment in teacher training and ongoing professional development."
The practice of yoga is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature into the life of humanity. It is not personal ananda, but the bringing down of the divine ananda, the Satya Yuga, upon the Earth.
-- Sri Aurobindo, (1872-1950), Indian philosopher and reformer
OTTAWA, CANADA, November 22, 2015 (CBC News): A yoga instructor who says her free class at the University of Ottawa was cancelled because of concerns over cultural appropriation believes the student union's issues are misplaced. Cultural appropriation is when a culture that's seen as an oppressor borrows or steals elements of a culture they're oppressing. Scharf said there is also concern over yoga instructors who claim to be experts in the more spiritual aspects of yoga, but aren't.
Jen Scharf said she's been teaching a free yoga class for the university's Centre for Students with Disabilities, which is run by the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, for the last seven years. Scharf says she focuses on the physical benefits of yoga and doesn't play up the spiritual side of it, which she says some instructors can be guilty of. When she checked back in with the center in September, she said she was told by them the class wouldn't be happening because some students and volunteers were uncomfortable with the "cultural issues" involved.
"I guess it was this cultural appropriation issue because yoga originally comes from India," she said on Sunday. "I told them, 'Why don't we just change the name of the course?' It's simple enough, just call it mindful stretching.... We're not going through the finer points of scripture. We're talking about basic physical awareness and how to stretch so that you feel good.
More at source.
PENNSYLVANIA, November 15, 2015 (Bi-College News): A recent disagreement over the presence of religious statues in the Prayer Room in Aelwyd, the Religious House on Cambrian Row, has led the Interfaith Council of Bryn Mawr College to reexamine the way in which different faith groups could best utilize the non-denominational prayer space.
The Interfaith Council was officially established this year as a way of facilitating dialogue between students of all faith groups and non-faith groups. At the first meeting of the Council, certain groups voiced concern that people might feel uncomfortable worshipping their faith in a space that housed other religious symbols.
According to Kayla Schneider-Smith, one of the Interfaith Student Co-Coordinators, the question arose in response to a Hindu shrine that belongs to the Dharmic Students Association. Schneider-Smith said that the shrine is "very visible" and that groups on campus had "differing perspectives" as to whether the room should be "an interfaith space, where everyone can keep their different symbols of worship and co-exist together, or whether it should be...a neutral space".
Schneider-Smith gives credence to both sides of the discussion. "On one hand, we think, as interfaith coordinators, it's a really moving idea to have a lot of different religions and representations of faith coexist in one room together, because that's what we're trying to promote: interfaith on campus. But on the other hand we want everyone to feel comfortable, that's also our job." She advised those attending the meeting to discuss the issue with their respective groups.