Vedanta in a Nutshell

Vedanta is one of the six traditional schools of Hindu philosophy. The word Vedanta means “the end of the Vedas.” The Vedas are ancient, revealed hymns wherein Hindu religion originates. They contain writings known as the Upanishads, which hold the kernels of Vedanta philosophy. Veda means “knowledge.” The implication is that the end of all knowledge is contained in the …

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Did They Really Say These Things?

We have all at times read seemingly unbelievable statements from saints. We will briefly analyze three such sayings. Hasidism is a well-known spiritual movement within Judaism. Rabbi Israel Friedman of Ruzhin (1796–1850), honored as a great tsaddik, a revered holy man, is said to have called miracles “child’s play.” Huh? On the surface, this is an incredible assertion. However, upon …

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Spiritual Role Models

It’s always helpful for us to have examples of those who successfully walk the spiritual path. We can benefit in many ways from following what they have learned, and in many instances we can emulate them. These individuals can serve as role models, and their lives can inspire us in our own spiritual pursuits, especially when they hail from the …

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H. H. The XIV Dalai Lama

I recently discovered a link to occasional live events that are broadcast directly from Dharmsala or other locations in India featuring teachings with the Dalai Lama. There is in fact a teaching tonight and tomorrow night, July 27 and July 28 (U.S. time), on Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. On July 29 (our time), the Dalai …

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What Animals Can Teach Us About Love

There is a delightful new book, Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals, written by Laurie Zaleski, who runs the Funny Farm Animal Rescue, a non-profit animal sanctuary located in southern New Jersey. The book weaves a remarkable narrative about animals that – get this – get along, and often much better than their human counterparts. Among the …

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Attainment or Unfoldment?

And so, the question is posed: When undertaking our spiritual pursuits, are we attaining something we don’t have, or are we unfolding something we already possess?  Well, that depends … From the perspective of one’s ego, we attain enlightenment, which we now lack, and we strive with all our might when undergoing spiritual practices to realize our goal. We put …

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Merging with the Infinite

In Vedanta philosophy, the ultimate reality is often referred to as Satchitananda. This Sanskrit term is wonderfully illustrative, as it describes three inseparable and interrelated attributes of Brahman, or God, in the context of Hinduism: (1) Sat, or the underlying Essence of all things; (2) Chit, or Consciousness; and (3) Ananda, or Bliss. The ultimate reality is the Essence of …

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Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi

There are said to be approximately 11,000 Catholic saints whom the Catholic Church officially recognizes. However, a great many of these saints are anonymous, such as the 800 residents of Otranto, Italy, who were canonized on May 12, 2013 because they were killed in 1480 for refusing to convert to Islam after Ottoman Turks had sacked their town. Many other …

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