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Harvard University offers free Buddhist scripture course online

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The Harvard University Divinity School.

The Harvard University Divinity School.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — Harvard University’s online platform is now offering a free course called “Buddhism Through Its Scriptures.”

The class is the third installment of the university’s HarvardX series titled, “World Religions through their Scriptures.” While the course is no longer served in an interactive form, every piece of lecture material has been archived for public use, using video for education software that makes it easy to record and store lectures online for students to look back on whenever they so need to.

The course is taught by Charles Hallisey, the Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures at the Harvard Divinity School. There are eight days of lessons presented through both video and text that can be completed on the user’s own time.

The course syllabus reads:

Whether you are new to the study of religion or the study of Buddhism or you have been studying it and/or practicing it for years, this course will provide you with the opportunity to become acquainted with a variety of Buddhist scriptures while guiding you to think about them—their contents as well as their places in Buddhist life—in new ways.

Through a combination of carefully selected readings, both scriptural and informational, as well as exposure to various forms of Buddhist practice such as meditation, art, devotional acts, and literary works, you will also learn how to interpret, reflect upon, and connect Buddhist scriptures to your own life and deepen your understanding of the the world as well as of Buddhism in the process.

Unlike that of Christianity or Islam, Hallisey notes there is no central Buddhist text, however still a multitude of scriptures and writings to be studied. Excerpts from the Lotus Sutra, The Sutra of Golden Light, and The Heart Sutra are all studied within the course, alongside many other Buddhist writings and associated articles.

You can find more information about the course here.

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US and India to hold military drills near the China-India border

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WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — The U.S. and India are preparing for mountain top drills near the Chinese border. It’s a move that’s sure to attract the attention of leaders in Beijing and comes during heightened tension between all the countries, especially after China recently launched missiles over Taiwan in a show of force. Last year’s joint high altitude exercise between the U.S. and India was in Alaska.

A top Pakistani militant who had a $3 million U.S. bounty on his head has been killed along with three others in Afghanistan. Abdul Wali, also known as Omar Khalid Khurasani, was killed in an explosion Sunday while traveling by car.

Diya TV was this year’s media sponsor at the Indiana India Business Council annual gala. This non-profit remains focused on generating economic growth, and strengthening ties between both countries. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Afghan man arrested over murders of four South Asian men in New Mexic

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Diya TV) — The Islamic community is breathing a sigh of relief after one of their own is now under arrest for the murders of four Muslim men. 51 year old Mohamed Syed is denying any involvement in the slayings and will face a judge later this week. Three of the victims are from Pakistan while the other is from Afghanistan. Authorities say Syed knew all the men but the exact motive is unclear at this time. Some outlets are reporting this could be fueled over issues in the Sunni and Shia Muslim community. 

Global outrage continues after the suicide of 30 year old Mandeep Kaur, who left India for New York, searching for a better life. Police say she ended her life after releasing a heart wrenching video, narrating details of torture at the hands of her husband who she claims abused her because she couldn’t have a son. Kaur leaves behind two young daughters. Her family in Indian is now trying to take custody of the children. 

Women’s tennis champ Serena Williams says she is preparing to wind down her stellar career. She has 23 grand slam championships. Williams implied she’s trying to play at the US Open and make it her final tournament later this month.  

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Hindu temple in New York City vandalized in suspected hate crime

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NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Assemblywoman Jennifer Rajkumar held a press conference to denounce a suspected hate crime targeting a Hindu temple in Queens. Authorities say three people toppled a Mahatma Gandhi statue on the property at the Shri Tulsi Mandir. The Indian American elected official says she’s trying to remind everyone that the core tenets of Hinduism are about inclusivity and mutual respect towards one another. This latest incident comes after another Gandhi statue was desecrated in Union Square and other parts of the world.

The list of Indian American executives tapped to lead tech companies continues to grow. Data protection technology developer Cohesity announced Sanjay Poonen is its new CEO. Poonen was VMware’s former Chief Operating Officer.  

The White House, Department of Justice and FBI are still not saying why former President Trump’s residence was raided. On Monday, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents that may have been brought there.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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