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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 While the course is no longer served in an interactive form, every piece of lecture material has been archived for public use, using video for education software that makes it easy to record and store lectures online for students to look back on whenever they so need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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Images show China building a development on Indian border

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Images show China developing border area by Bhutan, India | Diya TV News

CHINA-BHUTAN border (Diya TV) — New satellite images appear to show China built a development in the Himalayas along the border with India and Bhutan that was the site of a standoff in 2017.

Satellite images last month from US-based Maxar Technologies show there’s been construction all year long, including new military storage bunkers.

Chinese officials say the buildup was within the scope of their sovereignty. China and Bhutan, who do not have diplomatic relations, both lay claim to that Doklam region.

Vice President-Elect Joe Biden officially introduced his nominee for Secretary of State Tony Blinken, a veteran of the Obama Administration. Blinken during an Indian Independence Day event held by the Biden-Harris campaign said strengthening ties with India is a high-priority of the new administration. We’ll profile his career and what US-India ties will look like with him at the helm.

Watch what Blinken had to say during that campaign event here: https://youtu.be/8VjMkEZLiP0?t=960

A stone statue of Hindu goddess Maa Annapoorna stolen more than a century ago and found in Canada will be returned to India. The statue is believed to be originally from Varanasi.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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U.S., India, Japan & Australia complete Malabar exercise

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U.S., India, Japan & Australia complete Malabar exercise | Diya TV News

MALABAR ISLANDS, India (Diya TV) — Maritime forces from the U.S., India, Japan and Australia completed Phase II of the exercises dubbed Malabar in the Arabian Sea. The U.S. State Department thanked India in a tweet for hosting the effort by “The Quad” that promotes a free and open Indo-Pacific against a growing Chinese presence in the region.

The state of Michigan officially certified its election, formally granting President-Elect Biden its 16 electoral votes. And while President Trump continues to litigate in the hopes of overturning the outcome of the election, to date, he’s lost more than 30 cases. And now the General Services Administration informed the President-Elect he will be able to get the funding and documents needed  to start the formal transition in government.

Indian American Mala Adiga was appointed by President-Elect Joe Biden to be the Policy Director for his wife Jill, who will be the First Lady. Adiga is an alum of the Obama administration, as well as the Biden Foundation.

Pakistani American Dr. Umair Shah was appointed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to be Washington State’s Secretary of Health. Shah currently serves as executive director and local health authority for Harris County Public Health in Texas. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Modi thanks troops for thwarting terror plot

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Modi thanks troops for thwarting terror plot | Diya TV News

JAMMU and KASHMIR, India (Diya TV) — Indian Prime Minister Modi thanked security forces for unraveling a terrorist plot by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad. Four men suspected of plotting a new attack on the anniversary of the 26/11 attacks were killed during a gunfight with Indian armed forces at a checkpoint in Jammu. Their truck was loaded with a cache of weapons and explosives. Modi is now reviewing the security apparatus along the international border and the Line of Control with Pakistan amid this infiltration.

Terrorism was a major theme of the annual BRICS summit featuring Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was hosted by Russia virtually. Prime Minister Modi said terrorism is the biggest challenge world is facing today, adding “countries that support the terrorists are held accountable.” Russian President Vladmir Putin said India and China may start producing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19.

Donald Trump Jr., President Trump’s eldest son, tested positive for coronavirus. His father and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle and many others in the Trump inner circle have had the virus over the last few months. A spokesman said Trump Jr. learned his diagnosis earlier this week, but has no symptoms and is quarantining in his cabin.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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