Exhumator Esoterics

Encyclopedia of Spiritual — Letter E - EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN WORLD RELIGIONS

EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN WORLD RELIGIONS
Exhumator Esoterics
Exhumator Esoterics





There is a growing feeling on the part of some leaders within the Muslim world (e.g., the International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilization in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), and especially in the West, that there should be more of a focus on the Qur'anic concept of tarbiyyah (cultivating), which seeks to link modern concerns with the Qur'an and interpret its teachings in concert with issues and information facing youth and families today. Many mosques in the West that have adopted this philosophy have established Islamic schools consisting of four basic types: fulltime, part-time, weekend, and home. A wide array of colorful, well-designed materials have been produced to support instruction including magazines, books, CDs, electronic games, and computer software that address such topics as Muslim history, Muslim science and scientists, Arabic and Urdu lessons, stories, biographies, instruction on hajj, the Qur'an, and prayer, as well as contemporary concerns such as sex education. This effort in the United States has received major support from the International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Islamic Schools League of America. ISNA sponsors large annual conferences and printed proceedings. Two large Muslim youth organizations in the United States are the Young Muslims Brothers and Young Muslims Sisters who hold regional and national meetings.

Buddha advised (Samyuttanikaya V:29-31) that youth should acquire the seven auroras of a good life to become truly noble. They are (1) finding wisdom through the personal example of a friend, (2) developing discipline to one's life, (3) aspiring to learning and productive action, (4) realizing one's full potential through training, (5) recognizing cause and effect, (6) becoming self-aware (mindful), and (7) thinking wisely. While there have been Young Men's Buddhist Associations in many countries starting with the first in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), in 1906, there are few organizations that would be viewed as "educational organizations" within Buddhism, except those that produce publications targeted principally to non- Buddhists. This appears to be due to the fact that sikkha (education) within Buddhism is largely a result of self-discipline, training, and personal enlightenment that does not lend itself to communal forms of learning. Some notable exceptions exist where instruction for children and youth is explicitly conducted, such as the Clear Vision Trust in the United Kingdom, the Nyima Dzong community in Alpes-de- Haute-Provence, France, and the increasing numbers of Dhamma schools linked to Vihara (Buddhist "churches") in the United States. These schools provide weekly sessions of 1 to 2 hours for children where Jataka stories (Buddhist parables and fables) are employed to teach about character. Buddhism as a formal part of the Religious Education curriculum has been required by law in Austria since 1983, and the Religious Education national curriculum within England prescribes the study of Buddhism as part of the Key Stage 2 Curriculum.

Hinduism also seems to lack significant educational organizations other than those engaged in reaching non-Hindus, although there are ways in which persons may study Hinduism, for example, obtaining a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) or Advanced/Secondary (A/S) level of educational qualification in Hinduism as part of Religious Studies within the formal English educational system. In recent years, Hindus in the United States and Great Britain have also generated Web sites and printed and media materials for children to learn about Hindu dharma and its origination in the land of Bharat (India), their motherland.

Shinto derives its name from a Chinese word for "ways of the gods." The Japanese people believe in kami, deities and noble people from history, including the ancestors of the Japanese people and Japanese ruling dynasties, and venerate them. There are four basic kinds of Shinto: state, shrine, sectarian, and folk. These kinds of Shinto are interrelated in the lives of most Japanese who honor kami who protect and advance the state of Japan, kami who are influential persons in Japanese history, and kami who are their family ancestors. Most homes have an altar (kami-dana, lit., "shelf of gods") and the family regularly worships there. This familial setting is where education about Shinto is first passed on and reinforced for children. The All Japan Shinto Youth Council exists for young Shinto priests, and there are general educational or social organizations in Japan including the All Japan Nursery School Association, the All Japan Ujiko Youth Council, and the All Japan Shinto Youth Conference.