Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Diana Eck, is she too optimistic? At first, I didn't know what to think of her writing or her book. In the introduction and first chapter, I was a little bored and frankly didn't know where she was going with the tremendous amount of information she was pouring into my head as I read each page. I mean, every paragraph contains so many different names of people, so many dates, so many facts of this and that, and so many names of temples, churches, etc. It is a little hard to keep everything straight, but after reading the million of pages Dr. Rein assigned to the class (I am sticking by my comment that it was absurd) I must say that Eck is really growing on me. I enjoyed what interpretations she had to make, even if they were among the very few, and can see how certain things she concludes make sense, although I haven't personally witnessed these things happening.
However, before I elaborate on that issue, I would like to say something that I wanted to say in class on Monday, but there wasn't enough time. The issue of what is pluralism exactly came up in class and I was hoping it did because I particularly liked what she had to say about the matter. In my opinion and this is what I wanted to say in class, pluralism is what is illustrated in the following quote, "When I saw a hundred thousand people there, I could not believe that I had been asked to pray. For the first time, I felt America was my home," said by Dr. Singh who was asked to pray at the Lincoln Memorial. In pretty much all of the examples that Eck provides us with depicting people reaching out towards one another and thus the optimistic view of things, you have people engaging with each other and taking the time to get to know one another. The differences are acknowledged and put aside and people participate with each other just like Dr. Singh, a Sikh immigrant, was asked to participate in the commemoration of the March on Washington.
Ok, now going back to my first observation about what she was talking about in her Hinduism and Buddhist chapters. Crap, I can't find the part in the book where I thought she best described what I am talking about. I hate when you can't find something in a book because you didn't mark the place. Well, I will do my best in trying to explain what I want to talk about. With all of her examples of the Hindu and Buddhist temples being built everywhere in the United States, I just feel that the teachings of these temples have evolved and adapted into American Hinduism and Buddhism. Somewhere in these two chapters, I remember her saying that one Zen master (maybe it was someone else, I can't find it) possessed both qualites of American style and traditional Hindu practice. It was seen through her teachings that she had adapted to the world she now lived in, thus creating American Hinduism. I am having a lot of trouble explaining what I mean because I can't find what I am alluding to in the book. So, I apologize. I felt that Eck also showed this through the geographical location, landscape, and physicality of the buildings themselves that have been built all of the U.S. in almost every major city. Ok, I am going to try to find what I was looking for in the book and hopefully I can find it for class tomorrow.


Blogger Nathan Rein said...

Great point. Actually this sounds a little like Mohsin's point in one of his very first blog postings. You know which one I mean? It's this post where he discusses the idea of the "original principles" of a religion. He's talking about transplantation of a religious tradition onto American soil enabling the reconstruction of a purer form of the faith, — and on the other hand, you're talking about the emergence of something new as a result of that same transplantation, but I wonder if in a way you're not both thinking of almost the same phenomenon. Does that make sense?

6:53 PM  
Blogger Gabrielle said...

No, it does not Dr. Rein. Sorry.

4:50 PM  

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