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Archive for the ‘temple’ tag

Bussy-Saint-Georges, the Town with Built-in Religious Harmony

Photography Credit to Philippe Wojazer/Reuters from the Guardian.

Workmen prepare the European Regional Temple in Bussy-Saint Georges.

by Stephanie Le Bars
from The Guardian Weekly

Hugues Rondeau is the Radical party mayor of Bussy-Saint-Georges, a new town in the Paris suburbs. His taste for “ordered urban space” has led to an innovation: the multi-faith district. On a plot of land just beyond the built-up area, he has authorised the construction of several places of worship.

“Here there will be two Buddhist temples, a mosque, a synagogue, a Chinese evangelical church and an Armenian cultural centre,” said the mayor, a practising Catholic who is convinced that in a secular state the government should not turn a blind eye to religious fact. “Our 30,000 inhabitants are mostly of foreign origin with 45% from Asia,” he said. “We couldn’t deprive them of their religious practice.”

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From Steeples to Domes, Architecture Reflects Religious Diversity

Photo Credit to John Gillis from The Daily News Journal

The pinnacle of Shri Krishna Pranami Mission Hindu Temple in Christiana.

from The Daily News Journal
by Scott Broden and Doug Davis

Religious architecture is all about helping believers worship.

Whether it comes to church bell towers, steeples and crosses or mosque minarets and domes, the designs are ways for the congregation to keep the faith. The Daily News Journal recently visited a number of these houses of worship throughout Rutherford County to learn how architecture plays a role in their religion.

Located in rural Christiana, the 12,799-square-foot Hindu Shri Krishna Pranami temple completed in 2009 is, on the surface, a stark contrast to the traditional homes and farms that make up this tight-knit community. But it’s that rural quality, that “incredible natural beauty” that made the community an ideal fit for the temple and its followers, according to Vippin Aggarwal, speaking on behalf of Temple President Hasmukhbhai Savalia.

Europe’s Biggest Buddhist Temple to Open Outside Paris

The new temple in Bussy Saint Georges, near Disneyland Paris DR/

by Angela Diffley
from Radio France Internationale

With a month to go until its official opening on 22 June, workers are adding the finishing touches to the biggest Buddhist Temple in Europe, situated in a special eco-friendly zone, just outside Paris.

A church, a synagogue, and a mosque in the same environmentally-friendly complex, will eventually complete this special ecumenical venture.

The huge 8000m2 construction in Bussy-Saint-Georges is built mostly in glass, wood, and unrefined concrete dotted with roof gardens. It is set amid extensive grounds filled with fruit trees.

The structure houses both a place of worship and a Buddhist cultural centre, and was designed by the Frédéric Rolland firm of architects.

An area open to the general public will include a vegetarian restaurant, and space for regular calligraphy workshops, meditation sessions and activities such as oriental tea-tasting.

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Rabbi Brad Hirschfield and the Threat of Religious Idolatry

From The Huffington Post,

The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, which coincides this year with sundown on July 19, recalls the collapse of dome-wallancient Judaism’s central religious institution, the Jerusalem Temple. The First Temple, built by King Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians, was, according to the Talmud, destroyed because the Israelites practiced idolatry, rape, incest, and murder. According to the same source, the Second Temple, destroyed by Rome, was destroyed because of casual hatred between people.

The rabbis taught that in each case, a religious institution failed because of the failing of those who worshiped there. In that approach lies an important lesson for all people who look to those outside their own religious community to understand why the institution they love may not be doing as well as they would like.

Rather than cast blame at the feet of others, the sages of the Talmud remind their followers that even for a relatively poor and powerless people, both the roots of past failures and the keys to future success are usually found closer to home than the faithful often imagine. This is not about blaming the victim as much as it is about empowering the victim to take responsibility for their past and reminding them of their capacity to build a better future.

Whether this is a sufficient explanation or not, the rabbis’ approach is worthy of attention. Both of their answers point us toward what is essentially the same problem, one which is painfully present in virtually every religious community functioning today: the privileging of doctrine over people.

The sin cycle of idolatry/improper sex/murder, sometimes called Judaism’s “Big Three,” is defined by the three acts for which one must give up one’s life if asked to commit. In Jewish law, all other transgressions are insignificant compared to saving a life, but not these three. Why? Because in the case of the “Big Three,” transgressors imagine that nothing in the world is more important than themselves and what they want to do. God is made small, and people lose significance altogether.

According to the Sages, the First Temple collapsed because it was supported by people who had life backwards: they put themselves before others, with no limitations. The God which they worshipped was simply a reflection of themselves, never offering corrective exhortation or even an alternative view of reality, and this justified their doing to others whatever they felt like doing, including raping and murdering them. Any Temple which was central to that kind of culture should have collapsed.

When the temples in our life provide nothing but excuses for that which we already want to do, and when they fail to sensitize us to those beyond the temple’s walls, as was apparently the case in ancient Israel, the collapse of those temples is a reasonable, if tragic, result. And the same can be said for the loss of the Second Temple.

The Talmud teaches that casual hatred caused the collapse of the Second Temple, and it tells stories to illustrate what that means. The stories all boil down to the same issue: people, intoxicated with their own interpretation of events, are prepared to hurt and shame other human beings who happen not to share the same understanding of reality. I know that sounds tragically like an all-too-contemporary story.

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