Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 14 November 2006
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 04:49

Nepal: working for nature and social awarreness

Here is an example of rising environmental and social awareness in Nepal: Manoj is a young student who dedicates himself to environmental issues in Nepal. He creates many educational programs about the wild animals for kids and he also gets involved with conservation. His dream is to become a veterinarian and to contribute himself to environmental education. Also, he has been helping the village women to join some workshops and learn some handicraft to support their families.

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Wednesday, 15 November 2006 04:27



Wednesday, 15 November 2006 02:11

Introduction to Spiritual Computing

In this animation, Tibo illustrates and interprets Benoit Vermander’s article on Humankind Spiritual Computer (see below).

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Wednesday, 15 November 2006 02:11

Introduction to Spiritual Computing

In this animation, Tibo illustrates and interprets Benoit Vermander’s article on Humankind Spiritual Computer (see below).

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Wednesday, 15 November 2006 00:00

Humankind’s Spiritual Computer

eRenlai does not pretend to represent Humankind’s spiritual computer - but here is the vision that inspired the founding team.

I remember Yves Raguin (1912-1998), founder of the Ricci Institute, telling me one day how much he had always desired to see Chinese spiritual resources “fully integrated into humankind’s spiritual computer.” His ruminations on Chinese classics, his wanderings through comparative spirituality were manifestations of his wish to build up bridges and channels through which traditions and cultures could reciprocally illuminate the intuitions that were at their core.

Yves Raguin used a typewriter all his life and never browsed the Internet. He had only a vague understanding of what a computer was like, but knew well enough the point relevant for his metaphor: a computer was a machine processing the data entered into it as an integrated whole in which connections could be drawn in all directions. As all metaphors, this one has its limitations, but it does tell us a few things of the utmost importance

Building on it, let us ask ourselves, supposing there is something like a Humankind spiritual computer, what is the machine composed of? Its basic components are surely our personal experiences and the ways we try to express them, experiences that evolve in an ever growing network of meaning if we ponder over them in the course of our life, pursuing with courage a process of growth and introspection. This constitutes the first level of spiritual computing.

The second level is shaped by our encounters – not the formal encounters that take place during official colloquiums, inter-faiths gatherings or academic symposiums, but rather in-depth encounters that, by chance or miracle, happen between people able to listen and to speak to each other in truth, humility and mutual recognition. These encounters will nurture the life of each of the protagonists, and give new dimensions to their quests. Such quests remain very personal but also develop into shared endeavors.

At a third level, spiritual computing operates on another class of encounters: we are sometimes moved by the words and deeds of someone whom we never met, because of the distance in time and space, but whose quest strangely resonates with ours. In some way, this person becomes our spiritual father or mother. “Generational” spiritual lineages are established this way, creating a growing solidarity throughout the ages and cultures. These connections make humankind’s spiritual computer able to process new content and to enrich the network of meaning that runs through it.

The “computer” metaphor has other important lessons to offer us. Spiritual quest, as reflected in many movies or videogames, often appears as a drama: it goes with epic battles, struggles against monsters, gains or losses of strength or wisdom, the possession of treasures or secrets…. In some respect, these images possess a real value, and can be found in spiritual literature well before the computer age. The woman or the man who digs into her/his inner world will need to undertake struggles, meet with negative or positive powers, and strive to conquer a treasure of infinite value. However, these images can be misleading. Spiritual struggles are normally won through acceptance and dispossession rather by sheer will power and violence. Spiritual victories are of a paradoxical nature: it is generally when one has lost something precious that the inner world opens up. The quest for spiritual treasures has to do with the art of “being’ rather than with that of “doing’ or “knowing.” A spiritual quest is not as colorful as a videogame. Most of the time, its struggles take place within the monotony of ordinary life, in secret and solitude.

As I have said, people who strive for being true to what they obscurely feel called to become recognize each other when they happen to meet. Sometimes, their spiritual friendship will manifest itself through a single encounter, even if this encounter will stay in their recollection for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, a spiritual friendship will evolve and develop during a great number of years, providing the partners with an invaluable support. The expression this friendship takes throughout time is certainly one of the vital components of our spiritual computer.

Spiritual quest is the most noble and important of all the pursuits a human being can engage in. It is even nobler than the quest for scientific truths. Actually, when it is pursued humbly and reflexively, scientific inquiry is very much akin to spiritual quest. The strange thing is that, contrarily to scientific truths, spiritual discoveries are in danger of vanishing with time, especially if the way they were expressed by a certain person in a certain context is not supported, nurtured and enriched by a living tradition. The overall spiritual quest of humankind goes through ups and downs. At each period, discoveries must be made again. The quest always starts anew. When they are lucky, pilgrims will find masters and elders along the way. Sometimes, their efforts are drastically constrained by culture and society and they must struggle by themselves. Their road will be especially long and painful.

Coming back to our original metaphor, we now feel that our quests, no matter how lonely they might be, have a universal meaning. Computing combines discrete elements into a whole. The fidelity to the exploration of one’s Self, the fidelity to the mission that is proper to each of us, this is what determines the ultimate destiny of humankind. However modest and discreet one person’s spiritual quest appears to be, it bears enormous importance for the global community. The intertwining of spiritual endeavors creates the tapestry of our human collective adventure. The final shape and colors of this tapestry no one of us can predict. But what comprises its texture is processed without interruption through our immaterial computer. Each time we are struggling on our path, let us be mindful of the connections that make humankind One. The beauty and drama of our human adventure go beyond the ones evoked by the best videogames – and only our virtual, spiritual computer can process our collective endeavor in its complexity and ultimate simplicity.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006 21:47

Local intiative for durable developement

Tian Jun was a senior journalist. After reporting and promoting a river project in Chengdu, she shifted her career into NPO, concentrating on river and water issues. Her NPO, called "Rivers and the team", is not only investigating river problems but also helping some farmers in villages to develop their lands in a sustainable way.
An excellent artilce on NGOs in China, from IHT

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