Sacred Exchanges: Images in Global Context (NONE)

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  1. Mirrors of the Sacred: Continuity of Traditional Painting in Contemporary Nepal
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  4. Mirrors of the Sacred: Continuity of Traditional Painting in Contemporary Nepal

The yang cures.

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The yin heals. At the close of each workshop we ask, "What did you learn? What are you taking home with you? Here, for the first time, I have found silence — silence in the woods, silence in the yoga. All of us are numb because we do not allow silence. Silence is a quality of the yin. Because the medical system does not yet understand the full range of human needs it wounds people — both doctors and patients.

It does not recognize the full range of human strengths, either. What is needed for the healing of the medical system is what is needed for the healing of the culture. Because we are wounded in the same way as our institutions, when you are trained by an institution your wounds increase. In our training we are actually rewarded for our woundedness and punished for our wholeness. Medical training at the moment is like a disease. We have to recover from it, and many people never do. I am a recovering physician.

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  • The medical system does not trust process. The whole concept of "fixing" and "broken" suggests an insensitivity to the process nature of the world. The essential word of process is "yet. We are all "works in process. I still see what I saw then, but I now recognize that what I am seeing is not deficit but the growing edge in every human being.

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    I am seeing the "yet," the place where God is present, the place where the work happens. Our medical system needs to see human beings as a process. Moreover, it needs to recognize that human process is purposeful. It is a process that involves movement toward greater meaning. People who report near-death experiences also report an ineffable knowing about the purpose of life.

    According to these reports, the purpose of life is to grow in wisdom and to learn how to love better. It is so simple and general a purpose that we are each free to find our own way to do it. To more fully serve life, medicine needs to help people to grow in wisdom and to learn to love better.

    The challenge for us is to shift from being the fixers of the broken to the holders of the "yet" for people who have lost sight of the "yet" and those who do not believe in it. A stanza from a poem written by psychologist Dorian Ross, PhD, after her surgery supports the power of this position. Mother bathing me each morning with hospital rough washclothes but with such tenderness and wish for warm water that my skin did not hurt, it moved out towards her, recognizing at last its own a trust that went deeper than peril, her force becoming mine but in surprising ways.

    It was the cream she put under my eyes each morning, believing that there would be a time again that I would care about beauty believing in this body when I could not. One of the most powerful things we do at the end of the five-workshop ISHI curriculum is ask doctors who have practiced for 20 or 30 years to write a poem that captures for them the meaning of their work.

    What these physicians are really doing is rewriting the Hippocratic Oath, each one recovering the sacred in his or her own way. Is there a way to practice medicine, such that we are grateful for the opportunity to practice medicine? Is there a way to practice life, such that we are grateful for the opportunity to practice life? So that at the end of many years of such practice, we might feel that we had been privileged and had not let the opportunity slip through our fingers?

    The healing of a system and the healing of the world happens one heart at a time. Recovering the Sacred by Rachel Naomi Remem The recovery of the sacred is not an academic nor even a scholarly pursuit. The sacred is an experience. It is also a universal human capacity, and a human need. When this need goes unfulfilled, we may become ill. Furthermore, the sacred is a way of perceiving the world, a way of seeing that is deeply inclusive. There are no experts in the sacred. It is our human birthright.

    Every one of us has the capacity to experience, participate, and manifest the sacred. The recovery of the sacred is not about becoming "something more. Even our idea of spirit may be part of what gets in the way. It is about uncovering and discovering the innate wholeness in ourselves and in the world.

    Mirrors of the Sacred: Continuity of Traditional Painting in Contemporary Nepal

    For back issue go to the CI News Archive. For help go to the Stay Connected page. Comment Contact Privacy Terms of Use. Context Institute. Confined to the limitations of the camp, pupils are taught effectively about a nationalist agenda developed by the Christian-dominated Karenni National Progressive Party KNNP. Education therefore ultimately serves the national struggle of the Karenni against the Burmese Junta. Karenni graduates aim to work in foreign and Karen NGOs, in the health-sector or support the army.

    Many Karen focus on education, as education seems to be the only resource left in the refugee camp as work is not allowed. The teaching of the Holy Scriptures is given high priority.

    The emotional aspect of Christianity in providing hope should not be underestimated. According to my informants, the relationship of people to God in the context of displacement is intensified. This intensification of religious feeling in the camp is also expressed by pastors in the camp. The feeling of committing oneself to God penetrates all spaces in which the refugees live and learn.

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    With memory of a horrible past and illusions of a better life, many are ill-prepared for a second life in the US. On Sundays, the Christian Karen visit the service at the chapel of the camp. Near to the chapel, the bible school at Maela camp is located. Here, the connection of Christianity and Karen nationalism becomes even clearer. Before teaching at Kawthoolei Maela bible school, he has been a professor of theology at the Myanmar Institute of Theology in Yangoon.

    The ministry in the camp does depend on outside support. Due to generous funding from American, Hongkongese, Taiwanese and Korean churches, Kawthoolei Maela Bible College expanded to an officially recognized college in which students come from far places outside the camp to learn about the bible. Maela Bible College thus becomes a key project in the missionary world plans of American and South Korean churches.

    In one showdown, more than five hundred people were baptized in the shallow river by Karen, American, Korean and Japanese missionaries. After a long and emotional speech and sermon given to the crowd of supporters who joined on this day from outside the camp, the baptism went underway, with fifteen people being baptized at a time. The importance of the event was enhanced by the visit of American missionaries and church representatives who work with resettled Karen asylum seekers in the US.

    Although one of the reasons the baptism was hold for practical reasons, as the Thai authorities do not allow regular baptisms in the refugee camps, The baptism was filmed on video and the CD was widely distributed to friends and supporters. However, this solidarity is limited. As many Karen villagers struggle with the capitalist economy and have just enough rice to eat, the refugees are a burden.

    The refugees then try to build their own poor houses with cheap materials and work as wage-laborers for the Thai Karen farmers, who are mostly landowners. Here, I want to give the examples of two villages. After the fall of KNU-Mannerplaw in , and during the dry-season, many Karen flew from poverty and violence, and cross the shallow river. After days in the jungle, they find refuge in the villages, dozens sleeping in cramped rooms.

    People in the village provide shelter, although they many do not have kinship relations or food to spare. After some time, these families try to return or construct their own huts. Plenty of people thus stay on in the houses, especially young people, who lost their parents or relatives. They work as helping hands in the house, without income, but for shelter and food. These people are invisible on the first sight as they live hidden in small huts in the fields. Some people, like Ray, marry with local women, and build their own houses.

    Some people survive by working the land of local people or raise chicken. The assistant to the pastor in the protestant village chapel is a Burmese national who cannot converse in Thai and thus teaches Bible in Karen language. He is graduated from bible school in Maela camp.

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    On every Sunday, the church offers services for parents, for women, for youth. In a warm atmosphere, they pray, study the bible and sing hymns together. Because of the closure of the Catholic Church, prayer, singing and studying is hold in the private space of the house.

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    The Foundation provides educational scholarships for Karen children of poor parents. A Catholic missionary also stays in the village. Ray, a young man, comes from a remote village in Karen state. Ray made his way through the jungle to the Thai border and Meala camp to study.

    Mirrors of the Sacred: Continuity of Traditional Painting in Contemporary Nepal

    Back in Karen state, Ray has heard about the educational opportunities in the refugee camp through mouth-to-mouth propaganda. He employs a friend who prefers to stay in the village and is making a living by raising livestock. This man is a friend of a colonel of the Karen National Union who comes to visit in the village. He left his wife and children in Mae Ra refugee camp, as his children are entitled to free education and food in the camp.