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Pokemon Go, Kami, and the Invisible Spirits around Us

My first experiences with Pokemon Go have been pleasant ones. One block from home, three monsters appeared on the smartphone screen directly in my path. I saw another off at the distance, but was advised it was too far away. I can see how the idea of invisible monsters around us came from Japan, with its notion of "kami" in the Shinto religion.

According to, kami are "spirits or phenomena that are worshipped in the religion of Shinto. They are elements in nature, animals, creationary forces in the universe, as well as spirits of the revered deceased." Saints and demons from all religious traditions have a similar nature to P-Go's "pocket monsters." I can even imagine medieval Christians taking down demons in their path by acts of penance or special devotions! Tibetan Buddhism, with its rich tantric legacy, is a close match for the sensations of confronting or capturing P-Go elementals.

I am not a game player by nature or inclination, so I may never learn the secrets of buying Pokeballs and deploying them against unseen forces, but it's fun as long as the monsters don't go on the offensive. I understand that once all monsters are captured, there will be a combat of sorts, but I hope we can turn it into a peace rally, don't you?

Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 09:31AM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References3 References

Yoga vs. Exercise: What's the Difference?

At today's noon class in Philadelphia, Dr. Vijayendra Pratap shared some insights into the nature of learning, perspective, and how yoga is different than exercise:

What is the difference between yoga and exercise? Yoga takes you in. Exercise takes you out. Going to a party is exercise. Coming home is yoga.

Students grow and learn from the inside. If the inside is not developed, students may not be ready to handle information coming from outside.

Once you know yourself, you know everything.

When you are not calm and see other people rushing, it is not the other people, it is you who are rushing. When you are calm, the world is calm.

Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 06:09PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References8 References

Harvard offers free online course on world religions

Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 07:24PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References4 References

President Obama delivers address on tolerance, at a mosque

President Obama: "An attack on one religion is an attack on all religions." Here is a link to the February 3 address to the Islamic Society of Baltimore:

Posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 01:28PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

Review of "The Wisdom of the Beguines" by Laura Swan

Review from :

A good overview of the Beguines, who were women who heeded a spiritual calling but did not become nuns from roughly the 12th to 18th centuries in Europe. Beguines lived in communities ("Cities of Ladies"), supported themselves through crafts such as lace-making and professions such as teaching. They took no vows, but lived lives of simplicity and regular spiritual practices such as study of scripture, helping the poor, prayer, and fasting.

Swan's book is a bit dry and could benefit from some maps and photographs of beguinages, but it is well researched and clearly written. Scholars would like a few more citations throughout, but there is a good selection of sources for the reader's further inquiry. This book is worth having if for nothing more than the engaging portrait of a noble woman (not a Beguine, but from that era) on the cover. Roger van der Weyden's Portrait of a Woman in a White Headdress is hypnotic, intriguing, and more captivating even than the Mona Lisa. Look into those eyes and heed that smile if you would know women's experience of religion and life itself in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women's Movement by Laura Swan. BlueBridge, Katonah, New York. 2014


Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 10:17AM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference