On Wednesday, February 13 and 20, UNO Professor Dr. Michele Desmarais will explore the practices of Buddhism and Hinduism. Dr. Desmarais is an associate professor of Religious Studies and a member of the Native American Studies faculty at UNO.

In the first week Dr. Desmarais will discuss Hinduism, its history and sacred texts, and how it has evolved from its origins from around 200 BCE to the present.

I’ve always found both Hinduism and Buddhism to be fascinating philosophies. Many people mistake them for religions in the Western sense, with a theological hierarchy and central authority, but this is not the case. Hinduism is much more free form in its varied practices.

I may have forgotten much from my World Religions class, but I remember enough to look forward to Dr. Desmarais’ lectures here at Temple Israel. Class begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Milder Center after family dinner.

And for a quick taste of Hinduism, check out this great animated film, Sita Sings the Blues, made by Nina Paley, which takes an ancient Hindu epic poem, the Ramayana, animates it and sets it to the old jazz music of singer Annette Hanshaw. It’s really a marvelous film, with lovely animation set to the sort of music you don’t hear much of these days.

Hope to see you Wednesday evening!