Translator: Mansoor Limba
eBook Price: $5.994The one-volume encyclopedia concisely, yet profoundly, deals with such subjects as definition of religion (essentialist, psychological-sociological
Retreat does not only mean withdrawal from the hustle and bustle of daily life; it is an encounter — an encounter with solitude and silence; it is an encounter with your Darling; it is a rendezvous with your Beloved; it is meeting with your Favorite.
Retreat is finding space. It is an exclusive tete-a-tete with you Best Friend.
Silence means the lack of noise and voice. It is the special fast observed by Prophet Zachariah and Blessed Mary. It could be a noisy silence or a voiceless one. It is a definite immunity from oral mistake.
Silence means freedom from the menace of the most dangerous flesh on earth (tongue). It means not only not talking but it is speaking through a voiceless language; it is hearing noises within; it is listening to the voiceless voice within.
Silence means knocking at the door of solitude. It means initially entertaining tumults and agitations of the heart. It is the speaking engagement of the heart.
Attended by 30 participants from South and Southeast Asian countries as well as China, the eight-day intensive Asia-China Peace and Leadership Training Workshop organized and hosted by Jinan University’s Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies included not only modules ranging from conflict analysis and mapping, and international negotiation and conflict resolution to intercultural and non-verbal communication and China’s economy and culture, but only a crash course on Tai Chi.
Referring to a philosophy of the forces of yin and yang in relation to its movements, Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art 武術 practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. And we are lucky enough to have Master Fan Yanwei as our teacher.
Master Fan is a professor of Physical Education in Jinan University and the chief coach in the Chinese martial arts dancing training base. Since 1984 when the Martial Arts Team of Jinan University was founded, Prof. Fan has made significant progress with her team and gained more than 500 medals (including more than 200 gold medals). She is continuously gaining rich international experience through her visits to many countries such as the United States, Germany, France, Japan, and Singapore, among others.
In the four days of morning reflection and Tai Chi exercises, Master Fan would introduce us to the philosophy of the martial art and the meanings of each movement.
At the end of the crash course, what I learn in Tai Chi is that I know nothing about it. It’s an ocean, nay a universe in itself.
Mansoor L. Limba on February 10, 2017
MAKATI CITY (MindaNews / 10 February) – The other day, I attended a convocation program of a high school student.
It was the third in the series for this school year.
As usual, it was a gathering of students, parents and teachers in which ‘top’ students were given recognition. Implicitly, their parents were accorded that recognition, as well. The names of the ‘best’ students in each academic subject were announced, too.
Such a scenario is known to all and sundry, I’m sure. And there are no limits to its concomitant clichés.
At the back of this gathering are the indescribable pressures to all stakeholders – the students, parents, and teachers. The students have to burn the midnight candle in order to keep their respective ranks or even improve the same. The ‘mediocre’ among them have to strive hard so as not to fail in each periodical examination. The parents are so religious in monitoring their kids’ nocturnal rites of studying their lessons, and even in becoming their own kids’ instant tutors. The teachers have to check the test papers and compute the students’ grades most meticulously, for even less than one percent grade difference between that of the ‘first’ and the ‘second’ rank matters a lot.
In this typical set-up, there are the ‘first,’ the ‘second’ and of course, the ‘last’ rank. These ‘lower’ ranks will be seated in front rows, but in public roll call, they would be called last. There seems to have common acknowledgment that the ‘honor’ students are ‘brilliant’ while the ‘average’ are intellectually ‘poor’. The former are impliedly deemed ‘famous’ while the latter ‘infamous’.
This educational setting, regrettably, is too much alien to the etymology or origin of the word ‘school’. Dictionary indicates that the word ‘school’ is derived from the Greek word σχολή (scholē), which originally means ‘leisure’ and also ‘that in which leisure is employed’. In turn, dictionary also tells us that ‘leisure’ means ‘free time when a person can choose what to do’.
Etymologically, therefore, a school is supposed to be a place for play and joy. It is a playground where learning and leisure are rolled into one. It is a tryst for the lovers of Sophia and logos. It is a rose-garden where the learners are jolly bees, untiringly sipping the nectar of knowledge and wisdom.
In that ‘etymological’ school, Dr. Howard Gardner’s 1983 theory of multiple intelligences is truly acknowledged not only theoretically, but more importantly, in practice. It is duly recognized there that every student is talented; that he or she is ‘intelligent’ with respect to the subject or activity he or she is good at and passionate about. In the end, the student will be advised to follow his or her own calling.
Moreover, that school is an arena where the teacher is a ‘leisure-giver’, and not as a ‘lecturer’ and ‘terror’. Far from being pedantic or doctrinaire, she is a provider of free time and breathing space for her co-players who are conventionally called ‘students’ or ‘pupils’. She is a motivator, rather than an intimidator. She is a mentor, rather than a dictator.
Simply put, in that school, pedagogy is playing.
This is why while still perennially searching for that elusive school, I do not find any motivation to post by myself in any social media platform the ‘honors’ of that high school student I mentioned above, who graduated Valedictorian in pre-school, Salutatorian in elementary, and is the consistent Rank 1 this school year.
For me, every student is Top 1 in his or her way.
Whether that etymological school exists or will exist, or not, and whether my quest for it is an exercise in futility or not, only time can tell.
[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]
Murtada Mutahhari, “PHILOSOPHY OF ETHICS,” trans. Mansoor Limba (London: MIU Press, forthcoming), 272 pages.
Table of Contents
About the Author
Chapter 1: What is Ethics?
Chapter 2: Natural Action and Moral Action
Chapter 3: Theory of Emotionalism and the Muslim Philosophers’ Theory
Chapter 4: Conscience Theory
Chapter 5: Theory of Beauty
Chapter 6: Theory on Worship
Chapter 7: Islamic Ethics and Morality
Chapter 8: Self and Non-self
Chapter 9: Knowledge of the Self
Chapter 10: Spiritual and Moral Crises in the Present Age
Chapter 11: The Criterion for Moral Action
Chapter 12: Communist Morality and Russell’s School of Morality
Chapter 13: Question of the ‘Self’ in Ethics
Makati City (Mindanews / 30 May) – Recently, wings of circumstances inadvertently brought me along with a small band of dedicated field educators to the inauguration of the unprecedentedly culturally sensitive T’boli Senior High School program in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Thereafter, we proceeded to the nearby Sitio Tukolefa, Barangay Lamdalag.
In particular, we went to the Manlilikha ng Bayan Center to pay respects to the late Lang S. Dulay, the T’nalak Master Weaver and National Living Treasure Awardee, who passed away exactly a month ago.
Starting with the pounding and stripping of the abaca stems to produce fibers and make them even thinner by coaxing, to the manual dying of the strands and meticulously arranging them on a bamboo frame, and to the month-long backbreaking weaving process, T’nalak fabric is indeed a product of love and passion.
T’nalak is undoubtedly woven by the passionate hands of a fervent lover who is captivated by the charming countenance of beauty, enamored by the enticing glances of arts, and enthralled by the warm embrace of craftsmanship. It is a lasting canvas of Beauty, the Beautiful and the Beautiful-lover.
Lang Dulay is the Dreamer of not only the more than a hundred T’nalak designs, but also of the more important design to preserve her people’s ethnic identity and to pass on the cultural heritage to the generations to come.
She is an eloquent interlocutor with her people about the simultaneous processes of globalization and localization, of homogenization and heterogenization, of fusion and fragmentation. As she weaves, she is most expressively dialoguing, engaging in the perennial dialogue between the logos of tradition and that of post-modernity; between the logos of preservation and that of adaptation; between the logos of isolation and that of integration.
Like a translator who serves as a cultural bridge between the original (text) language and the target (translation) language, the late Master Weaver is a cultural bridge between historical past and the fast-changing future of the T’boli tribe.
As a cultural bridge, her litany is weaving; her voice is her nimble hands; her slogan is silence and concentration; her banner is the roll of T’nalak; and her hymn is the praise for immortality and transcendence.
After bidding farewell to the Center’s attendants before noontime as I had to catch my flight from Metro Manila via Davao City, an adjacent old mosque caught my attention. I asked permission from a young man sitting in front of a small store for me to take a picture of the aging house of worship. And I learned from Faisal Dulay, a Muslim great grandchild of the late Dreamweaver and T’boli icon, that their clan members, numbering around two hundred, who peacefully live side by side in Sitio Tukolefa are followers of different faiths – Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam.
As I was on board the aircraft, I had one more realization: Lang Dulay’s bamboo-built Center is also a school of a parallel living tradition – the ideal tradition of religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding.
Newly Published: LEARNING LOGIC: A SHORT COURSE
Muhsin Gharawiyan, LEARNING LOGIC: A SHORT COURSE, trans. Muhammad-‘Ali Savadi and Maryam Savadi, ed. Mansoor Limba (Manila: AIF, 2015), pp. 176.
About the Book:
Thinking is the movement and attempt of mind between the known and the unknown. It is considered one of the advantages of the human being. For this reason, nāṭiqiyyah which means the power of thinking and intellection is regarded as the distinctive differentia (faṣl) that man has over other animals. No doubt, a human being does not always conclude correctly; rather he sometimes arrives at wrong conclusions. This can be proved by some reasons. The power of thinking, therefore, is something which is basically God-given and inherent, yet human beings may do wrong in utilizing and applying this power to discover the unknown.
Logic, which this book deals with, is like a guidebook that shows us the way of correct thinking, and its rules specify cases of mistakes in thinking. So, logic was born out of the necessity to avoid the occurrence of mistake in thinking.