Tsunami Mantras

Here are some mantras to help with the tsunami.  They come from a Mongolian living in the U.S.  We both have family in Japan; our family members are safe, but some of their friends are still unaccounted for.

The Mongolian has been posting these YouTube links on  Facebook, along with links to news updates. (If you think its interesting, and you’re on Facebook, you might try a “friend” request.)

An explanation of the mantras:

Japanese believe the first historical “tsunami” – Mongol invasion was reverted by the meditation and chanting
Dalai Lama recommended this sutra

From the Dalai Lama‘s Facebook page:

…His Holiness felt it would be very good if Japanese Buddhists were to recite the Heart Sutra on this occasion. Such recitation may not only be helpful for those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future. Prayers to recite the Heart Sutra one hundred thousand times were being organized in Dharamsala for this purpose.

The Heart Sutra

般若心経 The Heart Sutra (5:01)(The language in the scroll looks to me like Chinese.)

Buddhist Chant – Heart Sutra (Japanese) Hannya Shingyo (5:47)(I don’t know if it’s the language or the particular rendition, but this one sounds particularly harsh to me.)

More Tsumani mantras

The Mongolian explains:

these mantras are supposed to save from disasters, they are in Tibetan, the first one is translated into Mongolian, are supposed to work more voiced better

The image in the first one is White Tara, I think.
“Цагаан шүхэрт бурханы магтаал” (4:28):

“Burxany nom – Ariun san” (1:15)(A nice series of religious images accompanies the mantra.)

“Burxany nom – Megzem” (1:28) (with same introduction as previous video):

“om mani padme hum” (33:41–but the chant is actually less than 24 minutes, there is dead time at the end of the video):

White Tara sutra

The image above is White Tara.  In Nepal there is also Green Tara and Vajra Jogini, who flies naked over the city.  In Tibetan her name is Tsagaan Dari Ekh, which gets very few google results.  She’s not even on Wikipedia. Says the Mongolian,

it’s White Tara sutra, a sacred text in Tibetan, for the people not knowing Tibetan would work as mantra, or maani in Mongolian, people just attribute some healing/ protecting powers to the sounds of the mantra

There is an audio of a White Tara sutra  here, but the Mongolian visitor has supplied a link for the sutra on YouTube:

Happy March 8 Paczki Day

“Paczki Day?” Now what.

Pronounced “pole-ski”, this is a Polish delicacy famous at Lent, as in “I’m giving up Polski for Lent”. I’m not Polish and my denomination is not known for giving up anything at Lent that cannot be given up the rest of the year as well, but Chicago is an ethnic town and I was eager to have the experience of giving these Polski things up for Lent. What is the best Polski? Anything covered with sugar, I was assured. I obtained one to run through the microwave for breakfast in the morning.

It was coated with sugar. The inside was a sweet, sticky mass of red fruit filling. I can honestly say that if there is one thing in the universe that should be given up for Lent, this is it. Since it was Fat Tuesday I decided to get a small bottle of Polish liqueur as well. The neighborhood favorite is Old Krupnik Polish Honey Liqueur, 80 proof and “prepared from bees (sic) honey and various spices and aromatic herbs according to Polish recipes many hundred years old”. I would sample it with my Australian port.

The product on the left is Hardy’s Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny 18.0% alcohol by volume, an eight year old product of South Eastern Australia. On the right is a partially empty bottle of the very red De Bartoli Willowglen NV Old Tawny Port, 17.5% alcohol, age unknown, product of Bilbul NSW, Australia. The Polish liqueur (in the middle) would have been all right if it hadn’t been upstaged by the port. Initially it had a very strong alcohol odor, but after some of that flashed off, there was a very flavorful and complex honey taste. But, what can I say, I have developed a taste for Australian port.

The amber glasses I discovered in a second hand store. I often meet extraordinary and unique people in these stores while looking for books. On this occasion, when I was checking out, a lady admired the glasses, and I said I didn’t know what I would ever use them for. Champaign, she answered. You will meet the right man, she predicted, and you will drink champaign from them together.

Who knows, maybe that will happen. She did seem very confident. In the meantime, I’ll take the Australian port.

Posted in Religion. Comments Off on Happy March 8 Paczki Day

Fake anti-Muslim video identified

Over a year ago, I posted a link to a fairly obvious anti-Muslim (and anti-Obama) video of some children reciting something, titled “School Children Sing Praises of Obama”. The video “translation” subtitles claimed the children were saying:

The Kenyan Muslim
Will soon destroy the great Satan from within
He will speak of hope and change.
but the greedy Americans will be defeated!
Yes we can…


The video echoed around the blogosphere for a while and even got as far as Snopes without ever being identified.

Thanks to someone who left an anonymous comment, the content of the video has now been identified. Both children are reciting from the Koran. The first child is reciting the beginning of Surah al Mulk and the second child is reciting the beginning of Surah al-Tariq.  Here are the two verses in transliteration (pronunciation of the Arabic written in the Latin alphabet), in Arabic, and in an English translation by Pickthall.

Thanks, anonymous.


Sura al-Mulk 67:1-3 Sovereignty الملك

Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi

1. Tabaraka allathee biyadihi almulku wahuwa AAala kulli shayin qadeerun

2. Allathee khalaqa almawta waalhayata liyabluwakum ayyukum ahsanu AAamalan wahuwa alAAazeezu alghafooru

3. Allathee khalaqa sabAAa samawatin tibaqan ma tara fee khalqi alrrahmani min tafawutin fairjiAAi albasara hal tara min futoorin

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

تَبَٰرَكَ ٱلَّذِى بِيَدِهِ ٱلْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌ ﴿١﴾

ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلْمَوْتَ وَٱلْحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًۭا ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْغَفُورُ ﴿٢﴾

ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَٰوَٰتٍۢ طِبَاقًۭا ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِى خَلْقِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ مِن تَفَٰوُتٍۢ ۖ فَٱرْجِعِ ٱلْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍۢ ﴿٣﴾


Sura al-Tariq The Nightly Visitor الطارق

Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
1. Waalssamai waalttariqi
2. Wama adraka ma alttariqu
3. Alnnajmu alththaqibu
4. In kullu nafsin lamma AAalayha hafithun
5. Falyanthuri alinsanu mimma khuliqa
6. Khuliqa min main dafiqin

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
وَٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلطَّارِقِ ﴿١﴾
ٱلنَّجْمُ ٱلثَّاقِبُ ﴿٣﴾
إِن كُلُّ نَفْسٍۢ لَّمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌۭ ﴿٤﴾
فَلْيَنظُرِ ٱلْإِنسَٰنُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ ﴿٥﴾
خُلِقَ مِن مَّآءٍۢ دَافِقٍۢ ﴿٦﴾

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
1. By the heaven and the Morning Star
2. - Ah, what will tell thee what the Morning Star is!
3. - The piercing Star!
4. No human soul but hath a guardian over it.
5. So let man consider from what he is created.
6. He is created from a gushing fluid


Klingon Bible

I was looking for Latin dictionaries to add to my link page, and came across a biblical translation tool to compare the Latin Vulgate with 5 other translations.  At the bottom of the page was an additional translation tool for translating the Bible into  several other versions, including Esperanto and Klingon.  The Bible in Klingon? After laughing hysterically, I tried the links, but they were all broken.  But surely someone somewhere has translated the Bible into Klingon, right?

Sure enough, this translation tool will, among other things, give various Bible verses in parallel translations of the Klingon Language Version, World English Bible, Mando’a Language Version, King James Version, Douay Rheims Version (Roman Catholic), and the Vulgate Version. There is also a Klingon English lexicon and an automated word lookup tool for phrases like “Where do you keep the chocolate?” in Klingon, Romulan, and Vulcan, along with an explanation of why translation tools don’t work.

For those in a meditative mood, there are also several podcasts at the bottom with actual Christian religious meditations based on Klingon translation of words in the 23rd Psalm.  “The paths of righteousness” becomes “mid-course correction” ,  “worst case scenario” is “the shadow of death”, and “restores my soul” is “rebuilt-like new”.

Whoever you are, MrKlingon, thanks for the laugh.

John and Jesus in Arabic

Do Arab Christians and Moslems have different names for the same biblical personages?

I remember a Jordanian Moslem from the town where Herod had his palace (the one where the Baptist was beheaded) telling me the name for John was Yohanna.


Checking the account of John the Baptist in an Arabic Bible we find in Matthew 3:1 the name used is يُوحَنَّا Yohanna. Jesus, from Matthew 1:1 is يَسُوعَ Yasua.  While we’re there let’s get from Matthew 1:16 the names of Mary مَرْيَمَ (Mariyam) and Josephيُوسُفَ  (Yousef), parents of Jesus. In the same verse there is also the word for Christ الْمَسِيحَ –Maseeya.

But in Arabic there is more than one Mariyam and more than one Yousef. Aaron, brother of Moses had a sister Miriam the prophetess. In Exodus 15:20 she is called مَرْيَمُ Miriam, same as the mother of Jesus. Joseph يُوسُفَ (Yousef) who was sold into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 39:2), the same as the carpenter Joseph. There is also more than one Jesus, the name Joshua يَشُوعُ (Yashua) (son of Nun and aide to Moses) being cognate (?) with Jesus, but not spelled the same here in Numbers 11:28.  But isn’t s/sh a shiboleth somewhere in the Bible?*


On to the Koran. First, Jesus. Koran 3:45 has the names Jesus عِيسَى (Issa),  Maryيَٰمَرْيَمُ (Mariyam) and Messiah ٱلْمَسِيحُ (messeeya) . A few passages further on (3:39), John the Baptist is called بِيَحْيَىٰ Yahya. Apparently Joseph the carpenter doesn’t rate a mention in the Koran, but Joseph who was sold into slavery to Egypt has his own book of the Koran where he is called يوسف Yousef, or in the fully voweled classical Koran version يُوسُفَ.

And in Spanish (from the same Bible portal as the Arabic):

John the Baptist-Juan el Bautista



Joseph-José (The Egyptian Joseph is also José.)

Joshua (son of Nun, Moses’ aide)=Josué (hijo de Nun, asistente de Moisés)


*Judges 12:5-6:

5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the Gileadites asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he replied, “No,” 6 they said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’ ” If he said, “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.

The Hebrew for “messiah” appears to be מָשִׁ֫יחַ transliteration: mashiach, phonetic spelling: (maw-shee’-akh).


Why would someone deny themselves food and water during daylight hours for the entire month of Ramadan, one might ask?  One word.  Qateyef. (pronounced something like (guh-TAH-yuf). When Ramadan starts, these qateyef grills spring up like mushrooms all over Jordan. Here is the shop of Abu Ali, the best qateyef maker in all of Amman, and the line waiting for his qateyef that stretches five floors down a stone staircase.



And here is how to make them.

Buy a package of freshly made qadeyef at your local Arab store (the mosques ladies make them at home with Aunt Jemima pancake mix).


Put your favorite filling–okay, “favourite”– on half of the qateyef.  Fold it over and pinch the edges together (they are a little bit sticky). On the left is cheese “mostly ricotta” mixed by the bakery (but with a little extra sweet and salt flavor) and on the right is chopped walnuts.

2cheese and walnut

At this point, some Jordanian cooks will float the qateyef briefly in a boiling attar bath.  I don’t do this because 1) they come out too sweet and 2) I can’t keep them from falling apart in the pot.  So I heated these in a pan in the toaster oven. Here is the attar that will get poured over them:


The ingredients are sugar, water, orange flower water, and lemon juice. I guessed at the proportions and it came out perfectly.  Put the warm qateyef on a plate and drench them with the attar. Then enjoy.  Many like to smoke an after iftar argila. This one has apple flavored tobacco (tufaa تفاحة ). The tobacco goes in the top, covered with aluminum foil with holes poked in it.  A glowing piece of charcoal is placed on the top.  In the U.S., argila charcoal is hard to come by, so many use self lighting charcoal that comes in commercially prepared rolls wrapped in aluminum foil.  All you do is remove one perfectly round piece of charcoal, hold it over a lighter or a burner until it is glowing, then put it on top of the aluminum foil.

4qadayef with argila

I am still missing a couple details for Ramadan.  For one thing I haven’t done any charitable works yet, so I will have to start sorting my clothes and find something to donate. The other thing is that one-thirtieth of the Koran is usually read every day, but it is done in a special mosque service called taraweh. The mosque is really too far away to participate in that–on a regular basis at least–so I may have to find a substitute reading activity. Already I have some ideas.

Posted in Arab culture, Religion. Tags: , . Comments Off on Qateyef


Iftar إفطار means “breakfast” in Arabic (pronounced “IF-tar”).

During Ramadan, when the sun sets, it is traditional to break the fast with dates and water. (From sunup to sundown, one abstains from food, water, sex, and tobacco.) Then comes iftar–the evening “breakfast”–often served to large crowds as part of the daily charity requirement of Ramadan.

Here is a traditional Arab meal: pita bread “hobez” خبز , felafel فلافل , hommous حمّص‎ (with olive oil–zait zaytoon زيت زيتون and sumac السماق , a red powder–sprinkled on top), and black tea with fresh mint (shai na-na شاي بالنعناع ), the mint having been pilfered from my nicely spreading Jordanian mint plant (thank you, nameless mosque ladies) the last time I went across the street to my old landlord’s building to mow the lawn.

There will be desert حلويات heluwayat, oh yeah.

Ramadan Kareem moon

I have finally gotten around to making a Ramadan Kareem image for my side bar.  This image of the moon is courtesy of NASA.ramadan kareem

Posted in Arab culture, Religion. Comments Off on Ramadan Kareem moon

Ramadan Kareem – images

Ramadan Kareem. رمضان كريم

[The traditional greeting means “Ramadan is generous”.]

Some Ramadan images :

ramadan kareem

ramadan kareem mosque

ramadan tan1

Image credits:

#1 Yellow with mosque silhouette. Artist: Tarqdz.  More from the artist’s gallery.

#2  Sepia tones with mosque. Artist: Saeed33Gallery from same artist.

#3 Yellow with brown calligraphy. Artist: NABDH. More from the artist’s gallery.

Have been listening to this Ramadan Kareem animation playing on a loop.  The sound quality is surprisingly good–wish I knew what it was from.


Note: I am fasting today, the first day of Ramadan. (“The rest of the year is for you, Ramadan is for Allah.”) It’s easier when Ramadan falls in December, as it did when I lived in Jordan, and the sun sets earlier.

When is sunset?  According to Channel 9, today’s sunset is at 7:39 PM.  The Bridgeview mosque site says adhan at 7:43 (the call to prayer is when the fast can be broken–many the time I waited for the call to prayer to light up a cigarette at a Jordanian bus station) and the iqamah at 7:48 PM.  (The DC mosque I link to in my sidebar says adhan 7:57 PM, iqamah 8:07 PM) Technically the Koranic answer, which depends on neither websites nor wristwatches, says sundown is when a white thread cannot be distinguished from a black thread.

Since it can be difficult to stay occupied without eating or drinking (Moslems are also supposed to abstain from tobacco and sex), until sundown, here are my Ramadan links from other years–from a definitely non-Moslem perspective:

Insha ‘Allah (two examples of Salma Arastu’s calligraphy for Eid at the end of Ramadan)
Ramadan kareem, are you fasting? (image of King Hussein mosque in Amman)
Pokemon Eid cards?–what is going on in Pakistan (more Salma Arastu artwork thumbnails for Eid)
Fasting music for Ramadan–mystical planets (links to Gustav Holst downloads)
Spiritual recordings for Ramadan 2008 (explanation of duas and some dua links for YouTube and others)
Is the reward of goodness aught but goodness?-Koran translation and recitation (Koran portals and some links to recitations)

Codex Sinaiticus

The oldest known Bible is now online at www.codexsinaiticus.org

Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. In the Codex, the text of both the Septuagint and the New Testament has been heavily annotated by a series of early correctors.

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