by Austra Reinis
Dr. Austra Reinis and Dr. Magda Hayton took their REL 100 Introduction to Religion students on an evening field trip to Dinh Quang Buddhist Temple in NE Springfield on February 27. The students saw statues and paintings of a number of buddhas and bodhisattvas. The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, they learned, spent a long lifetime alleviating the suffering of as many people as he could. Just as he thought his task was accomplished, he discovered that the world was just as full of suffering people as it was when he began. At this point, he quite literally “fell apart.” When he was “put back together again,” he had a thousand arms, so he could help more people.
Dr. Austra Reinis and the students in her REL 338 Death, Dying, and Afterlife class visited Lohmeyer Funeral Home in Springfield on February 28. Mr. Kent Franklin shared with them a lifetime of experiences with funerals of people of different religious traditions: Non-religious, Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, and Hindu. His accounts of what people do with the ashes of their loved ones were fascinating and entertaining. One lady, he said, mixed her husband’s ashes with house paint and painted the ceiling of her sun room with the paint. “My husband was a homebody. Now he’s always with us, hovering over us,” she said.