Seminar in Religious Studies (Focus: Contemplative Practice) [CRN 81222]

Discipline: Philosophy and Religious Studies
Instructor: MacKenzie
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0800
End: 0920
Field Work: Day 1 | October 25, 2018 | India
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

Seminar in Religious Studies will examine contemplative practices through the lenses of philosophy, science, and religious studies. The primary practices will examine are Buddhist meditation, hatha yoga, tai chi chuan, and various Japanese do (ways of self-cultivation) such as calligraphy, tea ceremony, and martial arts. What were the historical, religious, and cultural contexts in which these practices developed? How are they tied to particular traditions? What might these practices tell about the nature of the body, mind, and self? Can one gain knowledge from these practices? How are they ethically constrained? How are they thought to be ethically or spiritually efficacious? Can they be studied scientifically? What does the current science say about them? We will grapple with these and other questions throughout the course. The course will involve lecture, discussion, student presentations, and field experience. Students will be asked to engage in and reflect on one or more contemplative practices. We will engage in close reading of texts, critical and analytical writing, and individual and group reflection and discussion.

Field Work

Country: India
Day: 1
Date: October 25, 2018

We will visit the Patanjali Yoga Training and Research Centre. We will have the opportunity to learn about the philosophy, theory, and practice of hatha yoga. We will practice yoga and learn about contemporary research into yoga practice.

  1. Gain an understanding of the similarities and differences between contemplative traditions.
  2. Connect the readings and core concepts of these traditions to contemporary expressions and practices.
  3. Identify contemporary cites or practices embodying or influenced by these traditions.
  4. Engage with/in specific contemplative practices.
  5. Reflect on the continued relevance of contemplative traditions and practices.
  6. Reflect on similarities and differences with one’s religious and/or philosophical background.