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Term 1: Mercy Seminar
March 17 @ 7:00 PM
Why is this relevant in our world today?
In the past two years, the Mercy Seminar has explored themes that have arisen from the Abrahamic faiths regarding Christian anti-Judaism, as well as repentance and forgiveness in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions.
But what is the meaning of mercy in traditions that do not appeal to the mercy of God, and which do not place God at the center of religious life? We will be exploring these questions for the coming year, first in light of the central scriptures of the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions, and then in light of Christian-Buddhist interaction, to see if our own understanding of mercy, compassion, and loving-kindness can be informed and expanded by our encounter with religious traditions which do not focus on faith in God.
In Term 1, we shall read selections from the Dhammapada, which is the central religious text of Theravada Buddhists. In term 2, we will read selections from the Bodhicaryavatara, or The Way of the Bodhisattva, which is one of the most important texts in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, including the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In term 3, we shall read selections from Christians and Buddhists who have sought to learn from one another, to see if they might inform our own encounter with the Buddhist traditions. No prior knowledge of either Buddhist tradition is assumed, and participants will become highly informed by the most authoritative scriptures of the Buddhist tradition.