Senior Director and Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies
3041 Broadway, AD 520
New York, NY 10027
Comparative Buddhist–Christian Liberation Theologies (Fall 2017)
Zen Buddhist Texts (Spring 2018)
Introduction to Buddhist Meditation Practices (Fall 2018)
Practice of Self-Inquiry (Fall 2018)
Socially Engaged Buddhism (Spring 2019)
Buddhist Religious Thought and Practice (Spring 2019)
FALL 2020, FALL 2021
This course supports students of any faith tradition, or none at all, in learning the fundamentals of Buddhist meditation. While students only touch each of these practices, they learn the basics of concentration, ethical, wisdom and compassion meditations. The course aims to prepare chaplains and ministers for thinking about these techniques in their own lives and in their community support roles. The hope is students apply this knowledge to deepen practices appropriate to their lives and circumstances.
FALL 2020, SPRING 2022
This course introduces students to methodologies of self-inquiry from various religious traditions as well as non- religious phenomenological thinkers. We explore meditation, contemplation and discernment practices, highlighting differences and complements. With a shared intention to clarify and expand personal methodologies and capacities of inquiry into ourselves, the course unpacks assumptions in our framing of subjective experience, how to locate the observer, the ground of awareness and, among other conventions, the relationships of self/other, mind/world, round/phenomena and mundane/sacred in each of these practices.
This general introduction to Buddhism surveys the history and development of Buddhist thought within its three broad expressions–Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The aim of the course familiarizes students with Buddhist worldviews and offers an opportunity to engage the material critically. Students read a number of primary sources in translation as well as additional texts organized thematically and historically to contextualize this material.
This course explores tenets, movements, leading figures and issues central to what has come to be known as socially engaged Buddhism. In addition to exploring how these movements initially responded to the colonial and wartime contexts from which they emerged, students examine the critiques that engaged Buddhism offers current social and economic realities, as well as Buddhism’s own institutions and practices.
This course engages in a close reading of a selection of fascicles by Eihei Dogen Zenji, the Japanese Buddhist monk, philosopher, poet, essayist, and founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan. In addition to this course involving considerable reading to provide context, Dogen's writing is often poetically complex and requires time. Also, Dogen is most widely known for his promotion of sitting meditation as a necessary practice for liberation and the metabolization of spiritual thought, making daily meditation a critical component of this course. Students should expect to be fully occupied for three weeks of textual study and practice.
This course explores the religious thought and practices of the Buddhist tradition that has come to be popularly known as Zen. Starting with its inception as Chinese Chan, students directly engage formative texts that situate Zen in its broader Mahayana context and go on to hermeneutically wrestle with the rich, unruly and at times opaque array of teachers, poems, koans and religious essays, which make up a tradition that understands itself to be “a special transmission outside the scriptures.” All readings are in English translation.