Buddhist-Christian Perspectives on Contemplative Practices and Religious Belonging

December 1- 2, 2020
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

The Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies (SBCS) is a coordinating body supporting activities related to the comparative study of, and the practical interaction between, Buddhism and Christianity. The society welcomes scholars and practitioners who are grounded in different expressions of Buddhism and Christianity, and it encourages those who report on Buddhist-Christian dialogue and comparative study, both as historical research and contemporary practice, to employ analytical and theoretical tools and set their discussion within the framework of broader human history. As part of its annual conference, the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies hosted two public panels over two days: “Contemplative Practices and Religious Experiences: Buddhist-Christian Perspectives” and “Natal and Convert Christians and Buddhists.”

Contemplative practices and religious experiences are at the core of much of religious life in both Buddhist and Christian religious life. Yet, they are often overlooked in the academic study of these religions and in religious studies generally. In the December 1 session, four panelists presented papers that examine these overlooked dimensions of contemplative practices such as Buddhist meditation and Christian contemplation within a dialogical and comparative framework of religious experience in interreligious perspective. The December 2 panel engaged in a roundtable discussion about diverse patterns of religious life in terms of religious ideals, praxes, and social organization in Buddhist-Christian dialogical context to gain new insights into the strengths and weaknesses of natal versus convert religious belonging, as well as the interaction between these demographics.

This event was co-sponsored by the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, Georgetown University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies and its Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.


Tuesday, December 1

4:00 – 6:00 p.m. EST | Contemplative Practices and Religious Experiences: Buddhist-Christian Perspectives

Paula Arai, Louisiana State University
Peter Feldmeier, University of Toledo
Kevin Hunt, St. Joseph’s Abbey
Kristin Johnston Largen, United Lutheran Seminary
Ruben L. F. Habito, Southern Methodist University (moderator)

Wednesday, December 2

10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EST | Natal and Convert Christians and Buddhists

Karen Enriquez, Loyola Marymount University (introduction)
André van der Braak, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Carolyn Medine, University of Georgia
Natalie Fisk Quli, Institute of Buddhist Studies
Mark T. Unno, University of Oregon (moderator/panelist)

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST | Annual Business Meeting of SBCS

Leo Lefebure, Georgetown University (chair)

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