Course: Christianity and Buddhism - Four areas of convergence
Week One: “Suffering”
A Buddhist perspective: “When I was still a seeker, it occurred to me to ask: ‘What is the delight of life? What is the tragedy of life? What is the emancipation of life?’ Then I thought to answer: ‘The happiness and joy that arise conditioned by life, that is the delight of life; that life is impermanent, difficult and changing, that is the tragedy of life; the removal and abandonment of grasping for life, that is the emancipation of life” (Samyutta Nikāya 35:13)
A Christian perspective: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24-25).
Week Two: “Conversion”
A Buddhist perspective: Possessing six qualities a layperson finds fulfilment and goes about having beheld the deathless: lucid confidence in the Buddha, the teaching, and the spiritual community; noble virtue; noble understanding; and noble liberation” (Anguttara Nikāya VI:128).
A Christian perspective: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field” (Matthew 13:44).
Week Three: “Silence & Space”
A Buddhist perspective: “Gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, she sits down; having folded her legs crosswise, set her body erect, and established awareness in front of her, aware she breathes in, aware she breathes out (Satipatthāna Sutta).
A Christian perspective: “Oh that today you would listen to his voice, harden not your heart” (Psalm 95:7-8); “I will lure her into the desert and speak to her heart” (Hosea 2:14); “Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness ....” (Matthew 4:1ff. See also Mark 1:12-13 & Luke 4:1-13).
Week Four: “The Good Life”
A Buddhist perspective: “Care is the path to the deathless; carelessness the path to death. The caring do not die; the uncaring are as if already dead” (Dhammapada 21)
A Christian perspective: “What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your very self?” (Mark 8:36. See also Matthew 16:26 & Luke 14:27).
Winton Higgins is an honorary associate in the School of International Studies at the University of Technology Sydney. He is a graduate of the universities of Sydney, Stockholm and London. Winton has presented a number of courses at Aquinas Academy, including one with Michael on Buddhist-Christian dialogue.
Michael Whelan completed his post-graduate studies at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, in spirituality. He is Director of Aquinas Academy and Parish Priest of St Patrick’s Church in The Rocks.
Facilitators/Presenters: Winton Higgins PhD and Michael Whelan SM PhD
Where: Aquinas Academy, Level 5, 141 Harrington Street, The Rocks, Sydney
When: Four Thursday mornings, 10am - 12noon, 30 April & 7, 14, 21 May, 2020
Cost: $150/person (including notes)
PLEASE register before the course starts so that notes will be available.
Policy concerning payment of fees: No one shall be excluded for inability to pay fees. Under these circumstances, a donation will be accepted without question.