Are you concerned to integrate spiritual practices into therapy, business and leadership. Or do you, or students who feel that skilfully framing your their chosen disciplines and fields of engagement in various different historical, cultural, and in particular religious or spiritual world views and self-understandings are important, if not essential to the growth of our human potential and wholeness as individuals, professionals and society at large? Then you, may benefit from adding this minor to your curriculum.
Explore Buddhism, yoga and spirituality in an academic frame
This first course in the minor serves as a general introduction to Buddhism.
Rituals, Mandalas and the 'Tibetan Book of the Dead'
The so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead, with its colourful visions of maṇḍalas of peaceful and wrathful deities, and its engaging narratives on the vicissitudes of the journey between death and rebirth, has captured the imagination of many outside Tibet.
When, at the beginning of the twentieth century, this selection of texts was first translated into English, it immediately became a hit, a bestseller even; yet, oddly enough, in Tibet, these texts and practices are not very well known or popular at all (which should give one reason to pause and think …). How could that be? This perhaps reveals part of the discrepancy between our ideas about Tibet and the historical and sociological realities on the ground in Central Asia?
What do these Tibetan traditions look like in their regions of origin, in Tibet and the Himalayas (but also in China and Mongolia)? What is their history and context?
Buddhism and Mindfulness
Since the late nineteenth century, various forms of Buddhism emerged from modernising Asia and, with apparent ease, penetrated new cognitive, spiritual and cultural domains—many far removed from their origins, geographically as well as epistemically. In the process, Buddhism became abbreviated to ‘meditation’ and later even to mindfulness, and a curious marriage of convenience emerged between Buddhism and psychology. How did this come to pass and what does the most recent global rise of interest tell us about Buddhism, and what does it reveal about those who are interested?
In this course we shall also explore that fascinating marriage of convenience between Buddhism and psychology by tracing the reception history and mainstreaming of mindfulness ‘meditation’. Literary, ritual, social, but also perceived spiritual and philosophical aspects of Buddhist traditions will come into view, in an exercise in Buddhist hermeneutics that is self-reflexive. The focus is on older Buddhist and Theravāda sources, which, by their perceived remoteness, challenge our own world views and self-understandings. It thus resumes the self-reflexive exercise of studying various religious traditions in so-called World Religions, but by engaging the case study of the reception history of mindfulness. Participants in this course will also be granted the opportunity to attend an Applied Buddhist Mindfulness training.
Yoga, Business and Leadership
This course familiarizes you with the potential of yoga as a philosophy and practice. You will acquire knowledge about yoga, come to understand its main concepts, will analyse them, and apply them in the context of business (entrepreneurship) and leadership and reflections for your own practice of self-awareness. This course includes engagements with yoga exercises.
In this course, you will explore new contemporary forms of religiosity and spirituality. This exploration resumes the culture dynamics of the reception history of both Buddhist mindfulness and of yoga outside Asia by subjecting the receiving matrix to a closer scrutiny.