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Vancouver School of Theology

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IPS5/710 – The Prophet of Love with Dr. Hossein Houshmand
9:00am – 12:00pm
This course is an introduction to the mystical theology of Rumi, the 13th century Muslim mystic whose poetry continues to inspire our contemporary culture. He actually has become the best-selling poet in the English-speaking world. Rumi has been considered as the greatest Sufi of all times. He described himself as the Prophet of love. So we will attempt to explore the fundamental components of his theology and ethics of love. The topics will be discussed include: God as love, the secret of love, human finitude, the moral gap, and God’s assistance.

Hossein Houshmand has studied Islamic theology and philosophy of religion at Tehran and Concordia Universities. He completed his PhD in comparative religion and ethics (Islam and Human Rights: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus). His research interests include Islamic thought, philosophy of religion, and contemporary political philosophy. He is currently working on a book, entitled Rumi: Thinking Islam in an Existential Mode.

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IPC5/711 – Ways of Reconciliation in Buddhist Teachings with Dr. Heesoon Bai
2:00pm – 5:00pm
Many spiritual traditions in the world teach one how to cultivate loving, forgiving, and befriending states of consciousness. Buddhism is one of these traditions. Buddhist teachings of ‘Four Divine Emotions’ (Brahma Viharas) is supported by contemporary neuroscientific researches on positive emotions, and can be taken up by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, to facilitate living well in a world that constantly challenges the foundations of our humanity. In this course, we will focus on the four states of Brahma Viharas (loving-kindness, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity). We will study their psychological and neuroscientific backings, and cultivate the four states through daily practice in personally relevant and meaningful ways.

Heesoon Bai

Heesoon Bai is a Professor in Philosophy of Education at Simon Fraser University, Canada. She researches and writes in the intersections of ethics, ecological worldviews, contemplative ways, and Asian philosophies. Her co-edited and co-authored books include: Fields of Green: Restorying Culture, Environment, Education (2009); Speaking of Teaching: Inclinations, Inspirations, and Innerworkings (2012); and Contemplative Learning and Inquiry Across Disciplines (forthcoming). Through her work and teaching, she promotes cross-cultural, worldview-based, and comparative philosophies in education. As an Asian-Canadian researcher, she is active in East-West dialogue.

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