There is a sea change coming to Buddhist Studies. The precarious state of the world, which is riven by environmental crises, deepening geopolitical fault lines, and social turmoil in democratic countries, means that Buddhist Studies scholars are increasingly keen to teach and research through a lens quite different to past conceptions of Buddhist academia. Philosophy is alive and relevant. The past speaks to the present and future. Historical criticism and textual studies are not divorced from contemporary concerns. Scholars of both historical and contemporary Buddhism are increasingly keen to contribute to a global, exciting conversation about how Buddhist Studies can transform and inspire.
For Hong Kong-based Buddhist non-profit Tung Lin Kok Yuen, this new paradigm is best expressed by the term, “wisdom-oriented education.” “Wisdom” is contrasted with “knowledge,” which an over-emphasis on in education has led to greater and greater problems in our world.
An upcoming conference held both online and on-site at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) will feature a diverse range of speakers, all addressing the notion of wisdom-oriented education and “the need for introducing such a system of pedagogy in modern education and for blending Buddhist wisdom with contemporary knowledge.”
Dates: 27 – 28 November
Venue: Day 1: Online at Rayson Huang Theatre and HKUCBS YouTube
Day 2: Online on HKUCBS YouTube only
Program: SEE MORE
BDG will be interviewing several of the guest speakers to present their papers and research. Key among them are: Jin Y. Park (Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy and Religion, American University, Washington), Wu Jiang (Professor of the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Arizona) Albert Welter (Head, Department of East Asian Studies, The University of Arizona), Ven. Bhikkhuni Dhammadinna (Director, Āgama Research Group, Department of Buddhist Studies, Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Taiwan), Ernest Ng (Adjunct Assistant Professor, Centre of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong), and Georgios T. Halkias (Associate Professor, Centre of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong).
The academic interests of these scholars are diverse and multifaceted. However, each speaker is coming with the objective to parse out the implications of wisdom-oriented education for their own fields and expertise. Some will approach it from a socio-political perspective, while others draw from historical example or the textual content from the Buddhist scriptures to provide an insight into what Buddhist leaders and broader, secular communities can do to cultivate wisdom, rather than knowledge alone, to heal and enlighten the world.
This upcoming, ambitious conference will further attempt to:
- examine the Buddhist methods for developing our human capacity to think and act using knowledge, experience, and common sense, and investigate how the acquired knowledge, understanding and skills need to be applied with a universal concern for the betterment of all living beings and care for the natural and social environment;
- discuss the roles of learners and teachers in a wisdom-oriented education and the importance of developing in the learners the invaluable attributes of unbiased judgment, critical thinking, kindness, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, non-attachment, virtues, and ethical conduct;
- investigate how a wisdom-oriented education facilitates rewarding experiences and benefits in life, as compared to knowledge-oriented education.
Keep an eye out on this blog as we explore with our speaker guests this new paradigm of wisdom-oriented education, which has the potential over the long term to reorient our global community toward a transformative path for communities and societies. Many thanks to TLKY and HKU CBS for hosting this important conference.