Exploration of the nature and function of Buddhist meditation as it developed within various Buddhist traditions of South, Southeast, and East Asia. Surveying the historical evolution, doctrinal foundations, and common routines associated with Buddhist meditation practices, students will be better equipped to effectively engage Buddhists in fruitful missional dialogue.
Meditation is important in the Buddhist concept of spirituality, but its historical development, theological foundation, and purpose differ in many ways from the Christian teachings concerning meditation. Missional leaders engaging Buddhists need to understand what meditation means to Buddhists in order to create communication bridges.
In order the engage Buddhists in missional dialogue, Christians first need a firm foundation in the biblical theology of the practice of meditation. Then, they need an overview of the development of the meaning and purpose of meditation for Buddhists. A comparison and contrast of the two viewpoints will allow students to identify opportunities for building missional bridges to the Buddhist concept of spirituality.
Students will examine the theological foundation of Buddhist meditation and identify the theological similarities and differences between Buddhist and Christian teachings on meditation. In the course, students will develop a biblical theology of the practice of meditation.
In order to create relational bridges to Buddhists, students will explore the meaning and purpose of meditation from a Buddhist perspective.
Students will use the principles of biblical contextualization to communicate with Buddhists regarding meditation and spirituality.
The cultural nuances and practice of meditation differs in the various streams of Buddhism in Asia. Students will research the historical and theological foundations of meditation as Buddhists understand and practice it.
Students will develop their own biblical theology of the practice of meditation and be able to identify how the Christian teachings on meditation are similar to and different from the various Buddhist teachings on and practices of meditation.
Students will be encouraged to seek out practicing Buddhists to develop culturally-appropriate methods for learning about Buddhist meditation. During the course, members of the class will have opportunities to share insights and information to assist other students in their awareness of cultural differences.