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Classes and Seminars

Below is a list of classes available to Emory students that align with our interests at the ECCS.  Please check the registrar to see when these classes are being offered.

PSYCH 730R: Meditation Research Group

Barsalou, Goodman, Mascaro, Mon 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Maximum Enrollment: 30 (Permission of the Instructor is required)

Content: Weekly discussion of meditation-related research projects being planned and performed by graduate students, post docs, and faculty in the Emory community. Discussion topics include basic science and clinical investigations of contemplative strategies in Western society. Experimental design and theoretical issues will also be covered. Participants will present regularly, and occasional readings of relevant literature will be assigned.

Particulars: Pass/fail only.

PSYCH 770: Mind and Brain from the Perspectives of Buddhism and Western Science 

Barsalou, Negi, Dunne, Ozawa-de Silva, Wed 10:00-12:45 (Same as RLAR 737)

Maximum Enrollment: 30

Content: Buddhism, like Western science, has the goad of understanding how the mind and brain work. Because Buddhism aims to change cognition and behavior for the general good, accurate understandings of mind and brain are essential. Over millennia, Buddhist have developed extensive accounts of mind that appear to overlap with what Western science now studies intensely in psychology and neuroscience. This workshop explores the convergences between these perspectives and develop further connections that allow them to continue learning from one another.

REL 365: Buddhist Philosophy: Mind and Mental Transformation

Lobsang Negi, Thurs 2:30-5:15, (same as ASIA 365), Max: 35 (20 REL, 15 ASIA)

Content: This course is an opportunity to study the Tibetan Buddhist contemplative tradition of Mahamudra, meaning "The Great Seal," a highly respected meditative tradition that involves meditation on the nature of the mind itself. Each year Emory University invites a Distinguished Visiting Tibetan Scholar for a one-semester long residency to teach a course and give lectures. This Fall's distinguished scholar, Khenpo Losal Zangpo, is a highly regarded scholar and meditation master, and will present the tradition of Mahamudra in a traditional pedagogical style. Opportunities to engage in the meditation practice will also be possible given student interest. Preliminary readings and lectures will place Mahamudra in the wider context of Buddhist contemplative theory and practice.


William Hart, The Art of Living. Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Essentials of Mahamudra
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, Clarifying the Natural State
Alan Wallace,The Seven Point Mind Training

REL 353R-000: Mystical Thought and Practice: Non-Duality and Altered Consciousness

John D. Dunne, TT 4:00-5:15 pm, Max: 18

Content: In many spiritual traditions, practitioners seek a type of transformation that involves a radical transformation in the way the one experiences the world. The key to that transformation is recognizing—and realizing—that one’s current experiences are, moment by moment, caught up in a type of illusion. More specifically, that illusion makes it seem as if one is looking out at a world which is separate from oneself, such that Self and World are completely separated in a divide known as duality. These traditions thus seek to move beyond that illusory duality by cultivating a radically non-dual experience in which the distinction between Self and World disappears. Sometimes that non-dual experience is expressed in language involving a notion of the divine, sometimes other language is used. Techniques for developing the non-dual experience also range widely, from paradoxical language to yogic techniques of body and breath manipulation. In this course, we will explore the notion of non-duality and the cultivation of non-dual experience through various traditions, including Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. We will also examine the more recent resurgence of non-dual philosophies and practices, such as those found in the writings of Ken Wilber, and seek to understand how they relate to more traditional forms.

REL 365-000: Buddhist Philosophy: Wisdom, Meditation, and Ethical Engagement

Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Thurs 2:30-5:15 pm, Max: 20

Content: This course offers an opportunity to study not only Tibetan Buddhist philosophy of reality, but also the way it informs the individual’s everyday life and actions as he or she engages as a member of society. It draws on the extensive resources of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that deal with the techniques and methods for enhancing an understanding of reality and cultivating affective qualities such as compassion, tolerance, and altruism.

Each year Emory University invites a Distinguished Visiting Tibetan Scholar for a one-semester long residency to teach a course and give lectures. This Fall’s distinguished scholar, Prof. Geshe Yeshe Thapkhe, is one of the most senior and preeminent scholars and meditation masters of the Tibetan tradition, and will present the subjects of the course in a traditional pedagogical style. Opportunities to engage in meditation practice will also be possible given student interest. Preliminary readings and lectures will place the subject in the wider context of Buddhist contemplative theory and practice.


William Hart, The Art of Living. Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka
Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism
Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations
H.H. the Dalai Lama, Practicing Wisdom

REL 329: Religion & Ecology

Bobbi Patterson, TuTh 11:30-12:45, (same as ENVS 329), TPL, Max: 18 (REL 9/ENVS 9)

Content:  This class explores the relationship between nature, religion and culture. Examining Christian and Buddhist conceptions of nature, ecosystem's natural histories and ecologies, and meanings of 'place,' the course explores how ecological and religious conceptions and practices frame relationships and responsibilities among the living earth, plants, animals, and humans. It also examines contemporary issues including climate change, urbanization, and globalization in relation to humans' understandings and interactions (perceptions and practices) with nature to promote sustainability and belonging to place. Using Emory as our major field site, the course will involve regular outdoor exercises and some field trips beyond campus.

This class is a Theory Practice Learning class, meaning that participants should expect to engage in learning activities outside. Some of these activities will reflect religious ideas and practices while others will reflect ecosystem principles and fieldwork techniques from environmental studies. Opportunities for students to develop their own practices place, sustainability, and spirituality will be included.


Forest Meditations
Selected Texts from the Early Christian Monastic Writings
Sally McFague:  The Body of God
Selections from:  Dharma Gaia
Selections from Joanna Macy:  Coming Back to Life
Gary Snyder:  Practice of the Wild
Other selected articles

Particulars: Class participation is crucial. Assignments will include an 8 page topic paper (with references and footnotes), creation of a portfolio, and development of an "active learning activity" to be done in the outdoors and to be presented to the class. Students must participate in one weekend fieldtrip and 3-4 one day trips.

REL 352RS: Gender & Religion: Global Christian Women's Voices

Bobbi Patterson, TuTh 8:30-9:45, (same as WS 352RS), Max: 18 (9/9)

Content: This course will take a journey through and with the voices and witnesses of Christian women who are searching for histories, rituals, texts, theologies, and communities that reflect their spiritual paths in this tradition. From early Christian women, through the Middle Ages women mystics, to the first waves of Christian feminist theology, to the voices of contemporary women around the world, we will explore how women have reshaped traditional categories and blazed new trails for understanding their faith and giving testimony in word and activism.

Texts:  The texts for this class will be wide-ranging. They will include writings by Elizabeth Clark, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza, Elizabeth Johnson, Mary Daly, Kwok Pui-Lan, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Katie Cannon, and Rebecca Chopp.

Particulars: The class will be participatory and experiential. Critical thinking skills will be emphasized along with imaginative exercises in theological construction. Short papers and response journaling will be required.

REL 358R-001 - Religion and Healing: Tibetan Buddhist & Western Perspectives on the Mind-Body Connection

Geshe Lobsang Negi and Chikako Ozawa-de Silva, NOTE NEW TIME: TuTh 10:00AM - 11:15AM, Location TBA, same as ANT 385-001, Max: 20 (10 REL/10 ANT), HSC

Content: This course aims at examining the fundamental principles underlying the processes of body-min connections from both Tibetan Buddhist and Western perspectives. We will focus on the role of emotions and stress in understanding various psychological and physical ailments, as well as the mind’s role in healing as explored in current Western research and Tibetan Buddhist contemplative and medical traditions. The course will explore the mind-body connection, illness and healing from the perspective of Tibetan Buddhism, examining historical context, rituals, practices and methods. We will also look at some current medical treatments that are drawn from this tradition, as well as recent developments in medicine that are shedding light on the interconnection of the mind and the body, demonstrating the ways that emotions can affect our health in positive and detrimental ways.