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University of Creation Spirituality
Doctor of Ministry Degree/Certificate Program

July 2004 Intensive CA
July 26-30 2004

Seminar: Deep Ecumenism:The World’s Spiritual Traditions © - # 60010

Instructor: Han Matt

Faculty Bio:  Hana Matt has taught “World Religions” at The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, and at The University of Creation Spirituality for 8 years.  She has just returned from living in Jerusalem for 4 years where she was writing a new college textbook entitled, The Spirituality of the World’s Major Religions.  Before that, she spent 2 years studying Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Japan; and 2 years studying Hinduism in India; and then 7 years studying Judaism and Islam in Jerusalem.  She also spent 3 years at The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, studying Bible, and also Christian Spirituality, Spiritual Direction, and Comparative Religion. She has also been been teaching courses in “Spiritual Direction,” and seeing clients privately.   

Course Description:   This course will explore the spirituality of the major religions of the world:  Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and indigenous, native, earth-based religions. We will learn about the teachings and practices of each religion, and especially focus on the spirituality and the mystical traditions. We will explore the methods to enter into the direct experience of the Spirit within each path.  Then our focus will be to explore how each spiritual tradition is applied to the daily living issues we face, such as addressing stress-management, overcoming of unwanted behaviors, depression, anxiety, addictive patterns, and relationship problems.  How do we become fully alive, thriving and fully-functioning, by accessing the Living Spirit? We will explore how each spiritual tradition can aid us in our own tradition to directly experience the Divine Presence. 

Learning Objectives:  

Monday:    Native, Earth-based, Indigenous Religions.  We will learn about the ancient teachings from several of the Native traditions of North and South America.  What are some of their methods to come to access the Living Spirit?  We will explore basic spiritual beliefs, principles, the ways of worship, rituals, and individual spiritual practices. 

Tuesday:    Hinduism:  Teachings and Practices. 

     First we will explore the concept of the Atman: the Divine Self within and without (The Self to which Jung referred).  How do we access that Sacred Self and live from it in our daily lives, and help awaken it in others?  The cultivation of the 3-legged stool for a full sacred life:

1) Self-care;   2)  Deepening Relationships;  and  3) Re-inventing work, service.  We will explore the 8-limbed Path to Spiritual Liberation.  What can we bring into our own lives which can deepen our own spiritual life without violating our own tradition?

Wednesday:    Buddhism and Taoism. 

     In Taoism:  We will learn about its basic teachings and practices.  The emphasis will be on bringing balance and centeredness into the midst of the busyness of our everyday lives.  How can we construct a life of balance in our own lives?  How can we renew our life-force? This spiritual tradition is the basis of Tai Chi, Karate, all martial arts, and acupuncture.

     In Buddhism:  We will examine the 4 Noble Truths, and the       8-Fold Path to Enlightenment.  We will learn about their effective means to overcome suffering, and live from one’s own true-nature. We will explore the many ways that Buddhist practices can aid us, for example, mindfulness and awareness.  We will learn practices which are used to address the overcoming of addictions, anxiety, stress, fears, and relationship problems.

Thursday:    Jewish Spirituality.  

     We will explore the wisdom teachings of Jewish spirituality which enable one to have communion with the Divine (“devekut”) and a fuller experience of the Holy Presence in the middle of work, community, individual issues and problems.  We will learn practices to access the vivifying Source of vibrant aliveness. How do we transform our afflictive states and find true joy (“simhah”)? How do we access the Shekhinah:  the feminine Divine Presence?                                                                                          

Friday:    Islamic Mysticism, Sufism, and Rumi. 

  We will explore the main teachings and practices of Islam and Sufism.  We will delve deeply into The Five Pillars of Islam and the Sufi spiritual interpretation of each one.  We will experience Sufi practices.

Required Reading: 

Fast Imaging Center for Printing. New E-mail:  . 

New Telephone:  510-845-6333.  Fax: 510-845-5086.  Hours: Mon-Fri 8-7 and Sat 10:30-6. 

All the readers for the class are there now and ready to be ordered by students.

Also, for the required reading there will be 5 small readers rather than 3 large ones.  I thought it would be better for each religion to be more distinct and have its own space, rather than all lumped together in 3 large readers.  There will be one small reader each for:

"The Spiritualities of  1) Christianity  2) Judaism  3) Islam  4)  Hinduism  5) Buddhism, and Indigenous Religions."  If you could also make this change on the syllabus I think it would avoid confusion for the students.  

Pre-Class and Post-Class Writing Assignment: 

Choose one option for each paper:   A pre-class paper of 5-9 pages, and a post-class paper of  5-15 pages.  Please show ample evidence of references to the readings for the class.

Choose one from the following options:

1.              Your pre-class paper:  An exploration of some of the main teachings of two spiritual traditions which we examined in the course.  Then for your post-class paper: Choose three other, different spiritual traditions.  

2.              Choose a certain topic and examine how each of the various spiritual traditions addresses it.  For example, choose one issue from the following:  overcoming depression, or stress, anxiety, fear, relationship problems, addictive behaviors, or dealing with loss.    In your post-class paper:  Choose a different theme and do the same. Request additional reading material on these subjects from instructor.

3.              Choose two or three spiritual traditions and explore how each one offers various means to come into the direct experience of the Divine.  How does it show us how to more deeply access the Spirit?  What can we bring back to our communities and our work, to enrich our spiritual lives in our own tradition?  Then for your post-class paper:  Select two or three other, different spiritual traditions to examine in the same manner.

4.           Take a crucial issue of our day and reflect on it in light of the spiritual teachings and practices of several spiritual traditions.

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