The Contemplative Traditions working group (CT) was convened in fall of 2013 at the request of a community member interested in Buddhism, contemplative practices, aging and wellness. The group is dedicated to providing students, faculty and members of the broader public with a nuanced understanding of diverse contemplative traditions and practices, the cultural and historical contexts that produced them, and their contemporary applications. An excellent article on various related initiatives can be read at UA News.
Buddhist Studies Lecture Series
East Asian Studies, in collaboration with faculty across campus, offers a Buddhist Studies Lecture Series geared toward a general audience that highlights research in Buddhist Studies, particularly at the University of Arizona. Previous lecturers have included Lewis Lancaster, the Venerable Wangchen Rinpoche and David Loy. The group was recently awarded an $8,800 from the Khyentse Foundation for East Asian Studies to continue to facilitate the series into 2016-2017, and is working to establish a Center for Buddhist Studies at UA.
Buddhist Studies Minor
Due to the group's efforts, a minor in Buddhist Studies was launched in the fall of 2015. The courses are offered through the East Asian Studies department, in the College of Humanities. The group has applied to secure a funding to host a renowned Buddhist Studies scholar who will contribute to the development of a Buddhist Studies curriculum at the University of Arizona, and will engage with students and the community.
Contemplative Pedagogy Faculty Learning Community (CPFLC)
In spring of 2014, Professor Al Kaszniak, a faculty research fellow at UA’s Office of Instruction and Assessment, received a Center for Contemplative Mind in Society grant designed to support the use of contemplative practices throughout college and university curricula. The group held its inaugural Southwest Symposium on Contemplative Pedagogies in spring 2016 – an event designed to bring mindfulness to the classroom, which is also what the group’s recently launched “Tools for Teaching” online video series accomplishes. CPFLC includes faculty, staff and professional members of the university community, along with members from Pima Community College, ASU, NAU and Maricopa Community College.
Contemplative Traditions Lecture Series
Since fall of 2014, the group has hosted renowned public figures lecturing on the benefits of meditation practice and teachings of Buddhism.
On April 8, 2015, George Mumford spoke at a series of free events on and off campus. A meditation teacher with extensive experience coaching Olympic athletes and collegiate teams, Mumford is best known for working with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, and especially with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, during their championship seasons in late 1990s and early 2000s. Visit his website, MindfulAthlete.org, to learn about his book of the same name.
Dr. Marian Binder, Director of CAPS at Campus Health Services, and CT group member Stuart Moody are spearheading this initiative in which CAPS provides intensive training for qualified students who commit to practicing mindfulness at home, attending follow-up training sessions, and leading workshops in residence halls.
Student Wellness Conference
Since spring 2015, the group has offered conferences highlighting contemplative research and experiential workshops that introduce students to physical, attentional, and emotional meditation practices that can reduce stress and enhance overall well-being. Read the UA News article.