Colliver lecturer Rita Gross will explore Buddhist perspectives on thriving with religious diversity on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House
Colliver Lecturer to Explore Religious Diversity from Buddhist PerspectiveRita Gross will discuss Why One of the World’s Oldest Religions May be the Answer for Making Sense of an increasingly Complex World
Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world, with an estimated 600 million or more practitioners. Yet few in the United States are familiar with its teachings beyond the basic concept of meditation, or the occasional obligatory Buddha quote thrown in a Hollywood movie where the main character has to go to China or India.
Rita Gross is trying to change that. Gross, a practicing Buddhist who also teaches "Dharma" - the concept that there is a natural order of things that can lead to a natural harmony - will discuss "Religious Diversity - What's the Problem? Buddhist Advice for Flourishing with Religious Diversity" at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 in the Alex and Jerri Vereschagin Alumni House on Pacific's Stockton campus. There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the same location.
"Religious diversity is simply a fact of life in the contemporary world. Nevertheless, that fact is troubling to many people who were taught that one of the world's religions was destined to become the religion of all humanity," said Professor Tanya Storch, who teaches in Pacific's Religious and Classical Studies department. "It is increasingly unlikely that any one of the world's religions will prevail universally, so how can we come to terms with religious diversity? Professor Gross will discuss Buddhist ideas about the nature of religion and religious language that could be adopted by anyone of any religious persuasion."
At 3:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Alumni House, Gross will conduct a class on meditation. That also will be open to the public.
About Rita Gross
Gross, a retired professor of Religious Studies from University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, has written or contributed to nearly a dozen books that explore aspects of Buddhism.
Gross is internationally known for her innovative thinking about Buddhism and her Buddhist approaches to other contemporary issues. She began studying Buddhism in 1965 as a graduate student and, early in her career as a professor in 1973, she became a Buddhist practitioner in the Shambhala tradition.
Throughout her long career, she has continued to bring together academic and Dharmic perspectives in her work as a professor, author, and Dharma student and teacher. She is the author of many books and articles, the most influential of which is "Buddhism after Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism." Her most recent book is "A Garland of Feminist Reflections: Forty Years of Religious Exploration."
She has taught widely in the Shambhala mandala, including teaching a course on "Buddhist View" at the 1999 seminary. Currently she is teaching a multi-year course "Buddhist History for Buddhist Practitioners" at the Lotus Garden shedra. Gross holds a Ph.D. in the history of religions from the University of Chicago.
The Colliver Lecture Series
The Colliver Lecture Series was established in 1957 to honor the memory of George Colliver, a former Religious Studies professor at Pacific. The College of the Pacific's Religious & Classical Studies Department sponsors these events. At least once a year - and often more - a speaker is brought to campus to discuss an aspect of religion in society. The lectures are free and open to the public.
Past Colliver speakers include National Public Radio correspondent Margot Adler, Muslim feminist Asra Nomani, acclaimed author Jacques Berlinerblau, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Garry Wills.
For more information on the lecture series, visit http://www.pacific.edu/Academics/Schools-and-Colleges/College-of-the-Pacific/Academics/Departments-and-Programs/Religious-and-Classical-Studies/About/Colliver-Lecture.html.
For more information about Gross, visit http://www.ritamgross.com/index.html.