Inter-religious exploration: Confucianism

“Confucianism” is a term for an ancient and still thriving Chinese tradition that promotes ideals and practices that nurture social harmony. Whether it ought to be considered a religion is a matter of debate. Confucius was a secular teacher who lived around 500 BCE, and whose many students put his words into writing. Key themes he emphasized were: benevolence, propriety, reciprocity and humility. He taught at a time when he, and many others, believed that the ethical norms that had sustained classical Chinese culture for centuries were eroding due mainly to the greed and vanity that were fostering political strife. His aim was to set people back on a harmonious and peaceful course of social engagement that embodied a kind of submission to an impersonal cosmic pattern or force known as the Way (or Dao).

David Gardiner has been teaching in the Colorado College department of Religion since 1998. His specialization is in Buddhism and the religions of China and Japan (Daoism, Confucianism, Shinto). He received a doctorate in Religious Studies from Stanford University and has many published writings on pre-modern Japanese Buddhism. Since 2009 he has been the director of the local non-profit BodhiMind Center, which shares Buddhist teachings and meditation with the community.

BodhiMind Center is committed to providing information and instruction to anyone interested in learning about Buddhist teachings and practices. While some of our regular participants have become devout Buddhists, the organization has no formal membership nor expectations regarding participants’ beliefs. We offer two weekly meditation gatherings that include guidance regarding methods and recommended intentions, as well as discussion. We also offer various seminars, workshops and book discussions, and regularly host visiting teachers (some who are monastic) from within the U.S. and from India. While we are deeply inspired by the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in particular, we are resolutely non-sectarian and welcome anyone who shares a vision of deepening our human capacities for more skillful and compassionate living.

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