Human existence is bodily existence. In their reflections on the body and in their bodily related practices, Buddhism and Christianity engage a crucial aspect of our being. In both traditions the spectrum of views is extremely broad ranging from outright condemnation of the body to its highest praise: “They have realized the deathless who have realized mindfulness directed to the body” (AN I 46), says the Pāli Canon. And in the New Testament we read “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Cor 6,19).
In this conference scholar practitioners from Buddhism and Christianity will be in dialogue about central facets of the body as perceived in both traditions: The body and ecology, the body’s impermanence, its role in social relations, body, gender, and sexuality, the relation between body and mind, the body in contemplation, prayer and ritual, and the embodiment of transcendence. The dialogues will not only explore spiritual wisdom connected to the body but also explore how both traditions may learn and benefit from the insights of the other.
As always, the conference will also have two open sessions for papers regarding all aspects of current research on Buddhist-Christian relations.