For All Sentient Beings: Meeting a Bhutanese Monk

DSC_3455Ten years ago I took a National Endowment for the Humanities course on Himalayan Cultures in Worcester, Massachusetts. My focus of study was on Buddhism, and I learned a great deal during the summer. However, I remember one of my professors saying that the new generation of Tibetan monks was more likely to be watching TV or playing video games than doing meditation. I’ve also heard similar anecdotal comments that meditation has become a lost practice among Buddhists in Asian countries. As a religion teacher wanting to properly represent these faiths, I’ve often wondered about the spirituality of contemporary Buddhist monks in Asia. And as a Christian who has re-discovered contemplation in my own tradition, I’m also quite curious about the spiritual practices of contemporary followers in Asia. Continue reading

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Using Spiritual Practices to Teach for Happiness and Spiritual Growth in a World Religions Course

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For years I have focused on service learning as the path for social conscience education in my Humanities I in Action class. However, in the last few years, as I’ve started to teach World Religions, I’ve been intrigued to see if I can develop a religion curriculum that prompts inner awakening within students. In the last three years of exploration, I have come to believe that the most effective pedagogical strategy to develop personal growth in a religion course is by placing spiritual practices at the center of the course curriculum. A World Religions curriculum can not only give students with a working knowledge of various world religions, but, more significantly, can also provide students with spiritual insights into their own lives through the use spiritual practices. Continue reading

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Whole People for a Whole Planet: In Search of Inspired Education

TEDx sideviewMike Kersten and I shared our vision for social conscience education at the TEDx “Inspired Education” on May 31st at the Sunbeam Theatre in North Point, Hong Kong. In this talk, we suggest that an inspired education needs to take into account two dual concerns: the stress that students are under and the assault upon the earth. In response, our remedy is “Humanities I in Action,” a course that aims to simultaneously provide meaning and purpose to students and to bring healing to the community. Continue reading

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Empowering Students in South India with the “I Can” Belief

DSC_3207For the third year in a row, HKIS students have led an empowerment workshop with students from two local schools in Ambur, India. Two years ago, the local Indian students identified child labor as a significant issue of concern. Through an awareness campaign that was launched following the workshop, 14 child laborers were freed, and allowed to return to school. Continue reading

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Health and Wholeness: Turning Points Two Years On

ImageTwo years ago this Easter I was deeply concerned about my health. Now two years later, I can look back and see that this was a turning point in not only my health, but also in how I approached some of my biggest life questions. 

One of the signs of my vastly improved health was that I was able to co-lead a trip to India this year – eight years after I had led a service trip to Kolkata in which my health was a major liability.

“But if body and soul are not separate, then to heal the body at the deepest level is a work of the soul, and to listen to and learn from the body is to become closer to one’s Self.”

- Charles Eisenstein, The Yoga of Eating, p. 10.


Two years ago during the Easter holiday I found myself in a rising panic. I had been sick since mid-January with a relentless, queasy-feeling stomach ailment that would run up from my gut and progress into my chest and head; then, some days later when I thought it had run its course, the queasiness would begin again. Despite seeing an array of Western and alternative practitioners, my chronic sickness seemed to be the culmination of ten years of frequent colds, flus and general poor health. Beneath the panic was a deep-seated fear that I might develop some serious disease that would lead to a shortened life. Continue reading

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Inspiring the Next Generation of Chinese Young Women

DSC_3124What can bring together rich and poor, Caucasians and Asians, local people and international jet-setters, young and old, people of strong religious convictions and those without, together into a harmonious and purposeful group? The answer: the universal desire to offer hope to the next generation, especially young women. Continue reading

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Service Summit 2014: Initiating a Path Towards Adulthood

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Taking Humanities I in Action is a journey. From day one students are confronted with issues that they find not only mentally and emotionally challenging, but even personally troubling.  Yet we take some comfort in Krishnimurti’s well-known, if startling, observation, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” The dis-equilibrium that we feel is an honest and compassionate reaction to the current state of the planet. Continue reading

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