Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

The WCU Philosophy Department held a conference on Buddhist Ethics for a two day event, featuring some of the biggest names in Buddhist scholarship in the country. David R. Loy, formerly Besl Family Chair Professor of Ethics/Religion and Society at Xavier University in Cincinnati, gave a talk entitled “Healing Ecology: Buddhist Reflections on the Eco-crisis.”

Dr. Loy is interested in the dialogue between Buddhism and modernity. His books include “Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy;” “Lack and Transcendence: The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism;” “The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory” and most recently “The World Is Made of Stories.” He is authorized as a teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen.

Dr. Jin Y. Park, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, American University, Washington, D.C., gave a talk on “Ethics of Tension.”

Park specializes in Zen and Huayan Buddhism, Buddhist-postmodern comparative philosophy, Buddhist ethics, and Buddhism’s encounter with modernity in Korea. She is the founding co-chair of International Society for Buddhist Philosophy, former co-chair of Zen Buddhism Seminar and current co-chair of Korean Religions Group at the American Academy of Religion.

Her book length publications include “Buddhism and Postmodernity: Zen, Huayan, and the Possibility of Buddhist Postmodern Ethics” [2008], “Makers of Modern Korean Buddhism” [ed., 2010], “Merleau-Ponty and Buddhism” [co-ed., 2009], and “Buddhisms and Deconstructions” [ed., 2006].

Dr. Charles Johnson, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, Seattle, spoke on “Why Buddhism for Black America Now?”

Johnson is a novelist, essayist, literary critic, short story writer, cartoonist, screenwriter, and was the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Endowed Professor of English at the University of Washington.

A Ph.D. in philosophy, he is the author of 18 books, among them “Turning the Wheel: Essays on Buddhism and Writing” [2003], and has published numerous essays, drawings and works of criticism. He is a MacArthur Fellow, recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and winner of the National Book Award for his novel Middle Passage.

Attended by close to 100 faculty, students and members of the public from around the region, the event was co-sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium (GPPC), the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Ethnic Studies Institute of WCU. Faculty from Haverford College, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Rosemont College and LaSalle University offered commentary, as did WCU’s Associate Professor of Philosophy Frank Hoffman who is also the current Vice Chair of GPPC.

The Conference Organizing Committee was made up of Drs. Helen Schroepfer, Frank Hoffman, Joan Woolfrey, and Professor Charlotte Moore.

Joan Woolfrey is in the Philosophy Department. She can be reached at jwoolfrey@wcupa.edu.

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