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Religious & Spiritual Life

'The Happiness Craze': Lecture Explores Dialogue Between Buddhism and Science

In recent years, exchanges between Buddhism and western science have grown “from a trickle to a flood,” says Jamie Hubbard, professor of religion and Yehan Numata Lecturer in Buddhist Studies at Smith.

Examples range from mindfulness techniques taught in workplaces and schools to the Dalai Lama’s “welcome mat” approach to the scientific study of how meditation and other Buddhist practices affect the brain, Hubbard says.

Yet, so far, those exchanges have yet to produce, well, . . enlightenment, Hubbard told the audience at his chaired professor lecture in Seelye Hall last week. More. . .

The Art of the Buddha

Even as a young child, Cynthea Bogel ’80 was captivated with all things Asian -- a harbinger of the life she leads now. Bogel, who specializes in Buddhist visual culture and Japanese art and architecture, is on the faculty of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, where she teaches Buddhist visual culture of East and South Asia and Japanese art history, and she is responsible for graduate seminars in the international master of arts program in Japanese humanities. On a recent visit to Smith, Bogel talked about her journey, which began with an unexplained fascination and led to a passionate career. More. . .

Buddhism Symposium to Honor Retiring Professor

Faculty from the Five College Consortium and beyond will participate in a symposium April 4-5, 2014 honoring the work of Smith professor Peter Gregory, retiring Jill Ker Conway Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies. The symposium, A Bright Mirror Illuminating the Mind: A Celebration of Peter Gregory's Contributions to Buddhist Studies, will explore the current state of the field of Buddhist studies, and the changes that have occurred in that field during the past 50 years. More...

Digital Project Brings Rare Images to Scholars

Ancient festivals and shrines are central to the practice of Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan; yet many of these have gradually been altered over time. So when a trove of unusual color slides documenting Shinto festivals in Kyoto, Japan, recently surfaced, Smith College faculty and staff quickly took steps to make sure these cultural records wouldn’t be lost to the ages. More...

Smith Prominence in Buddhist Studies Continues to Rise

A conference on Buddhism in Mongolia held on campus this spring was more than an opportunity for academics to share learning and insights. It was a first: never before have scholars formally gathered outside of Asia to discuss this topic. That it happened at Smith is not surprising, given the reputation the college has gained for being a vital center for Buddhist studies. More...

Smith Students Scrutinize Paths to Happiness

Not long ago, while executing shots during a genial game of pool, two gregarious Smith professors from the disparate fields of religion and psychology discovered a common interest in the topic of happiness. More...

Hunt for History of Mongolian Buddhism Leads to Smith

These days, when Professor Jamie Hubbard's eyes take on a faraway look behind his round glasses, his mind is often racing across the barren steppes of Mongolia in search of history. More...

Kahn Institute Project Considers "Reinventing Eurasian Identities"

New visions of "national identity" regularly emerge across the world, often presaged by disaster and accompanied by warfare. A short-term Kahn Institute project considered exuberantly competing versions of national identity that are at play in one particular area of the world: contemporary, post-Soviet Mongolia. More...

On Mongolia, Buddhism, Exotic Hats

"Mongolia always fascinated me," writes Jamie Hubbard, Yehan Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies at Smith College. "Reading about the rise of Chinggis Khan (known more commonly as Ghengis Khan), from a small, unknown tribe to founder of the largest empire in the world boggles my mind." More...

The Dalai Lama Comes to Smith

For Smith College Professor Jay Garfield, the upcoming visit of the Dalai Lama is the culmination of eight years of effort. For the offices of the presidents of Smith and Hampshire colleges, it brings to fruition a formal invitation extended in 2004. More...

Life After Buddhist Studies

Students at Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Hampshire colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst now have the option of pursuing a certificate in Buddhist studies through Five Colleges, Inc. More..