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The Practice of Emptiness in Islam and Buddhism

Online Program
Dates: Jul 23, 2022 - Jul 24, 2022

Instructor(s): Bhikkhu Anālayo, Amer Latif

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Course Description:

This program explores the central place of emptiness in Islamic and Buddhist thought and practice. Emptiness, in both traditions, is neither a vacuity nor a thing. Emptiness is a paradoxical fullness which, when practiced and embodied, allows us to experience the richness of possibilities and relationships. 

This program will lead participants on an arc through four dimensions of emptiness in Islam and Buddhism. We will begin at the material level, meditating on the emptiness of the Kaaba, Rumi’s teachings on the emptiness of the ney flute, and perspectives on the emptiness of space from early Buddhist teachings. The second dimension will be a consideration of the mirror as an illustration of the empty nature of the heart-mind. Our third focus will be on the relationship between nothingness and the ineffability of the real, of God, the reality that cannot be named. We will end by exploring what emptiness can teach us about embodiment and facing death. 

Online Schedule:
This program is hosted on Zoom and closed captions are available. Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and with teachers in our online programs. We encourage you to participate as fully as you are able. You can check the time of the group sessions in your timezone here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this program (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Saturday, July 23

10:30 am –12:00 pm Opening Session

3:00 – 4:30 pm Afternoon Session

Sunday, July 24

10:30 am –12:00 pm Morning Session

3:00 – 4:30 pm Closing Session

Please note that sessions will not be recorded.

Cancellation Policy:
Registration fees for online programs are nonrefundable after the program start date. Cancellations prior to the program start date will incur a $25 cancellation fee. For intensive, application-based programs, the cancellation fee is $50.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Bhikkhu Anālayo is a scholar-monk and the author of numerous books on meditation and early Buddhism, such as Satipatthāna: The Direct Path to RealizationPerspectives on Satipatthāna, and Satipatthāna Meditation: A Practice Guide. He is a Faculty Member at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, having retired from being a professor at the Numata Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Hamburg. His main area of academic research is early Buddhism, with a special interest in the topics of meditation and women in Buddhism. At the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies he regularly teaches residential study & practice courses, participates in online programs and undertakes research into meditation-related themes.  For a full list of Bhikkhu Anālayo’s publications, please click here.

  • Amer Latif is an interdisciplinary scholar specializing in comparative religion and Islamic studies. He is particularly interested in the role of poetry, music, and ritual in religious practice.  He has published translations of the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi, the thirteenth century Muslim saint, and is a student of the ney, the traditional reed flute associated with Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes.  Having grown up in Pakistan and with an undergraduate degree in physics, Amer thrives on studying and creating containers that are capacious enough to hold seeming contradictions such as science and religion, East and West, scholar and practitioner. Amer holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies from Stony Brook University and is Associate Professor of religious studies at the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College.