Mercyhurst program aims to increase interfaith awareness on campus

Interfaith Awareness
To learn how others live out their religious and spiritual lives without dishonoring or devaluing the paths of others is at the heart of the upcoming Eastern Religion Dialogue sponsored by Campus Ministry at Mercyhurst University. The discussion is slated for Thursday, Feb. 7, from 5-6:30 p.m. in Mercy Heritage Room, Sullivan Hall.

“Mercyhurst Campus Ministry has made a commitment to increase interfaith awareness on campus,” explained Campus Ministry Director Greg Baker. “The university years offer a unique opportunity for students to be exposed to various faith traditions from around the world. This past summer Betty Amatangelo of our office accompanied three students on an interfaith conference in Chicago. This year we have offered visits to a variety of local faith communities and have also done regular tabling in Egan Hall to highlight faith traditions, particularly those other than the Christian tradition.”

The dialogue’s panelists will explore topics like the Vipassana Movement, also known as the Insight Meditation Movement, which has its goal attaining awakening and reaching Nirvana; a variant of Buddhism that uses elements from Daoism to beget a Chinese variation of the Indian import; and Vaishnavism, a branch of Hinduism in which Vishnu or one of his incarnations is worshipped as the Supreme God. Other topics include Japanese calligraphy, or Shodo, practiced by Buddhist monks and based on the principles of Zen Buddhism; and Dharma, the principle of law that orders the universe.

“Mercyhurst sponsored an interfaith dialogue two years ago, which focused on the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” Baker said. “But it is quite unique to see an interfaith panel entirely comprised of Eastern religions and spirituality. What is also refreshing about the dialogue we have planned is that our panelists are practitioners of the spiritual traditions they will discuss.”

Panelists include Mercyhurst faculty Keiko Miller, M.A., Brian Sheridan, M.A., James Snyder, Ph.D., and student Dom Acharya.

The program is free and open to the public. For questions, please contact Campus Ministry’s Betty Amantangelo at bamantangelo@mercyhurst.edu.
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