Courses

Interested in what mindfulness-related offerings are available in the academic sphere at Colby? Or just some of the other closely associated subject areas? Check out the courses listed below. See the Colby College course catalogue here for more information.

  • JP021j Integrating Mindfulness into Work, Health, Play, Relationship: Mindfulness is the study and practice of paying attention to what is happening right here, right now, before judgment, and responding to the situation from the place of balance and center rather than reacting from old patterns. We will study the history and neuroscience research of mindfulness with emphasis on techniques for everyday life. With lightheartedness we will study the mind/body connection. Our study and practice comes from the work of Nancy Hathaway, founder of the Center for Studying Mindfulness, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and director of the Mindfulness Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Professor: Nancy Hathaway
  • AR276s Zen and the Arts in Asia: An introduction to Zen philosophy, history, and practice, with an emphasis on the ways in which the religion has transformed the aesthetic outlook and artistic production in China, Japan, and the United States. Through class discussions, group projects, and individual writing assignments, students hone their skills of textual and visual analysis by actively “reading” a variety of art forms through the lens of Zen concepts and practices. Students achieve a basic competency in East Asian historical development and Buddhist religious thought, as well as learning about the aesthetic implications of belief, including an examination of how their own cultures and belief systems color their experiences of the arts. Professor: Ankeney Weitz
  • ED111f Metacognition and Academic Success: A consideration of factors that contribute to academic and social success in college, highlighting the interrelationship between academic contexts, including nontraditional interpretations of intelligence and learning styles, and social contexts, including race, gender, and class. Focuses specifically on 1) metacognition, including attention, memory, mindfulness, critical thinking, and motivation, and 2) multiple intelligence theory, which suggests intelligence is multifaceted and cannot be captured by standard intelligence tests. Also explores personal strategies and resources that maximize academic success. Professor: Joseph Atkins
  • [EN364] Buddhism in American Poetry: Non-Western religions have affected American poets as far back as Emerson and Whitman. By the beginning of the 20th century, East Asian poetry’s emphasis upon unelaborated image had sparked the revolutionary poetics of Pound and William Carlos Williams. Since World War II, the rise of Zen practice in North America has prompted many poets to explore the kinship between poetry and Buddhism’s non-dualistic world view. Emphasis will be on readings in Zen and in contemporary American poetry.
  • MU254f Music of Meditation: Study of music, ritual, and meditation in Rinzai Zen Buddhism, monastic Roman Catholicism, and Hinduism. Attention to ways communication and apprehension of sacred texts are affected by unique musical and meditative practices and ritual forms. Units include (1) discussion of writings by Japanese, Indian, and Western philosophers, musicians, and theorists of language; (2) instruction in the three forms of ritual choreography and meditation techniques; (3) chant instruction and performance. Each unit concludes with a required public group performance scheduled outside regular class time. Willingness to engage in original research and participate in group chanting and meditation/contemplation exercises is essential. Professor: Steven Nuss
  • [PL266] Buddhist Philosophy: Examines the philosophical dimensions of the rise of Buddhism in India and its spread across East Asia. After an introduction to the historical Buddha and to Buddhist philosophies in India, we will examine the major schools of Buddhist philosophy in China and the dominate schools of Zen Buddhism in Japan, all in chronological order and with attention given to the development and transformation of key philosophical ideas. Questions pertaining to the nature of reality, time, causality, self, mind, truth, language, and the relation between theory and practice are explored.
  • [RE119] Sanskrit: The Sacred Language of Krishna and Gandhi: The “divine” (devanagari) writing system of India, with an introduction to Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary. An exploration of some basic concepts of Hinduism and Buddhism with readings from the original texts of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita.
  • RE211s Religions of India: A study of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, and Sikhism with a focus upon their religious texts and the cultural context within which they developed. An examination of the relationship these religious traditions have to one another, their metaphysical understanding of reality, their theories of self, and their views of the social, as expressed in myth, art, and ritual performance. How do these Indian religious traditions enrich our “patchwork heritage” in the United States? Readings, slides, sacred music, and film clips will be used to introduce the respective traditions. Professor: Nikky-Gunider Singh
  • [RE212] Religions of China, Japan, and Tibet: An examination of Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Buddhism—the indigenous religions of China, Japan, and Tibet—tracing the entrance of Buddhism into China, Japan, and Tibet and the resulting transformation of this religion in its interaction with these civilizations. The political ideology of Confucianism, the mystical dimensions of Taoism, the mythological aspects of Shinto, the meditative experiences of Zen (haiku, swordsmanship, the tea ceremony, etc.), and the psychological and artistic practices of Tibet.
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