Personal Statement/Teaching Philosophy
As a student I was interested in psychology, philosophy, history, ancient languages and cultures. In fact, the list of my interests only seemed to grow as my undergraduate years passed, so that I found it virtually impossible to settle on a major. I am fascinated by the sheer diversity of beliefs and practices embraced by human beings. What most interests me, though, is the way we seek meaning in life and in death, and the lengths we are willing to go in order to discover or invent such meaning, or, in some cases, to find a way to live without it. It was only much later when I found out that the study of Religion incorporated all these interests, and more. I well recall those days as a student, and now, as a college teacher, the focus of my attention is not on the accumulation of information for its own sake, but rather on how the lives of my own students might be authentically changed through critical reflection on the material we encounter in class. What will they remember - and value - five or ten or twenty years after graduation? I search for books and ideas and experiences that have the power to shape our lives in the most fundamental way, by altering our understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe.
- Introductory: World Religions
- Intermediate: Buddhism, Hinduism, Religions of the Far East, Native American Religions
- Advanced: Religion and Literature, Architecture of the Sacred
The Emptiness of Emptiness: An Introduction to Early Indian Madhyamika (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1995). Link