The Art of Living: Lights from Asia–A Spring-Summer-Fall Class 2021

Instead of going out of your way to seek the extraordinary, what if you could live in a more carefree way, just by subtly changing your regular, everyday life?
—Shunmyo Masuno, Japan

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. But I try to work one day at a time. If we just worry about the big picture, we are powerless. So my secret is to start right away doing whatever little work I can do. I try to give joy to one person in the morning, and remove the suffering of one person in the afternoon. That’s enough.
—Sister Chan Khong, Vietnam  

The study of the Scriptures and similar texts –provided it does not become an obsession—can be an aid towards the grasping of Truth. So long as what has been read has not become one’s own experience, that is to say, has not been assimilated into one’s own being, it has not fulfilled its purpose. A seed that is merely held in the hand cannot germinate: it must develop into a plant and bear fruit in order to reveal its full possibilities.
—Sri Anandamayi Ma, India

My favorite word? It’s “act.”
—Ai Weiwei, China

For spring, summer and into fall, I invite you to explore  some pathways in the art of living.  In putting together this class, I am indebted to Sri Eknath Easwaran who had been a university professor but transitioned “from education for degrees to education for living.”  

Over the course of six months we will encounter people from India, China, Vietnam, and Japan and learn what they can teach us about transformation, compassion, optimism, mindfulness, bravery and simplicity. 

We will meet every two weeks on Wednesdays at 7 pm Central Time via Zoom beginning April 28th, reading and reflecting on one book each month.    Participants will be encouraged to pull from the authors  “news they can use” for experimentation in our daily lives. We will  also share written reflections in a variety forms at a course blog and through correspondence with some of the people in our lives.

Our readings:

  • Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal 
  • Shunmyo Masuno, The Art of Simple Living: 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy
  • Chan Khong, Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War
  • Ai Weiwei, Weiwei-isms
  • Lü Pin, Essays & Interviews [online]
  • Joseph Fitzpatrick, The Essential Anandamayi Ma: Life and Teaching of a 20th Century Indian Saint
  • Eknath Easwaran, Gandhi the Man: How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World

For those who would like to make use of libraries, let me know as I  am a professor and have universities I can borrow from  and check out books for you.

Tuition is $150; you can send me a check or use Paypal.  

If interested, message me or send an email: markjchmiel@gmail.com.

 

 

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