Learning Asian theology through an experience of Buddhism

The participants will have an intensive experience of Buddhism in the specific context of Thailand, which is predominantly Buddhist.

Thailand (UCAN): 

Jesuit scholastics are invited to join a four-week programme designed to guide them in examining issues of Asian theology, and understanding interreligious dialogue and the inculturation of the Catholic faith in Asia.

Now on its tenth year, the 2015 East Asia Theological Encounter Programme (EATEP) will be held from July 22 to August 17 at the Seven Fountains Spirituality Centre in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Participants will attend seminars in interreligious dialogue and contextual theology conducted by Fr Michael Amaladoss SJ, director of the Di Nobili Institute in Chennai, India. The purpose of these is to present to young Jesuits a more “Asian” face of Catholic theology by drawing them into reflections on their own cultures and the challenges facing their local churches. 

The participants will have an intensive experience of Buddhism in the specific context of Thailand, which is predominantly Buddhist.

Scholastics will spend five days in the cave monastery of Wat Tham Doi Tone to learn "Insight" meditation, and go on field trips to temples, monasteries, and historic sites in the Chiang Mai area.

Participants have found EATEP useful in shaping their understanding of Church in an Asian context.

“I honestly believe that what I have learned from our Buddhist brothers has the potential to make me a better Christian. Learning about the Buddhist tradition has deepened my appreciation not only for the Buddhist spirituality, but for our own as well. Travels to foreign lands have made me see more clearly what is Filipino about me, and how there is so much to love about our own culture and our own country. In the same way, I emerge from my Buddhist encounters loving and more strongly desiring to live out all that is Ignatian,” said Mark Lopez SJ who participated in EATEP in 2012.

Another scholastic said, “It has broadened my horizons on the Asian context of multi-cultural and multi-religious society and how to respond to this pluralistic context through my Christian faith and belief, especially for me as a Jesuit in formation.”

EATEP is accredited by the Loyola School of Theology in the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. Applicants should preferably have completed at least one year of theology.

Only 12 participants are accepted each year but places are still available for this year’s programme. Interested scholastics should contact programme director Fr John Shea SJ at johnjsheasj@gmail.com for application details.

Source: sjapc

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