Encountering Buddhism

Conversation with Ben Connelly

Date & Time:

Thursday, March 22, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Thursday, March 22, 2018, 12:00 noon


free and open to the public


Iversen Hearth Room (room 340), Anderson Student Center
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus
2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN


refreshments and cookies provided; please bring your own lunch

Ben Connelly

Ben Connelly

This session is part eight of an eight part series running through the 2017-2018 academic year titled Encountering Religious and Cultural Traditions: A Series Fostering Religious Literacy and Interreligious Understanding. In this session, Ben Connelly will teach about the lived experience of Buddhism (especially the Zen tradition) as well as address some common misconceptions and stereotypes people have about it.

Renowned scholar of religion Wilfred Cantwell Smith argued that in order to “understand Buddhists, we must not look at something called Buddhism but at the world so far as possible through Buddhist eyes.” Likewise, in order to understand Judaism, Hinduism, and so on, we must not look at Judaism, Hinduism and so on, but at the worldviews of Jews, Hindus, and so on. In his New York Times Bestseller, Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero writes “I am convinced that one needs to know something about the world’s religions in order to be truly educated,” and argues that “you need religious literacy in order to be an effective citizen.” This year-long series aims to foster religious literacy and interreligious understanding by examining the world through the eyes of religious scholars and practitioners from various traditions. They will share their own lived experiences of their traditions and also address common stereotypes and misconceptions. 

Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen Buddhist teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He also teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts including police and corporate training, correctional facilities, and addiction recovery groups. He is the Author of Inside the Grass Hut: Living Shitou’s Classic Zen Poem , (Wisdom Publications, 2014) and Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara: A Practitioner’s Guide (Wisdom Publications, 2016), and he writes for Tricycle and Experience Life magazines. Ben is based at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and travels to teach across the United States. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This program is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas, cosponsored by the Office for Spirituality at the University of St. Thomas, and in is in collaboration with the Project for Mindfulness and Contemplation at the University of St. Thomas.

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.

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