REL 14
Mountain Religion Winter 2019

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Sacred mountains play a central role in the founding myths of many religious traditions. Mountains such as Sinai, Olympus, and Kailash are considered divine abodes, entry into which confers spiritual powers. For many religious practitioners, pilgrimage to and practicing in and around the mountains provides a special opportunity to encounter the gods and acquire spiritual benefits. In this comparative course, we will explore the special role and function of mountains in Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam, with a special focus on contemplative practices from Japan’s Shugendo tradition and the kaihogyo nighttime hikes of Tendai monks, circumambulation of Himalayan peaks and mantra recitation, and pilgrimage journeys. Class will meet for three 2-hour sessions per week. Readings will consist mostly of journal articles and selections from books, with a 5-page reflective paper due at the end of the course. Depending on the weather, we will take advantage of the surrounding mountains for short contemplative hikes, applying some of the practices we will study.
The Class: Format: mornings
Limit: 30
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: 5-page paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: lottery
Materials/Lab Fee: $75
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses

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