Press Release: 9/7/14
By Bonnie Glass-Coffin, PhD
Each day as I read the news, I am sickened by stories of religious conflict, born of fear, hatred, and ignorance. I purse my lips in disgust when I hear how the Islamic State, or Westboro “Baptist,” or Buddhist vigilante squads commit unspeakable acts while claiming to represent religious and spiritual traditions that bear no resemblance to their extremist views. I believe that the best way to counter this hateful rhetoric is to give students the tools to promote interfaith cooperation—rather than conflict—in the world they will soon lead.
For this, they must learn to voice the depths of who they are, what they believe, and how they came to these commitments. They must learn to listen deeply and appreciatively to those who hold faith commitments different than their own. They must learn how to engage with these “others,” building positive relationships across difference. Then, they must all learn to act together in service to the common good. These are the skills that will lead away from fear, to love. These are the tools that will save the world.
This fall, at Utah State University, my shamanism students will use the Pachakuti Mesa as a tool for cultivating “right action, born of compassionate spiritual wisdom, [which] unites. These wisdoms are at the core of the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition (PMT). They are also key to the Liberal Arts goal of exploring, transforming, and developing the necessary skills to become productive citizens in a religiously diverse world. This is the “heart of higher education” as well as the heart of the healer, which is THOTH. Please keep us in your hearts as we blaze this trail together!
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