Taking Refuge: Contemplating Asylum


Contemplative Practice Fellowships




This course explores the historical, contemporary, and contemplative dimensions of taking refuge and asylum: as a religious and legal practice in Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and in the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome; as an Enlightenment dream in Kant’s “Perpetual Peace” (1795); as an Enlightenment nightmare in asylums for the mentally ill and in prison designs enforcing contemplation in solitary cells; as a compassionate practice advocated by two political exiles, the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh; as an utopian democratic movement; as a personal act of silence and compassion through contemplative practices in the classroom; and as a collaborative contemplative project of community engagement in which the class explores Philadelphia’s membership in the North American Network of Cities of Asylum.