2018 ESR Spirituality Gathering

Buddhist and Quaker Spiritualities

March 3, 2018
Featuring Keynote Speaker Sallie King

Click Here for Online Registration

PDF Brochure

Sallie B. King is Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Religion at James Madison University and Affiliated Faculty, Professor of Buddhist Studies, Department of Theology, Georgetown University. She is the author, co-editor or translator of numerous works on Buddhism, Engaged Buddhism, Buddhist-Christian dialogue, interfaith dialogue, and the cross-cultural philosophy of religion. She is a Quaker and a Buddhist. In her work for inter-religious friendship and understanding, she has served on the Christian and Interfaith Relations Committee of Friends General Conference, as Trustee of the international, interfaith Peace Council, as President of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, and as a Scholar with the Elijah Interfaith Institute.

Keynote Presentation - Buddhist and Quaker Spiritualities

In her keynote presentation, Sallie King will highlight features of Buddhist and Quaker spiritualities, explore similarities and differences, and explore the question of why so many contemporary Quakers have taken Buddhism into their spiritual lives in some way.

Plenary Workshop - Buddhist Resources for Engaging the Challenges of Our Time  

In her plenary workshop, King will offer Buddhist resources for social engagement in challenging circumstances, focusing particularly on the effort to “be peace” while making peace. The resources offered will include Buddhist scripture readings, meditations and a poem.


Becoming a Guest: Entering Other Religious Traditions - Jon Berry

What’s it like to cross the threshold into another religion? In recent decades immigration and technology have brought the world’s traditions closer to our doorstep than ever before. Many of us live in communities in which Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, and an array of Christian faiths are practiced, often just down the street. Venturing in can be revelatory. But it can also raise questions from etiquette to cultural differences, appropriation, and how the experience of another tradition might reflect on our own. In this workshop, Jon Berry will describe his year worshipping at the Islamic Cultural Center a short walk from his home in New York City, and the conversations it opened up inside and outside the mosque as well as in himself. Please come with your own stories, insights, questions, and thoughts about interfaith encounter so that we may together learn and grow more insightful in one of the most important religious issues of our day.

Jon Berry is a 2017 Masters of Divinity graduate of Earlham School of Religion. Learning to listen – in particular, to those different from ourselves – was a major focus of his studies. He came to seminary after many years in journalism and business. He is entering chaplaincy training and hopes to write about religion and spirituality.

Apophatism: It Isn’t What You Think – Daniel Coleman 

Drawing from his book Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community, Daniel Coleman will go to the roots of contemplative spirituality to discuss the core commonalities between Christian contemplation, Buddhist meditation and other forms of apophatic practice (including defining what apophatic means) and how contemplative spirituality relates to process theology.

Daniel P. (Danny) Coleman describes himself as a "Progressive Christian Buddhist Quaker theologian."  He holds an M.A. in Religion from the Earlham School of Religion.  His areas of emphasis include contemplative spirituality, process theology, interfaith dialogue,  Quakerism, and biblical studies.  He is the author ofPresence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community (Barclay Press).  Daniel lives in Seattle, Washington.

Yoga: From Appropriation to Embodiment – Kaia Jackson 

Yoga is readily recognized as a physically beneficial practice in the U.S. Less frequently is it understood in the light of its cultural, philosophical and spiritual depth. In this interactive and experiential workshop, we will begin by examining the practical uses of yoga in embodied worship and fellowship. We will also discuss potential challenges and various approaches to integrating yoga and other embodied practices into public ministry (from gyms to churches to prisons) in a Western setting. Finally, we will explore a few accessible restorative movement patterns that may release tension, heighten awareness, and invite loving energy to flow to and through the body temple. Beginners and folks with physical disabilities are encouraged to participate; all are welcome! Consider dressing in loose-fitting clothes for ease of movement.

Kaia Jackson is in their first year of study in the MDiv program at ESR. They are also enrolled in the 200-hr Teacher Training Program at Santosha Yoga School in Indianapolis. Kaia is passionate about exploring spirituality and community-building through embodied practices and expressive arts. They are guided by a commitment to creating accessible, inclusive, and trauma-informed opportunities for personal and community healing. You can contact Kaia with questions or thoughts at jackska@earlham.edu.

The Meeting of Quakerism and Buddhism: Nothing But Emptiness – Lonnie Valentine

In this workshop, we will contemplate what Quaker Waiting Worship is all about by engaging the Buddhist vision that all things are empty of substantial reality. From a brief introduction to key Buddhist views on "emptiness" within the Four Noble Truths and some Buddhist meditation techniques, we will see how Quaker views on worship and its practice may be deepened. The hope is that participants will come away with some vision and skills for deepening Quaker worship. 

Lonnie Valentine is Professor of Peace and Justice Studies at the Earlham School of Religion and teaches the course Interfaith Dialog that ESR requires of all Master of Divinity students. He came into Quakerism through study of Daoism and Buddhism in college. In his peace activism he then engaged the ideas for nonviolent social change from Buddhists such as Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, and Pema Chodron.


8:15 am Registration & Breakfast
9:00 am Optional Worship
9:45 am Keynote Presentation - Sallie King
11:30 am Lunch
1:00 pm Workshop Session
2:15 pm Break
2:30 pm Workshop Session
4:00 pm Closing Gathering