The Chaudhuri Center For Contemplative Practice, Interreligious Dialogue, and Social Justice
The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. What we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.
ABOUT THE CHAUDHURI CENTER
An initiative of CIIS, The Chaudhuri Center for Contemplative Practice, Interreligious Dialogue, and Social Justice seeks to promote spiritual practice, interreligious understanding, and societal transformation through an engagement with the contemplative dimensions of the world's religious traditions. The center is named after Haridas Chaudhuri (1913-1975), founder of CIIS, an educator and philosopher who was deeply committed to interreligious dialogue, international peace and social justice, and the practice of contemplative disciplines.
Born out of the unique history and mission of CIIS, and situated in the rich interreligious nexus of the San Francisco Bay Area, the work of the Chauduhri Center is rooted in the conviction that issues of interreligious dialogue and cooperation may be fruitfully engaged when approached through the diverse contemplative traditions found within the world's religions.
Contemplative practice is not a substitute for nor a guarantee of success in the difficult work of dialogue and justice making, but an engagement with contemplative traditions may allow another dimension of depth to transform this work, opening our efforts at mutual understanding and the cultivation of social justice to those spiritual and religious energies that lie behind many of humanity's most extraordinary moral and societal achievements.
ACTIVITIES OF THE CENTER
The Center facilitates both interdisciplinary research and practical religious, social, and contemplative engagement through a variety of programs. At present, the Center is especially involved in four initiatives.
The Spirituality and Social Justice Lecture Series. In partnership with friends at the Interfaith Center of San Francisco and the Knights of Saint Francis of the Porziuncola Nuova, San Francisco, the Chaudhuri Center sponsored a series of lectures exploring the intersection of spiritual practice, religious formation, and social justice within different religious traditions at the Interfaith Chapel in the Presidio of San Francisco. Presenters included Darleen Pryds, Ph.D., William Short, O.F.M., S.T.D., Jacob Sherman, Ph.D. and Robert McDermott, Ph.D.
Workshops and Conferences. In partnership with Public Programs at CIIS, the Chaudhuri Center sponsors a wide diversity of workshops, conferences, colloquia, dialogues, and public lectures throughout the Bay area. Currently, the Center is involved in planning a major conference on interreligious relations for the academic year 2012-13.
Community Partnerships. The Center is developing community partnerships and information networks with local communities of practice, including the San Francisco Zen Center, the Sonoma Ashram, the Thomas Merton Center (Palo Alto), the Sri Aurobindo Center (Lodi), the Centering Prayer Community (San Francisco), among others.
Interreligious Studies at CIIS. Through publications, academic offerings, and interdepartmental cooperation, the Center is a nexus for contemplative and interreligious research throughout CIIS. including the development of a new master's degree in Philosophy and Religion with an emphasis in Interreligious Studies.
Parliaments of world religions, interfaith conferences, international gatherings, etc. are outward expressions of a significant trend of the modern mind. They are symptomatic of a growing hunger of the soul for free exchange of spiritual experiences on a global basis. They articulate a deeply felt need for a world-wide dialogue in the search for higher values.