Workshop 2020

The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, with the support of Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai Canada, presented a three-day conference on New Paths in Teaching Buddhist Studies, held in Toronto on February 21-23, 2020. Additional support was provided by the Department for the Study of Religion and the Asian Institute, University of Toronto.

Organized by Professors Frances Garrett and Sarah Richardson, the event convened instructors interested in a diverse range of approaches to teaching Buddhist Studies in the higher education context, with presentations on teaching Buddhism through material objects, teaching outside the classroom or in international settings, integrating contemplative techniques into the Buddhist Studies classroom, community-engaged teaching, and a host of other new approaches to teaching in our field. 

For those outside Toronto, spaces were available for participants to join us remotely via live video conference on Zoom (before that was common). We were happy to see participants online with us from around the world.

Most presentations from this conference are now available on the Ho Centre’s YouTube channel – see

Workshop Schedule

Friday morning, Session 1: Listening to Our Students

9:30 – Teaching “Buddhism, Nationalism, and Violence” as a First-Year Writing Course in the American South (Rachel H. Pang, Davidson College)

10:00 – Teaching the Teaching of Vimalakirti: Introducing Buddhist Prose to Students of Literature (Antje Richter, University of Colorado, Boulder)

10:30 – Teaching Buddhism at BYU: Stressing Devotion through Practice (Greg Wilkinson, Brigham Young University)

11: 00 – Digital Upaya in the Buddhist Studies Classroom: Using Technology to Increase Student Engagement (Matthew Mitchell, Allegheny College)

11:30-12 General Discussion

Lunch 12:00-1:30

Friday afternoon, Session 2: Dismantling the Legacy

1:30 – Colonial Legacies: Thai Buddhist Art in the Modern Museum (Melody Rod-ari, Loyola Marymount University)

2:00 – Toppling Max Müller’s Library and Other Strategies for Complicating our Imagined Students (Natasha L. Mikles, Texas State University)

2: 30 – If You Meet Buddhology on the Road, Kill It! – Critique and/as Graduate Training (Matthew King, University of California, Riverside)

3:00 – 3:30 General Discussion

7 pmFriday evening public lecture

#CiteWomen in the Classroom: How Publishing Practices Shape our Teaching (Natasha Heller, University of Virginia)    

Location: Munk School of Global Affairs, N208, 1 Devonshire Place

Registration at        

Saturday morning, Session 3: Complicating Meditation in the Classroom   

9:00 – Expectations and Disappointments: How to Teach Meditation in a Buddhist Studies Program in Nepal (Philippe Turenne, Kathmandu University, Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute)

9:30 – Teaching Buddhist Chaplaincy: An Integrated Approach (Jenny Bright, Emmanuel College)

10:00 – Teaching the Buddhism of the Future, Not the Past (John H. Negru, Independent Scholar)

10:30 – Technologies of the Meditative Self (David DiValerio, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

11:00 – General Discussion

Lunch 12:00-1:30

Saturday afternoon, Session 4: Encouraging Reflective and Somatic Awareness    

1:30 – Performativity Techniques and Somatic Experience in the Classroom (Maria Turek, University of Toronto)

2:00 – Teaching Wisdom? (Julia C. Stenzel, Rangjung Yeshe Institute)

2:30 – Curriculum Development for Buddhism and Science: A Critical Introduction to the Encounter (Ana Cristina Lopes and James Gentry, Stanford University)

3:00 – 3:30 General Discussion

7 pmSaturday evening public lecture

Did the Buddha Teach Sexual Consent?: Emergent Ethics after Abuse Allegations in an American Insight Organization (Ann Gleig, University of Central Florida, and Amy Langenberg, Eckerd College)  

Location: Room 208, Main Activity Hall, Multi-Faith Centre, 569 Spadina Ave.

Registration at

Sunday morning, Session 5: Multi-Sensory Teaching and Learning  

10:00 – Seeing is More Than Just Seeing: Film as Experiential Pedagogy (Sujung Kim, DePauw University)

10:30 – New Approaches to the Buddhist Art Survey (Winston Kyan, University of Utah)

11:00 – Nepal-Rasa: Out of the Classroom, Into the Field (Vanessa R. Sasson, Marianopolis College)

11:30 – Handling Death: Exploring Buddhist Practices and Beliefs about Death through the Study of Material Culture (Susan Andrews, Mount Allison University)

12:00 – Closing Discussion

12:30 Lunch