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Confronting Mara and Mammon: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Spirituality and Resistance


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – Saturday, February 16, 2019


Denison University
Burton Morgan Lecture Hall/ Slayter Auditorium/ Open House

Confronting Mara and Mammon
Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Spirituality and Resistance

Compassion, love, wisdom, and liberation. How can we embody these values in our globalized world where the cries of sentient beings have become more widespread? Millions of refugees have fled their homelands due to life-threatening violence. Dire socio-economic conditions bar many people from living decent life. The global ecological crisis only adds more suffering on Earth. On of many causes of suffering on Earth is religion. In tracing the roots of suffering, Buddhists and Christians point to Mara and Mammon. Mara is the Buddhist personification of the Three Poisons―greed, ill-will, and ignorance―and Mammon the Christian personification of material greed, which also breeds ill-will and ignorance. Many name neo-liberalism or the global free-market economy as the institutionalized form of Mara and Mammon, which prioritizes competition over cooperation, private wealth over public welfare and ecological wellbeing, and the possessive individual over community. The system spreads greed to have more and is fed by the collective fear to not have or lose. The values and human attitudes that breed Mara and Mammon might constitute the most powerful religion. This religion knows no borders and boundaries; it is omnipresent. Since Mara and Mammon concerns both structural and spiritual matters, this conference calls for socio-spiritual resistance by first bringing socially engaged Buddhists and Christian liberationists to the dialogue table. The renowned religious scholars and activists in Buddhism and Christianity cultivate interfaith and transnational solidarity that is strong enough to dismantle Mara and Mammon, both within ourselves as well as in social institutions. You are invited to be present in this exciting dialogue for social transformation through compassion, love, and wisdom.


Inspiring Scholars, Activists, and Spiritual Leaders: Engaged Buddhists and Liberation Theologians


Confronting Mara and Mammon

7:00 pm

Pre-Conference Event: Why Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Now? Interfaith Dialogue for Social Transformation

Burton Morgan Lecture Hall (BM 101)/ OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Presider: Phoebe Myhrum (Chaplain, Denison University) Panelists: Paul Knitter (Professor Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary, NYC), Sallie King (Emerita, James Madison University), Melanie Harris (Texas Christian University), John Makransky (Boston College), Ruben Habito (Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology)  
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Evening Panel: Confronting Mara and Mammon: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Spirituality and Resistance

Open to the Public/ Slayter Auditorium Presider: K. Christine Pae (Denison University) Panelists:  Jan Willis (Professor Emerita, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT) Joerg Rieger (Vanderbilt University, Divinity School) Judith Simmer-Brown (Naropa University) David Loy (Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center) María Teresa (MT) Dávila (Merrimack College)
9:30 am - 11:15 am

Original Ignorance or Original Sin? –Tracing the Roots of our Global Malaise—Buddhist and Christian Views of our Human Condition

Burton Morgan Lecture Hall (BM 101)/ Open to the Public Presider:  M.T. Davila (Mamerrick College), Panelists: Sallie King (James Madison University), Claudio Carvalhaes (Union Theological Seminary, NYC), K. Christine Pae (Denison University)
11:15 am - 12:45 pm

Confronting Greed: Economic Disparity and Ecological Crisis: Toward a Just and Sustainable Economy: Buddhist and Christian Contributions

Burton Morgan Lecture Hall (BM 101)/ Open to the Public Presider:  Ruben Habito (Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology) Panelists: Jude Lal Fernando (Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland) Ouyporn Khuankwae (International Women’s Partnership for Peace) Melanie Harris (Texas Christian University)
12:45 pm - 2:15 pm

Community Lunch

Burton Morgan Knobel Hall (Open to the Audience)
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Confronting Ill-will: White, Male, Class, Religious Supremacies: Buddhist and Christian Insights on Addressing Hierarchies and Extremism

Burton Morgan Lecture Hall (BM 101)/ Open to the Public Presider:  Jan Willis (Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT), Panelists: Karen Enriquez (Loyola Marymount University), Paul Knitter (Union Theological Seminary, NYC), Anne Joh (Garrett Evangelical Seminary)  
4:00 pm - 5:45 pm

Toward Global and Personal Well-Being: Transforming Individuals and Structures: Buddhist and Christian Perspectives on Spiritual Practice and Social Action

Burton Morgan Lecture Hall/ BM 101 (Open to the Public) Presider:  Judith Simmer-Brown (Naropa University), Panelists: John Makransky (Boston College), Mary Hunt (Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual), Kyeongil Jung (Saegil Institute, Seoul, Korea)
5:45 pm - 6:30 pm


9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Day 4 Compassionate Love Meditation and Retreat

Silent Meditation and Mindfulness Retreat led by John Makransky and Ruben Habito (Open House at 204 North Mulberry Street/ Open to the Public) Lunch at 12:30 PM (All the participants are welcome.)


All events are Free and open to the public. Please RSVP to help us plan for the event.


Friday Lunch


Denison University, Granville, Ohio

100 West College Street, Granville, OH 43023


Denison University, Department of Religion Knapp 310, Granville, Ohio 43023

Denison University, Department of Religion Knapp 310, Granville, Ohio 43023

Conference Location

Denison Campus Map

Denison Campus Map

100 W. College St. Granville OH 43023

Department of Religion

Blair Knapp Hall 310

Burton Morgan Lecture Hall

Burton Morgan 101 (Connected to the Visitors' Parking Lot)

Slayter Auditorium

Slayter 4th Floor (Connected to the Visitors' Parking Lot)

Open House (Saturday Morning Retreat)

31 Mulberry Street, Granville, OH 43023