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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Queequeg wrote:
My impression about Soka University has been that they have been running from their Buddhist identity since opening in Aliso Viejo. They want to be a school emphasizing "Value Creation", not Buddha Dharma. Ikeda is celebrated, but Buddha makes only cameo appearances.


This is unfortunate.

***

Apropos of Buddhism as pedagogy: B Ziporyn's take on Zhiyi in Being and Ambiguity intersects with (and largely supports) Queequeg's interpretation in an interesting way, if anyone's interested. I find it compelling.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:33 pm 
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infinitywaltz wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Soka University outside of Los Angeles is a good example of this: a private liberal arts school with an explicitly Buddhist charter. I'd like to hear from faculty, students, and staff at Soka U on what has been attempted, what has worked, and what new initiatives are underway.

Soka University, much like Soka Gakkai itself, has not been without its controversies; I live in the general area of Soka University, and can recommend the coverage in the OC Weekly: http://www.ocweekly.com/2011-03-10/news/soka-university-of-america-aliso-viejo-gakkai/. (The OC Weekly is a southern California paper in the same vein of, and owned by, the Village Voice).

They've also been doing an advertising blitz on local radio stations for their new concert hall, for whatever that's worth.



from the article you cited:

Quote:
"Who wouldn't want to be at a university with a Buddhist peace movement?" [Christensen] asks from outside a coffee shop in Santa Ana, near Orange County Superior Court. "I thought, 'This is a beautiful campus in Orange County, in America.' How could things be so weird and terrible?"

She makes reference to an e-mail sent in 2002 by Alfred Balitzer, then-dean of Soka University, to a colleague, "SUA will always have two faces and two kinds of faculty," he wrote, "and that is why we as SUA top administrators have to carefully care for the Gakkai members as they are being swamped by non-Gakkai faculty."


This may explain the PR blitz infinitywaltz observes?

FWIW: I'm an academic by trade, soon to be on the job market. This article would not deter me from applying at Soka U, but if I was granted an interview, I'd have some questions.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
Queequeg wrote:
My impression about Soka University has been that they have been running from their Buddhist identity since opening in Aliso Viejo. They want to be a school emphasizing "Value Creation", not Buddha Dharma. Ikeda is celebrated, but Buddha makes only cameo appearances.


This is unfortunate.


It is. To be completely up front, though, I never attended and have not been in the SGI loop for a while. I recall asking someone a while back involved with the school admin why they didn't emphasize the Buddhist aspect more, and if I recall correctly, they said they wanted to be a mainstream liberal arts school. I don't think I said anything, but in my mind I was thinking, "There are so many great liberal arts schools in the U.S.; if I had a choice, I would choose so many others over SUA. The only thing that would get me interested in that place would be if they were more explicit in their Buddhist perspective." To me, its an unfortunate misdirection of resources - like so much of what SG does.

Quote:
Apropos of Buddhism as pedagogy: B Ziporyn's take on Zhiyi in Being and Ambiguity intersects with (and largely supports) Queequeg's interpretation in an interesting way, if anyone's interested. I find it compelling.



Made it only half way through BandA but was very impressed and influenced by Evil and/or/as Good. BandA seemed to recycle large chunks of Ea/r/aGood. Do you know what Prof. Ziporyn is up to these days? I was wishing he would translate some Zhiyi and Zhanran, but looks like he's moved on from Tientai.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:35 pm 
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I haven't read the Evil book yet, so that may explain my enthusiasm for Being & Ambiguity. I'm not sure what Ziporyn's doing in his more recent work, except for some lectures on ecology and Buddhism that seemed interesting but less provocative than some of his writings.

But I digress.

:focus:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:05 pm 
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infinitywaltz wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Soka University outside of Los Angeles is a good example of this: a private liberal arts school with an explicitly Buddhist charter. I'd like to hear from faculty, students, and staff at Soka U on what has been attempted, what has worked, and what new initiatives are underway.

Soka University, much like Soka Gakkai itself, has not been without its controversies; I live in the general area of Soka University, and can recommend the coverage in the OC Weekly: http://www.ocweekly.com/2011-03-10/news/soka-university-of-america-aliso-viejo-gakkai/. (The OC Weekly is a southern California paper in the same vein of, and owned by, the Village Voice).

They've also been doing an advertising blitz on local radio stations for their new concert hall, for whatever that's worth.


Very interesting article. Can't say any of it is that surprising, though. I know and have been told (by many people with advanced degrees, doctorates, professors, etc.) that academia can be a vicious environment, and I've experienced it myself. So, I don't think the viciousness the article refers to really has much to do with religion, as I've seen it in non-religious academic settings. I've heard horror stories. That much being said, it really is indication of having things out of perspective if they have an exhibit titled, "Gandhi, King, and Ikeda." Probably the only living person who belongs in their company would be someone like Nelson Mandela. Most people unfamiliar with Soka Gakkai have probably never even heard of Ikeda. They may have 12 million members in something like 190 countries, but I think they're still relatively obscure to most people.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:53 pm 
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I'm locking the thread temporarily for review and potential clean-up.

thanks for your patience.

***

Thread unlocked. Kindly remember to temper the hyperbole in order to keep the conversation civil and on-topic. Thank you.

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