Chan / Zen Buddhism and Carmelite Spirituality, Interfaith Meeting in Ávila, Spain, July 2020 – Buddhadoor Global

The Catholic Order of Discalced Carmelites and the International Center for Teresian and Sanjuanist Studies (Centro Internacional Teresiano-Sanjuanista, CITeS) of Ávila, Spain, in cooperation with the Center for Buddhist Studies (CBS) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), officially announced the “2nd World Meeting of Teresian Mysticism and Interfaith Dialogue. Chan / Zen Buddhism and Carmelite Spirituality: on Love and Compassion. “The conference will be held in the city of Ávila, from July 22 to 26, 2020.

By mistica.es

This will be the second collaboration between CITeS and CBS. In 2016, CITeS announced its intention to conduct a series of interreligious meetings, putting Carmelite spirituality in dialogue with other religious traditions. The first of these events, the “1st. World meeting of Teresian mysticism and interreligious dialogue. Theravada Buddhism and Teresian Mysticism: Meditation and Contemplation, Pathways to Peace ”, took place in Ávila from July 27 to 30, 2017 and was also co-organized by CITeS and CBS. The dialogue partners in this interreligious meeting were the Discalced Carmelites and Theravada Buddhists. Due to its great success, CITeS and CBS decided to organize a second forum, in which the conversation partner of the Discalced Carmelites will be the Chan / Zen school of Buddhism, with the proposed theme of the culture of love and compassion for a more caring world. company.

The place will be the architectural marvel of the star-shaped CITeS headquarters with its spacious, bright and state-of-the-art facilities. It is located just outside the medieval walled town of Ávila, the birthplace of Saint Teresa of Ávila. This Castilian municipality, often called the “City of Stones and Saints”, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Throughout the four days of sharing and dialogue, participants will have many opportunities for spiritual enrichment by discovering the beliefs and practices of the two traditions and by exploring common affinities and differences in a spirit of friendliness, integrity. and mutual respect. The goal is to learn how love and compassion are cultivated in the two traditions for a world full of more loving kindness.

Illuminate this congress the teachings of Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582) and of Saint John of the Cross (1542–1591), two of the most influential mystics in the Catholic tradition on the Carmelite side and — on the Buddhist side —Maitre Huineng (638-713), the sixth patriarch of Chan / Zen Buddhism, considered by many to be his true father.

The headquarters of CITeS in Ávila.  By madrescarmelitasdescalzas.net
The headquarters of CITeS in Ávila. By madrescarmelitasdescalzas.net

This 2nd Congress in Ávila will offer communications and presentations, round tables, meditation workshops, song ceremonies, to name just a few of the many activities, all carried out in an atmosphere of conviviality and brotherhood.

The Chan / Zen Buddhist tradition will be represented by renowned scholars and experienced meditators. Researchers will come from all over the world, including Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in East Asia, and the US and UK in the West. The meditation workshop will be led by a Chan / Zen meditation master from Canada, while monks from China will chant sutras every morning after Christian mass.

On the Carmelite side, the professors of the International Center for Teresian and San Juanist Studies are known to be among the most eminent representatives of Carmelite spirituality, and other renowned Christian scholars and contemplatives will join them as speakers.

The program is structured to show how love and compassion develop along the two respective spiritual paths. The presentations from both sides on the parallel theme will be followed by panel discussions chaired by a moderator knowledgeable on the subject in both traditions.

The full conference program and registration form are available at the following link: http://www.buddhism.hku.hk/documents/Spain_reg_form2020.pdf

The Congress will be held in English and Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation. It will be broadcast in its entirety via the Internet, and will also be available in DVD format. The proceedings of the meeting will be published.

3rd Teresa d’Ávila International Prize and Interfaith Dialogue Prize

The award ceremony will take place on the third day of the congress to present the “3rd Teresa of Ávila International Prize and Interfaith Dialogue”. It was created by CITeS with a private donation to advance the spiritual wealth of humanity and promote authentic interreligious dialogue. This third call concerns comparative studies between Carmelite spirituality and other religious traditions, the winner of which will be awarded a first prize of 6000 euros. The four finalists will each receive 1000 euros. The winning articles will be considered for inclusion in a special commemorative volume.

Information on the 3rd International Prize is available at the following link:

On a lighter note, Congress organizers encourage attendees to enjoy their trip by crisscrossing Ávila. This beautiful World Heritage city, located around an hour by train from Madrid, has an exceptional heritage. The old town of Ávila still reflects hundreds of years of interaction between Jews, Muslims and Christians. Participants could better appreciate the context of the Congress by visiting the 2.5 km long medieval walls, or places such as the Convent and Museum of Saint Teresa. Ávila is close to other parts of Spain, including the historic city of Toledo, which is a short distance from Ávila, as well as other major European cities.

The walls of Ávila.  From wikipedia.org
The walls of Ávila. From wikipedia.org

In our daily life, the news of hatred, enmity and violence is always present, but we can move beyond hostility and aversion towards others. To do this, we need to understand each other better and overcome animosity and aggression. These few days in Ávila will be an opportunity to learn to cultivate love and benevolence. To achieve a more compassionate world, love and compassion must first be ingrained in our hearts. This event will be widely covered by Buddhadoor Global and Buddhistdoor en Español.


CITeS: International Center for Teresian and Sanjuanist Studies
CBS (HKU): Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Hong Kong