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“Naropa’s Historic Buddhist-Christian Dialogues” with Tessa Bielecki & Judith Simmer-Brown

From 1981–1987, the former Naropa Institute hosted a series of historic Buddhist-Christian dialogues with some of the most celebrated names in Christianity and Buddhism. The youngest and only woman participant in the 1981 dialogue was a young Carmelite Christian abbess, Tessa Bielecki. The organizer of the dialogues was a young professor at the institute, Judith Simmer-Brown. This evening, in the 50th year of Naropa, the two will talk about their experiences of these historic dialogues.

Tessa Bielecki, Carmelite ChristianityTessa Bielecki is a Christian hermit in the tradition of the desert mothers and fathers. Co-founder of the Spiritual Life Institute, she was a Carmelite monk and Mother Abbess for almost 40 years, establishing radically experimental monastic communities of men and women in Arizona, Colorado, Nova Scotia, and Ireland. For all of that time, she was also the editor-in-chief of Desert Call, the quarterly magazine of the Spiritual Life Institute. In the 1980s, Tessa was actively involved in the groundbreaking Buddhist-Christian dialogues at Naropa University, an experience that proved pivotal in her life, opening her up to the wisdom of many other spiritual paths. Tessa is the author of several critically acclaimed books on Teresa of Avila, including: Holy Daring: An Outrageous Gift to Modern Spirituality from Saint Teresa, the Wild Woman of Avila (2016), and Teresa of Avila: Ecstasy and Common Sense (1996).

Judith Simmer-Brown, Distinguished Professor Emeritx of Contemplative and Religious Studies, has been on the faculty since 1978 and was introduced to interreligious dialogue by her teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, shortly after she began teaching at Naropa. For eight years, she directed Naropa’s historic Buddhist-Christian dialogues, joining in as a dialogue partner with renowned contemplatives like H. H. the XIV Dalai Lama, Fr. Thomas Keating, Br. David Steindl-Rast, Eido Shimano Roshi, Mother Tessa Bielecki, Pema Chodron, and Munindra-ji. Simmer-Brown is a pillar of the interreligious dialogue community and creator of Naropa’s innovative Interreligious Dialogue course (now called Interspiritual Dialogue).


Upcoming Events:
  • Oct 25, 2024 @ 6:00 pm




Nalanda Events Center
6287 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80303 United States
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