The Buddha and Ignatius of Loyolain Conversation: Responding to the Challenge of Religious Pluralism in Faith-Based Higher Education
Catholic Universities frequently seek to anchor students’ educational experience in the spiritual charism of a founding religious order (Wilcox et al., 2013). In its approach, Jesuit Education leans heavily on The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, a series of foundational re ections (Fleming, 1996). As an increasing number of administrators, faculty and students come from non-Catholic traditions, religious pluralism poses a challenge to Jesuit higher education. How can individuals from varied traditions nd resonance with the Ignatian tradition while simul- taneously feeling their own religious worldview is a valued contributor to a shared spiritual perspective? In the Western United States, Buddhism provides an exemplary challenge. This paper explores how the Spiritual Exercises, the experiential doorway to Jesuit spirituality, can be creatively juxtaposed with Buddhism. Although the setting is higher education, the foundational approach piloted could also be a basis for dialog in other institutional settings.