The Symposium of the Ricci Institutes of Macau and Taipei for 2019 is meant to spark serious discussions in China and Southeast Asia over the role of China’s wisdom traditions in promoting moral leadership in business and the professions. These traditions—as recognized in the China’s Constitution, namely, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, and Islam—converge in supporting moral excellence through the teaching and practice of various forms of religious observance: prayer, study of sacred texts, performance of religious rituals, and spiritual self-cultivation or contemplation. We will use the term “Contemplation” to cover forms of meditation or spiritual practice that include those grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition but also in other wisdom traditions contributing to our deepening appreciation for spirituality, to designate the focus of this year’s conference. Though China’s wisdom traditions differ among themselves in their metaphysical assumptions—that is, the reality of God and the nature of humanity’s relationship to it—they seem to converge in a number of ways they respond to this the depth dimension of human experience. It has been one of the great insights of the founder of the Taipei Ricci Institute, Fr. Yves Raguin S.J. (1910-1998) to explore the importance of Contemplation not only as a path to enrich the Christian faith journey but also as a privileged door to enter in dialogue with other religions especially with Buddhism and Daoism.
We hope to stimulate cross-cultural explorations of the role of contemplation in cultivating moral excellence in general, and particularly in business and the professions where it is all-too-often ignored in the pressures of making business decisions. Those who respond to our Call for Papers are encouraged to explore the various traditions of religious faith and spiritual practices that have had an impact on China’s historic development and that continue to enjoy legal recognition in China. In addition, those who respond may also take the opportunity to explore how these wisdom traditions have evolved in the countries on China’s periphery, in South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia. General explorations of contemplative practice, of course, will be considered; but the focus for this symposium must remain on their impact on achieving moral excellence in business and the professions.
The exploration of this topic, however, cannot be confined to the comparative study of contemplative theories and practices. The wisdom traditions of China, like those throughout the globe, are embedded in communities, with their own unique histories, each responding to their own sense of purpose and destiny. Thus, the title of this symposium is “Contemplation, Mission and Martyrdom”. We encourage participants therefore to propose papers related to three key events that have marked the history of Catholicism in the 20th century, namely, (1) the impact of Benedict XV’s encyclical letter, “Maximum Illud,” promulgated in 1919, on the Church’s missions, especially in China and East Asia, and (2) the thirtieth anniversary (1989) of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador, who sought to dramatize the systematic abuse of human rights in the midst of that country’s civil war and (3) the Encyclical Letters “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”) (2013) and “Laudato Si’” (“The Concern for the Common Home”) (2015) of Pope Francis which describes key elements of new approach to mission.
These events are worth remembering, especially for the lessons they hold for those who would share the gift of religious faith and the spiritual practices that sustain it. In a context of a massive crisis of moral leadership, cultivating “the subversive and dangerous memory”(Johann Baptist Metz) of sacrifice and suffering may be a resource for sustaining the courage of those who seek the truth that may set us free. The example of Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, killed while celebrating Holy Mass in March 1980 stands out as a model of moral leadership deeply rooted in Contemplation, which has had a lasting impact well beyond the boundaries of his flock. The exploration of Mission and Martyrdom enables this symposium to fulfill the promise of Pope Francis’ repeated calls for interreligious dialogue and collaboration. His concern to highlight the globally interrelated challenges of poverty and climate change is a direct reflection of the Church’s Mission, and the Martyrdoms—great and small—that may have to be faced if the lethal consequences of our seriously distorted policies of economic and social development are to be reshaped toward serving the common good. As Francis’ letter on environmental responsibility and spirituality Laudato Si’(2015), makes clear, such efforts to address our global problems will not be successful, if we ignore the deeper spiritual crisis that exacerbates them. The MRI’s focus on Contemplation is not a distraction from addressing these problems, but is an indispensable component of any effective solutions.
The Call for Papers for the 2019 October Symposium, then, is an attempt to define a topic that will promote the rediscovery of spiritual resources for making a practical difference in resolving the problems that we face as individuals and as peoples united in our common destiny as one humanity. We hope to provide a forum for the exploration of comprehensive perspectives, at once both historically informed as well as spiritually attuned, and practical, in which our wisdom traditions are being deployed to address contemporary challenges, especially in business and the professions. We hope that you will consider answering this Call, and will share with us what you have learned in your research as well as in your personal spiritual journeys.
With this call for papers we invite submissions that focus on a particular aspect of Contemplation, Mission and Martyrdom particularly in the Ignatian tradition, i.e. what it is, and how the opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and communication related to becoming “Contemplative in Action” might be understood and responded to by scholars, entrepreneurs, business leaders, as well as students, faculty, netizens and others learning through social media. What can we learn from the historic experience of those who put Contemplative silence at the core of their being and action? How might a mission which is genuinely rooted in local cultures not only be enriched through Contemplation but also contribute to new approaches to mission. How do Martyrdom and the blood of martyrs through the centuries help to frame an action oriented mission which is freed from sectarian concerns but is designed to advance the common good and enhance our capacities for moral leadership and social responsibility?
We encourage papers that reflect on the contributions made by the spiritual and wisdom traditions focused on Contemplative practices that flourished along cultural cross-roads particularly but not exclusively in China —Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.What is the impact on these traditions on our understanding of the terms of Mission and Martyrdom?
We are looking for papers that bring together theory and practice, research studies and case-based papers that address the intrinsic link between Contemplation, Mission and Martyrdom. We welcome both careful empirical studies and thoughtful and well-developed conceptual work that explore this topic. Empirical studies should be supported by rigorous qualitative or quantitative data analysis. Conceptual work should be clearly grounded in the existing literature. Practitioner papers are welcomed to contribute to our understanding of effective teaching and learning, through research, reports and case studies that address any of the questions suggested here, or others that they believe should be addressed.
Submitted papers should have the potential to make a significant contribution both to action oriented educational and academic literature and / or organizational development in order to qualify for inclusion in the Conference.
Accepted papers for the Conference will be considered for publication in the MRI Journal.
Franz Gassner SVD, Religious Studies Department, University of Saint Joseph
Olivier Lardinois SJ, Taipei Ricci Institute
Edmund Ryden SJ, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei
Jaroslaw Duraj SJ, Macau Ricci Institute
Dennis McCann, Rothlin Ltd. Research Department
Thierry Meynard SJ, University of Sun-Yat-Sen, Guangzhou, China & Macau Ricci Institute
Stephan Rothlin SJ, Macau Ricci Institute
Mike Thompson, Gustavson Business School, University of British Columbia
Yang Hengda, Renmin University of China, Beijing
Zhou Shoujin, Peking University