Courses prepared by the scholars of the Hermes Forum

The heart of the enterprise of the Hermes Forum has been to create courses of study. Materials include primary sources, scholarly contributions, videos and other teaching resources. Corresponding to the completed cycles of work of the Forum, the courses presently cover four main themes:

1. Defining Spirituality and Mysticism
2. The Spiritual Life
3. The Spiritual Life and Daily Life
4. Teacher – Disciple Relations


1. Defining Spirituality and Mysticism

Here you will find essay length definitions of mysticism and spirituality, written from the perspectives of our six participating traditions. Following, you will find videos and accompanying lesson plans, along with textual resources, that amount to an introductory course on the mystical and spiritual life. Join noted scholars and religious leaders, as they share their key understanding of the spiritual life. 


1.H Hindu
1.H.1 Mysticism and Spirituality, by Anantanand Rambachan
1.H.2 Mysticism and Spirituality in World Religions with special reference to Hinduism, by Swami Atmapriyananda

1.C Christian
1.C.1 Mysticism and Spirituality, a Christian Perspective, by Laurence Freeman
1.C.2 Contribution by Philip Sheldrake
1.C.3 Thoughts on the Eastern Orthodox Approach to Mysticism and Spirituality, by Nikitas Lulias
1.C.4 Spirituality and Mysticism, by Michael von Brück

1.B Buddhist
1.B.1 Comparative Spirituality and Mysticism, a Tibetan Buddhist View, by Geshe Tashi Tsering
1.B.2 Zen Spirituality and Mysticism of Engagement, Emerging out of Silence, by Ruben L.F. Habito

1.J Jewish
1.J.1 A Letter, by Arthur Green
1.J.2 Contribution by Daniel Kohn
1.J.3 Religion, Mysticism, and Spirituality, The Issue of Interreligious Understanding, by Haviva Pedaya

1.M Muslim
1.M.1 Contribution by Sheikh Hisham Kabbani
1.M.2 Sufism: Islamic Spirituality and Mysticism in Action, by Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi
1.M.3 Interreligious Study of Mysticism and Spirituality, by Muzaffar Iqbal

1.S Sikh
1.S.1 The Sikh Dharam, by Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh

Teaching Resources

1. Introduction of participants
2. Defining terms Parts 1 and 2
3. Jewish Understandings of the Spiritual and Mystical Life
4. Christian Understandings of the Spiritual and Mystical Life
5. Muslim Understandings of the Spiritual and Mystical Life
6. Hindu Understandings of the Spiritual and Mystical Life
7. Buddhist Understandings of the Spiritual and Mystical Life
8. Prayer and Meditation as the Vehicles for Spirituality
9. The Spiritual Life as a Response to Consumerism
10. Spirituality as a Response to the Secular World


2. Entering The Spiritual Life

Here you will find textual resources, discussions and commentaries on the question of how to understand the moment or the process of entry into the spiritual life. What seems like a simple question ends up revealing complexities of processes associated with the spiritual life. Videos of discussions of primary sources enrich the study of texts and invite you to join in the conversation.

2.H Hindu
2.H.1 Mundaka, Upanishad (1.2.11-13), presented by Anantanand Rambachan
2.H.2 Siksastaka, The Eight Teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, presented by Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami
2.H.3 Bhagavadgita 7,16, presented by Swami Atmapriyananda
2.H.4 From the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, presented by Alon Goshen-Gottstein

2.C Christian
2.C.1 From the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, presented by Piotr Sikora
2.C.2 From the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, presented by Piotr Sikora
2.C.3 Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love (or Showings), presented by Philip Sheldrake
2.C.4 Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing, presented by Philip Sheldrake
2.C.5 A Reflection on Faith as described in St Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (3:23-29), presented by Laurence Freeman
2.C.6 A Gospel of Thomas Sampler, presented by Cynthia Bourgeault
2.C.7 From Wendy Beckett on Prayer, presented by Timothy Wright
2.C.8 Prayer for making a Catechumen, presented by John Klentos
2.C.9 From ‘The Cloud of Unknowing ‘ ch 50, presented by Timothy Wright

2.B Buddhist
2.B.1 Mumonkan, Case No. 1: Joshu’s Dog, presented by Ruben Habito
2.B.2 Hakuin’s Song of Zazen, presented by Ruben Habito
2.B.3 A Manual for Meditating on the Nature of Mind, presented by José I. Cabezón
2.B.4 Entering the Spiritual Life: the Spiritual Path of Zen, presented by Ruben Habito

2.J Jewish
2.J.1 Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, The Lights of Penitence, Chapter 2, Sudden and Gradual Penitence, presented by Alon Goshen-Gottstein
2.J.2 Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, The Lights of Penitence, Chapter 3, Particularized Penitence and General Penitence, presented by Alon Goshen-Gottstein
2.J.3 Shaar H`kawwana, attributed to R. Azriel of Girona (around 14th century), presented by Haviva Pedaya
2.J.4 From David b. Joshua Maimonides, presented by Paul Fenton
2.J.5 Jacob’s moment of deeper Waking, presented by Elliot K. Ginsburg

2.M Muslim
2.M.1 On “State” and “Time” – (Hâl and Waqt), presented by Muzaffar Iqbal
2.M.2a From the Qur’ān: Al-Wāqi‘ah (The Chapter of the Inevitable) Qur’ān–– 56: 10–40, presented by Muhammad Suheyl Umar
2.M.2b From Prophetic Sayings [Hadith]: 2– The Hadith of Gabriel– (Muslim, I, 1.), presented by Muhammad Suheyl Umar
2.M.2c From Prophetic Sayings [Hadith] Bukhārī, LXXXI, 37, presented by Muhammad Suheyl Umar
2.M.2d From a Contemporary Sufi Master: The Way, presented by Muhammad Suheyl Umar

2.S Sikh
2.S.1 Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh: Sacred scriptural quotes Forum, presented by Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh

2.I Interreligious
2.I.1 Rebirth, Initiation and other Processes of Entering the Spiritual Life (Video)


3. The Spiritual Life and Daily Life

How is the spiritual life lived and what is its relation to daily life? Should they be thought of as complementary or in tension? textual resources and video discussions provide an occasion for you to reflect on fundamental challenges of the spiritual life though resources and voices of six faith traditions.

3.H Hindu
3.H.1 Teachings of Swami Vivekananda, presented by Swami Atmapriyananda
3.H.2 A Popular Hindu Prayer and a Text from Bhagavata Purana (11.27), presented by Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami
3.H.3 Bhagavadgita (9:27), presented by Anantanand Rambachan

3.C Christian
3.C.1 Lenten prayer attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian, presented by John Klentos
3.C.2 From the Lenten Triodion, Monday in the First Week of the Fast in Tone Three, presented by Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias
3.C.3 From “The Elixir” (George Herbert 1593-1633), presented by Philip Sheldrake
3.C.4 Spiritual Journey / Spiritual Path – A Christian Perspective

3.B Buddhist
3.B.1 Mumonkan (Wumenkuan, “The Gateless Gate”, thirteenth century Chinese collection of koans), presented by Ruben Habito
3.B.2 From The Daily Preparatory Practices (Jorcho) by the Third Dalai Lama (1543-1588). From The Dalai Lama, The Path to Enlightenment (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1982), presented by Jose Cabezon

3.J Jewish
3.J.1 The Spiritual Day, Meir Poppers, Or Ha-Yashar, presented by Paul Fenton
3.J.2 Know God in All Your Ways (Proverbs 3,6), presented by Alon Goshen-Gottstein
3.J.3 Selections from Mesillat Yesharim — The Path of the Righteous, presented by Haviva Pedaya

3.M Muslim
3.M.1 Clear Paths to the Gardens of the Righteous, a commentary on Imam Nawawi’s Riyad al-Saliheen, presented by Muzaffar Iqbal
3.M.2 From the Quran, presented by Muhammad Suheyl Umar
3.M.3 From Ibn Arabi, presented by Muhammad Suheyl Umar

3.S Sikh

3.I Interreligious
3.I.1 The Role of Ritual in the Spiritual Life (Video)
3.I.2 Discussion on the Challenges of Technology (Video)


4. Teacher – Disciple Relations

The teacher is a primary vehicle for advancing the spiritual life. How do our traditions view Teacher-Disciple relations? Do the models of yesteryear still work in today’s world? What can the wisdom of traditions teach us about this fundamental relationship? A series of video courses, representing five faith traditions, supported by primary texts, allows us to engage these questions.

4.H Hindu
4.H.1a Vedanta texts, presented by Swami Atmapriyananda
4.H.1b Taittiriya Upanishad, presented by Swami Atmapriyananda
4.H.1c Peace Chant from Yajur-Veda, presented by Swami Atmapriyananda

4.C Christian
4.C.1 New Testament, presented by Piotr Sikora
4.C.2 Notes for Dialogue on the Airways – The Rule of Benedict, presented by Timothy Wright

4.B Buddhist

4.J Jewish
4.J.1 Likutei Halachot, Yore De’ah, Laws of Honoring your Teacher, presented by Alon Goshen-Gottstein
4.J.2 Hassidic Legends, presented by Haviva Pedaya

4.M Muslim
4.M.1a From Quran, presented by Muzaffar Iqbal
4.M.1b From Al-Ghazali, presented by Muzaffar Iqbal
4.M.1c From Bayazid al-Bistami, presented by Muzaffar Iqbal

4.S Sikh