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Nina Petek, PhD, Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana
The lecture focuses on some segments of the modern tradition of yogis and yoginis, i.e. Buddhist male and female hermits, a tradition continued in the Union Territory of Ladakh of the Indian Himalayas since the 11th century, with a particular emphasis on the isolated lifestyle of hermits on the one hand and their active participation in different social layers on the other hand, especially their important role in tackling pressing issues related to environmental protection.
The lecture will initially outline the life of the Ladakhi yogis and yoginis, a life devoted to various meditation techniques in close connection with the natural world. The isolated landscape intensifies their spiritual engagement; the peaceful, sacred Himalayan nature, suffused with countless forces, awakens spiritual powers and stimulates advanced meditation, soothing the mind and allowing for a thoughtless state. This leads to the experience of “the real essence” (yathā bhūtaṃ), i.e., one that is impermanent, empty of intrinsic identity, whereby the yogis and yoginis see themselves most genuinely and directly as an integral part of nature and the world. On the basis of this experience of interconnectedness with nature, a respectful attitude towards all forms of life has been established. At the same time, hermits defeat the forces of evil through their practices, purifying and making nature even more sacred.
Assistant Professor Nina Petek, PhD, teaches Asian Philosophies, Religions and Cultures at the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. Her research interests are ontology, metaphysics and epistemology in Indian Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, ancient Indian philosophical schools, and the tradition of Buddhist asceticism in the Union Territory of Ladakh. She is Director of the Institute for the Study of Monasticism and Contemplative Sciences (Inštitut za študije meništva in kontemplativne znanosti).
The event will be held in Slovenian with no translation.
The event will be held in Slovenian without translation.