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Tibetan Buddhism and Carmelite Spirituality to be Featured in Interreligious Encounter in Ávila, Spain 2024


Next year, the Catholic Order of Discalced Carmelites and the International Centre of Teresian and Sanjuanist Studies (Centro Internacional Teresiano-Sanjuanista, CITeS) of Ávila, Spain, in cooperation with the Centre of Buddhist Studies (CBS) at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Fundación Dharma-Gaia, will host the “3rd World Encounter of Teresian Mysticism and Interreligious Dialogue. Tibetan Buddhism and Carmelite Spirituality: Orientations for Visualizing, Contemplating and Discerning the Sacred.” The conference will be held in the city of Ávila, on 25–28 July, 2024. Attendance at the event will be available both in-person and online.

This will be the third collaboration between CITeS and CBS. The first event created in this collaboration was titled the “1st World Encounter of Teresian Mysticism and Interreligious Dialogue. Theravāda Buddhism and Teresian Mysticism: Meditation and Contemplation, Pathways to Peace.” It took place in Ávila from 27 to 30 July, 2017.

Noting the success of the first event, CITeS and CBS organized a second forum, aiming to bring together the Discalced Carmelites and the Chan/Zen school of Buddhism to discuss the cultivation of love and compassion for a more benevolent society, from 22 to 26 July, 2020. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, that encounter was delayed and later canceled.

The CITeS headquarters in Ávila. From

As noted in the announcement for the event: 

Carmelite mysticism and Buddhist mysticism have developed over the centuries as two distinct ways of lived spirituality. The general theme for this meeting is to explore the role of visionary revelation in the pursuit of wisdom. Visualizing, contemplating, and encountering the deity are essential practices in the Carmelite tradition and in Tibetan Buddhism. These practices help foster spiritual growth and deepen the practitioner’s relationship with “the sacred.” In addition to traditional elements, there are various cultural, philosophical, and theological contexts that come to play, in addition to shared elements in any commitment to spirituality.  Both soteriological traditions emphasize the importance of morality, prayer and contemplation as a means of achieving union with the “ultimate.” The Carmelite mystic seeks union with God through a process of self-knowledge and the person of Jesus Christ, which implies an exercise of loving attention and a readiness for the divine presence. The Buddhist mystics seek to achieve awakening through the realization of all-encompassing compassion and the perfection of wisdom. Each tradition of mysticism places a high priority on discipline, contemplative and ritual practices. Furthermore, both traditions emphasize the importance of purification for transcending the limitations of the ego, as well as the value of suffering for developing the spiritual self, and the view of the phenomenal world as a manifestation of the divine. As a prerequisite for reaching the higher realms of spiritual understanding, both emphasize the cultivation of virtues such as humility, compassion, and devotion, as well as non-attachment.

It is our intention to facilitate genuine and fruitful dialogue, and to work together as a means of sharing paths of wisdom for a compassionate and harmonious world, without denying or attempting to reduce the differences between the two religious traditions. We aim to promote this in a spirit of equality, mutual respect, and curiosity.

(Universidad de la Mistica – CITeS)

The full conference program and registration form are available at the following link:

A ceremony will also be held to honor the winner of the 4th International Award for World Encounter on Theresian Mysticism and Interreligious Dialogue. For more information about the award, visit the following link:

The walls of Ávila. From

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3rd World Encounter Teresian Mysticism and Interreligious Dialogue (Universidad de la Mistica – CITeS)
International Centre of Teresian and Sanjuanist Studies
The Centre of Buddhist Studies of the University of Hong Kong
Fundación Dharma-Gaia

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