Christopher Key Chapple on Ritual, the Elements and Sanskrit (#56)

About the Guest:

Dr. Christopher Key Chapple is the Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and Director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His research interests focus on the renouncer religious traditions of India: Yoga, Jainism, and Buddhism. He has published several books on these topics with SUNY Press, including Karma and Creativity (1986), Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions (1993), Reconciling Yogas (2003), and Yoga and the Luminous: Patanjali’s Spiritual Path to Freedom (2008).

He has also edited and co-authored several books on religion and ecology, including Ecological Prospects: Religious, Scientific, and Aesthetic Perspectives, Hinduism and Ecology, Jainism and Ecology, Yoga and Ecology, and In Praise of Mother Earth: The Prthivi Sukta of the Atharva Veda. His most recent books are Poet of Eternal Return and Sacred Thread.

Chris serves as academic advisor for the International Summer School of Jain Studies and on the advisory boards for the Forum on Religion and Ecology (Yale), the Ahimsa Center (Pomona), and the Jaina Studies Centre (SOAS, University of London). In 2002 he established the first of several certificate programs in the study of Yoga at LMU’s Center for Religion and Spirituality and founded LMU’s Master of Arts in Yoga Studies in the fall of 2013.

In this episode we discuss…

  1. A brief history of yoga and politics in the US
  2. Chris’ opinions and perspective of today’s commercialized version of ‘yoga’
  3. The influence of 9/11 on the wider yoga community
  4. The benefits of studying a language like sanskrit
  5. How Chris integrates a philosophical and social justice approach to his yoga practice
  6. The various elements and how they influence one’s life experience
  7. What inspired Chris to write his book focused on the connection between ahimsa with ecology
  8. The beauty of ritual and how ritual invites the experience of meaning
  9. How ritual helps yoga practitioners establish an ecological relationship with their practice
  10. 5 elements vs. 4 elements
  11. The teaching of no-self (Buddhism) vs. the big S self (Hinduism)
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