Collected Works of Heesoon Bai

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This collection contains the collected works of Professor Heesoon Bai of the SFU Faculty of Education and was made possible by the SFU Library's Scholarly Digitization Fund.

Autonomy Reconsidered: A Proposal to Abandon the Language of Self- And Other-Control And to Adopt the Language of “Attunement”

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1998
Abstract: 

In this exploratory essay, I shall question the moral status of the notion of autonomy and its attendant notion of self-control.  I will argue that autonomy as it is usually understood, namely having control over oneself and one's environment, is a morally problematic notion because control implies negation and suppression of the "other" (eveing if the other is none other than aspects of oneself).  I shall further argue that thinking of autonomy not in terms of control but in terms of "attunement" will answer my concerns about autonomy and provide a conceptualization of the more integrated and harmonious moral agency.  What I propose then is a change of our moral vocabulary and its attendant ways of thinking.

To see a world in a grain of sand: Complexity and moral education

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

 Making the case for the mutual relationship between ontology (what reality is like) and ethics (how we should conduct ourselves), this essay argues that the dualistic,linear, deterministic ontology of Modern Science that categorically separates perceiver and the perceived, knower and known is oppressive by virtue of objectification.  Delineating a relational (that is, non-linear) ontology discussed by New Science and Complexity Theory, this essay extrapolates to an ethical paradigm,named 'participatory ethics'.  Key to participatory ethics is perception of "patterns that connect" - which, to manifest, the moral agent needs to emergently embed itself in the pattern, in a manner analogous to fractal reiteration.  Since non-linearity (complexity) manifests everywhere we turn and in everything we encounter, participatory ethics modelled after complexity is about recalling, remembering, and reminding ourselves of, our inter-beingness. 

Document type: 
Article

Touching the earth with the heart of enlightened mind: A Buddhist practice of mindfulness for environmental education

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This paper argues that the current ecological crisis arises from our dualisticconsciousness which separates mind from body and self from world. Thisdualistic consciousness prevents us from experiencing the value in nature, andtherefore leads to instrumentalist treatment of nature. We explore theBuddhist practice of mindfulness to help cultivate a nondualistic consciousness.We show how this practice may lead to compassionate attitudes and conducttowards the other-than-human.

Document type: 
Article

Contemplative pedagogy and revitalization of teacher education

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

The prevailing conception and practice of education perpetuates a civilization saturatedwith a deep sense of ontological disconnect and axiological crisis in all dimensions ofhuman life. We examine the disconnect from body, senses, and world in the practice ofeducation. We explore the possibilities in the burgeoning contemplative educationmovement for reconnection offered by holistic, experiential approaches to learning, inparticular, contemplative practices that manifest the arts of somatic, sensuous, relational,and contextual awareness.

Document type: 
Article

Re-animating the universe: Environmental education and philosophical animism

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

I argue, along with other theorists, that Plato and Descartes made a decisive, immense, and enduring contribution to the creation of the disembedded and disembodied self and its attendant de-animated consciousness in the west.  Based on the insight gained from the first task, my second task is to explore a way to reanimate our disembodied perception.  Can we do our perception differently so that the world may appear to us in its full intrinsic worth or, to speak in a more metaphysical language, in its numinous presence of Being?  In answering this question, I suggest that the key to altering our normally disembodied perception is reversing the habiitual superimposition of the conceptual over the perceptual.  What could this seeminly esoteric sounding practice mean?  A detailed explication of this practice awaits us in this chapter.

Document type: 
Book chapter

The primacy of consciousness in education: A role for contemplative practices in education

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2011
Abstract: 

In this paper, we make the case that the purview of philosophizing in philosophy of education needs to extend beyond the rational discursive practices, such as, notably conceptual analysis and argumentation, and to include non-discursive practices that would yield epistemic and ontic forms of knowledge that are of educational value to us. We base this case-making on the primacy of states of consciousness thesis that shows the contingency relationship between knowledge production and states of consciousness. Using Zen philosophy of nondualism and practice of nondual experience as a choice example, we argue that inclusion of such non-rational and non-discursive philosophies in the purview of philosophy of education would allow us to effectively participatein an important educational project of cultivating humanity imbued with extraordinary degrees of compassion, wisdom, generosity, and courage, so needed for today's troubled world.

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Article

Ethics and aesthetics are one: The case of Zen aesthetics

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1997
Abstract: 

The theoretical possibility of the aims and methods of moral education and of art education converging is explored through the examination of the Japanese Tea Ceremony which is grounded in the Buddhist metaphysics and psychology of nonduality.  This exploration is in response to the call for  "aestheticized ethics" in the contemporary Western moral theorizing which rejects the traditional rigid separation of the moral and the aesthetic.

 

Document type: 
Article

Education for Enlightenment

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Document type: 
Book chapter

Challenge for education: Learning to value the world intrinsically

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2001
Abstract: 

            In a celebrated passage in Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein states his view of philosophy: "What is your aim of philosophy?– To shew the fly the way out of the fly-bottle."  Although his remark was directed specifically at philosophers whom he likened to trapped flies in their metaphysical fly-bottles, it can apply to humanity in general insofar as we are linguistic-conceptual creatures who live by ontological "pictures" of what the world is like and what we are like, all the while assuming these pictures to be the reality itself.  This unconsciousness happens because we have internalized – that is, reified– these pictures through having been socialized into particular historical, sociocultural, intellectual, religious, and other personal and institutional contexts of situatedness.

            In this paper, I take up the Wittgensteinian project of showing ourselves a way out of the fly-bottle of a certain ontological picture of the world which, I shall argue, underlies our destructive treatment of the earth, as well as continuing inequities and exploitation in the world.  The first part of my paper approaches the problematic ontology first through exposing the hegemony of instrumentalism and how this ontology is implicated in the exploitive treatment of fellow human beings and nature.  Moving beyond the terrain of understanding the problem, the second part of the paper addresses the question of practice, arguing that the key to breaking out of the mould of the problematic dualistic, mechanist ontology is the recovery of our capacity to value the world intrinsically through the cultivation of aesthetic consciousness. 

Document type: 
Article

Decentering the ego-self and releasing of the care-consciousness

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1999
Abstract: 

This paper explores ways of cultivating an extraordinarily expansive caring consciousness for an extraordinarily challenging time such as ours.  This is not the first time humans have faced the challenge of caring. But now the scope and urgency of the challenge have changed. Morality bas always been centrally about extending care-consciousness beyond the narrow confines of the individual self to the other, be it the family, clan, village, or nation. We are now challenged to extend care-consciousness to the whole of the biosphere and to the whole of humanity as a constituent part of it.  Also, unlike before, we do not have the luxury of evading this challenge for the same reason that we could not afford to let a critically wounded person lose more blood. In both cases, intensive care is a must.  My argument proceeds in two stages: first, I analyze the conditions that afford caring, and then I examine one "experiment" in caring consciousness, that of the Buddhist theory and practice of caring. I select this example because it illustrates clearly the conditions of care-consciousness that I analyze in the first part of the paper.

Document type: 
Article