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University of Arizona Global Campus

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Naropa University Is Transcending Traditional Education

From bowing before and after classes to offerings in meditation, yoga and t'ai-chi, Naropa University presents a unique approach to emotional, spiritual and academic growth. If a learning experience transcending traditional liberal arts teaching appeals to you, then Naropa University's contemplative education could be just what you're looking for.

A History in Contemplative Practice

Founded in 1974 as the Naropa Institute, this nonsectarian four-year learning institution merges the wisdom and meditative practices of Buddhism with Western traditions and thought. Laying claim as the only accredited U.S. university to be inspired by Buddhism, Naropa University stresses empathy, inner reflection, and self- and community awareness. The result is referred to as contemplative education.

The university is named after a teacher and scholar of Nalanda University, an ancient Northern India educational institution that was built on Buddhist philosophy. Naropa University's founder, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, fled to Northern India from Tibet during the Chinese invasion in 1959 and eventually began teaching Buddhism and meditation throughout the United States. This led him to create a form of education combining East and West cultures.

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Educating Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Naropa University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in education, the arts, psychology, religious studies and environmental leadership. Major areas in the arts include writing and literature, performance, music and visual arts. Graduate degree programs result in a Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts or Master of Divinity.

Learning at Naropa University encompasses not only your intellect, but your self-fulfillment, appreciation of life, understanding of others and physical well-being. No matter what your major, you will be required to complete a core curriculum combing seminars and classroom instruction in writing, cultural studies, artistic process, contemplative practice, scientific inquiry, world wisdom and mind/body discipline.

Advancing Contemplative Education

In 2005, a grant led to the creation of the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education (CACE). The Center is designed to study the benefits of contemplative education not only for students but for faculty and administration as well.

The goals of the CACE are to develop curriculum assessment methods, encourage faculty collaboration, reinforce contemplative education theories and further integrate contemplative education practices into college programs. Current projects developed by the CACE include a Contemplative Pedagogy Seminar, a regional contemplative education network and a residential fellowship.

If you like the idea of a non-traditional liberal arts education, check out Evergreen State College and Bennington College.