There are several courses offered for the first time this spring as our junior BA cohort continues to blaze the trail. In Western Classics III, students read Christian mystics, listened to Gregorian chants, and grappled with questions of filiality, revenge, and justice while reading Hamlet. They also examined the nature of mortality as represented in the poems of John Donne, Alexander Pope, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and Dylan Thomas.
In Music, students were introduced to basic musical elements and are exploring how these elements are expressed in different musical traditions from a variety of cultures. In a recent class, they enjoyed a visit from Dharma Master Jin Fo, a monk from the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. He led workshops focused on Ground Bell instruments, which are used in Buddhist ceremonies and cultivation practices. In response to a request from the students, Dharma Master Jin Fo donated three sets of Dharma instruments to DRBU for students to practice on. These instruments have been placed in the DRBU Chan hall.
In Natural Science II, after reading Bacon and Darwin, students learned about Mendel’s groundbreaking work in plant genetics by reading his scientific reporting on his discoveries. In a follow-up plant genetics lab, students enjoyed the hands-on experience of planting their own turnip seeds to try to replicate Mendel’s findings.
In Chinese Classics III students began by studying the Zhongyong, contemplating its advice on how to maintain a state of centeredness and balance amidst the complex world of human emotions and relationships. Currently they are reading Confucian and Buddhist texts on filial respect and will soon turn to an investigation of the Neo-Confucian writings of Wang Yangming.