Zen Stories for Today: A Collaborative Model of Research Mentorship

Gereon Kopf (Associate Professor of Religion, Luther College); Benjamin Moore (Assistant Professor of Art, Luther College); Asuka Sango (Assistant Professor of Religion, Carleton College

The goals of this research and collaboration project are a) to produce interactive applications, which contain animated versions of encounter dialogues between masters and disciples that make up the basic scriptures and lore of Zen Buddhism; b) to develop a resource section that provides the historical, scriptural, ritual, and philosophical background of these stories; c) to make accessible audio recordings that feature interviews with Zen Buddhist practitioners and scholars on the role and use of encounter dialogues in contemporary society; and d) to supplement the animations with an interactive segment, by means of which the user can engage with these stories via web applications and interactive streaming media.

The project will enact a collaborative model of mentorship; students will be colleagues rather than assistants and thus empowered to become researchers, creative artists, and proficient users of current technology. The project will combine cutting- edge research and up-to-date digital and interactive technology to facilitate learning across the liberal arts and, while exploring religious texts, intersecting faith and learning. In short, this project will enable the student participants to make the transition into their professional and academic fields and, due to its cross-disciplinary nature, will affect multiple aspects of their education and their life.