January 23rd, 2021

Religious studies prof to speak at PUBlic Professor Series tonight

By Bobinec, Greg on February 27, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


Religious studies professor, Hillary Rodrigues, will be presenting the fifth talk of the 2019/20 season of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s PUBlic Professor Series tonight.

His speech, “Combating Delusion: Gleanings from the Hindu Great Goddess and Eastern Sages,” is a free event that takes place tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge and is open to the public.

Delusion is the firm belief in something that probably isn’t true. In many Eastern philosophies, delusions are endemic to the human condition and the cornerstones of the most religious. In both Buddhist and Hindu philosophies, life’s highest goal, known in Sanskrit as nirvana or moksha, should be the ending of delusions. This is spiritual liberation, freedom from bondage to what is false.

In his talk, Rodrigues will discuss the overlap between two seemingly disparate areas of his research, one on the Hindu Great Goddess, Durga, and the other on contemporary philosophies of spiritual liberation by Eastern teachers, such as J. Krishnamurti.

Rodrigues has taught for 28 year in the department of Religious Studies, but the path he took to his current role was anything but linear. He completed a Bachelor of Chemistry at McGill University in the 1970s before deciding to travel in advance of graduate school in the sciences. His travelling ended up being four years of touring throughout South America, Europe and Asia. These experiences further fuelled his interest in cultural diversity and how people throughout the world find meaning in their lives.

Over time, he taught in East Asia and even lived in a commune in California, before returning to university to pursue his doctorate in religious studies at McMaster University.

Rodrigues has three main areas of research including Eastern religious and philosophies, mystical experiences, and the pedagogy of religious studies. He has also written a variety of books and academic articles in all these areas and has been honoured with the University of Lethbridge Distinguished Teaching Award.

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