We usually think of the Foundation Studies encounter course as beginning in September, but for 60 students in Vietnam, it started already in June of this past summer. One of the people who organized this course for the RSCT, Trinh Huynh (left in photo above with Paul Hodgkins), has written a detailed report on this past summer's course, which is included below.
As well, we are pleased to be have photos from the Foundation Studies course in Vietnam, taken by eurythmist, and course leader, Reg Down. Thanks to Trinh and Reg for their contributions that help us see how something we take for granted here, is a very special opportunity for people half way around the world. One thing you'll notice in the photos is a lack of tables and chairs. These were provided initially, but it soon became clear that the young Vietnamese students preferred working on the floor.
But before we get into Trinh's story and Reg's photos, please remember that free introductory talks for local Foundation Studies Encounter courses are coming up on Wed. Sept 18th (8:45 am and 7:30 pm) in Thornhill, and on Saturday Sept. 21st at 10 am downtown, and Tues. Oct. 8th at 7pm in Halton. More info on poster below, and more info still on the Foundation Studies Encounter page on the website.
Sixty Students in RSCT Vietnam Foundation Studies June 2019
The Foundation Studies course was held for the second time in Vietnam during the last summer of 2019. Certified by RSCT under its “Encounter” program, the course completed successfully with approximately 60 students (group photo below). The faculty consists of Paul Hodgkins, Reg Down, Jonah Evans, and Regine Kurek.
The course was bilingual in English and Vietnamese, with the English-Vietnamese translation done by Trinh Huynh and Lan Nguyen. The course ran intensively for four weeks straight, full-day, with weekend breaks, in June and July, in Hanoi (photo below).
Starting the course with his morning lectures in the first week, Paul impressed all the new students of Anthroposophy with his mystical yet scientific introduction to the three-fold and four-fold human being. Being impressed, many people who initially registered for only the first week just to “check out” what Anthroposophy was all about, decided to stay for the whole course.
In the afternoons Paul complemented his morning lectures with artistic activities, such as the chalk-drawing of the Michael imagination. See Paul and Trinh in the photo below with students engaged in artistic activity. Paul concluded his first week with a lecture on the journey of the soul after death.
Continuing into the second week, Reg introduced cosmology in the mornings. Despite being a challenging subject, the earth evolution was made dearer to the heart by Reg’s short eurythmy exercises and his more intimate lecturing approach. Trinh also helped making the subject more comprehensible by his short afternoon lectures talking about the same topics from a different angles, drawing many examples from daily life.
One important component of the course was the daily study-group sessions in the first two weeks. The class was divided into smaller groups, and each group studied in detail, with guidance, one of the two books: Theosophy, and Philosophy of Freedom. Guided into these most challenging books daily, the students grasped more concretely the spiritual scientific way of thinking of Anthroposophy.
Another important component contributing to the success of the course is Reg’s daily eurythmy sessions. Running daily for the entire course, the sessions introduced the students to introductory yet fundamental eurythmy movements, such as the evolutionary sequence, and the Zodiac, as well as various classical music pieces that were brought much deeper into the heart through the movement.
The “heart of the course” (quoting a student) was the third week, with the morning lectures by Jonah. Building on the background laid out in previous weeks, Jonah talked directly about the Christ and his impulse, what “Anthroposophy is all about”, the center of human evolution. Sharing real life and personal examples, he introduced death and resurrection, as well as different approaches in dealing with temptations.
Sensing the spiritual openness and thirstiness of this group of students, he also shared in details a few of the more “advanced” ideas of esoteric Christianity, including some aspects of the Trinity and the new Tenth Hierarchy. Lucifer and Ahriman, and the Christ’s balance, was one of the central themes of this week.
The polarities of Lucifer and Ahriman were also the subject of Regine’s biography sessions in the last two weeks of the course. To many students, these two great forces of temptation became much more comprehensible through Regine’s artistic activities, which included a drawing of “the representative of humanity”. She especially introduced the students to how these forces influenced different phases of a human life.
Concluding the course, the morning lectures of the last week were “guided tour” to the first and second Goetheanums. Reg and Regine shared the stories about them, talked about how their outer and inner structures relate to the human being. With artistic activities, Reg also brought the wonderful stained glass windows of the Geotheanums to the students.
After the four intensive weeks, many students shared that they were given new strength going back to normal daily life, and that their world views were being challenged and fundamentally changed. They all hoped for more in-depth courses. Besides, the demand for more Foundation Studies course in Vietnam is still very high. It is open at this point whether any one would pick up and carry on this initiative.
After the course was completed, some of the teachers explored some of the local attractions.
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