Campus News

October 12, 2010

'The Professor' returns

Dalai Lama's visit affirms the teaching and research of a special partnership

By Nancy Seideman

Bringing together the “best of the Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions” to create new knowledge for the benefit of humanity has been the goal of the Emory-Tibet Partnership since its inception more than a decade ago. 

This lofty vision — shared by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and the Emory community — is being realized in very tangible ways, from a comprehensive science curriculum for Tibetan Buddhist monastics and student-scholar exchange programs, to compassion meditation studies that have further revealed the correlation between preventive practice and improved health.

Emory’s close relationship with Tibetan institutions of higher learning and unparalleled access to distinguished Tibetan scholars has greatly enhanced the University’s Tibetan Studies Program, which focuses on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practices and is supported by a library of more than 30,000 volumes of Tibetan texts. 

The Dalai Lama’s second visit to Emory in his role as Presidential Distinguished Professor is an opportunity to acknowledge formally the teaching and research that has taken place as a result of the relationship between Emory and Tibetan Buddhist institutions.

But the visit also is an occasion to celebrate the deep, personal ties that have been established over the years between two communities that have discovered, not surprisingly, that they share a commitment to nurturing human values as well as pursuing vigorous intellectual inquiry.  

Geshe Kalsang Damdul, assistant director of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics and co-director of the Emory Tibetan Studies Program in Dharamsala, will be in Atlanta to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program along with 40 Emory students and alumni who are returning to campus for a reunion.

“The crises and conflicts in the world are not due to a lack of educated people, but due to a lack of kind and responsible people,” notes Damdul. “So we feel that Emory and the IBD have made some contribution in producing people who give value to humanness, compassion, truth and peace.”

The values of mind, heart and spirit that are so much of the Emory ethos are exemplified in the learning and discovery that is emerging from bringing together Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions.

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