By Tendar Tsering
Speaker Penpa Tsering and Emory University director James Wagner presiding over the 12th anniversary commemorations of Emory University and Institute of Buddhist Dialectics’ Exchange Programme in Sarah, Dharamshala on March 6, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, March 6: Hundreds of Tibetan and American students gathered at the Tibetan College for Higher Studies, Sarah to commemorate the 12th anniversary of Emory University and Institute of Buddhist Dialectics’ Exchange Programme.
Tibetan students from the Sarah college near Dharamshala along with overseas exchange program students and guest of honors including speaker of the Tibetan Parliament Penpa Tsering and president of Emory University James Wagner attended the function earlier today.
Attributing the exchange programme to the “effort and vision” of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the President of the Emory University noted that the programme was aimed at bringing together the “best of western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions.”
“Emory has the vision of educating heart and mind. The exchange program collaborates the legacy of Tibetan culture with the Western culture,” Wagner said.
A professor at the Emory University reasserted the university’s commitment in the preservation of Tibetan culture through the confluence of modern science and ancient Buddhist wisdom.
“Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan way of life, Tibetan culture are now practiced and appreciated all over the world,” the professor said.
“It is the duty of the new generation, the new students, to study modern science and Buddhist science and come out with unseen, unborn, brand new revelations,” the professor added.
Including both a semester and summer study, the programme offers a combination of academic rigor, cultural immersion, contemplative studies, and field research.
Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament appreciated the joint efforts of the Emory University and Sarah college in the preservation of Tibetan cultural traditions while underlining the systematic annihilation that the Tibetan way of life was facing under Chinese occupation.
“70% of Tibet is grass land but nomads are being forced to shift to the towns and cities and monks are being forced out of monasteries,” the Speaker said.
The university also hosts the Emory Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences Programme, an immersion program that offers students the opportunity to meet leading spiritual teachers of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and engage with researchers at the forefront of the growing dialogue between the Tibetan Buddhist contemplative tradition and modern science.
In conjunction with the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, students study Buddhist philosophy, contemplative practice, traditional Tibetan Medicine and the culture of Buddhist Tibet while actively engaging in dialogue with Tibetan monks and nuns studying neuroscience, biology, and physics with Emory science faculty.