After a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19, the Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences Summer Study Abroad Program came roaring back to great success in 2023! The program was hosted by the Drepung Loseling Monastery (DLM), the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD), and Emory University.
The Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences Program began in New Delhi. The next day, they traveled straight to Dharamsala, India, Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayan foothills. They spent their first two weeks at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies (Sarah College), a part of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, where they studied meditation, Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan medicine, and culture.Their local guide and teacher was the warmhearted and wise Geshe Damchoe, who the students became quite fond of. Their other expert guide and fellow adventurer was Passang Tsering, the Principal of Sarah College. They had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at McLeod Ganj in upper Dharamsala. Students were also able to attend a separate 88th birthday and long-life celebration for His Holiness.
The TMBS students and staff spent the next three weeks immersed in intensive study and meditation at the renowned Drepung Loseling Monastery outside of Mundgod in Karnataka State, South India. They stayed at Drepung Loseling Meditation and Science Center near the Monastery, located in the Tibetan settlement near Hubli. This settlement is one of the largest Tibetan colonies in South India. They were taken care of there by Geshe Loden, a wonderful, caring and generous Buddhist monk, along with the highly attentive, thoughtful and kind Center administrator, Pasang Tenzin.
The students were honored by having His Eminence Khen Rinpoche, the Supreme Abbot of Drepung Loseling Monastery, come speak to the class one day, which was a very special and informative occasion. Khen Rinpoche is scheduled to visit Emory this November to attend the Emory Compassion Center’s Silver Jubilee, celebrating the 25th year of the Emory/Drepung Loseling Monastery affiliation. The students were also able to visit Ganden Monastery nearby, and they participated in Buddhist/Science Debate Nights with monks and nuns from the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative each Tuesday and Thursday while at Drepung Loseling.
There were eleven Emory undergraduates and one Columbia University undergraduate participating in the program, which was led by Dr. Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Teaching Professor in the Emory College Religion Department. The two program assistants helping Dr. Negi were Art Linton of the Emory Compassion Center and Alice Goddard, a recent Emory College graduate and TMBS alumnus from Summer 2019.
The students took three courses while in India: REL 331/ANT 385 Healing Culture of Tibet, REL 358R/HLTH 385: Mind, Medicine and Healing and REL 370: Buddhist Meditation and Debate.