- Written by Tyler Hendricks and Chris Antal
UTS students enjoyed an interfaith event with Tibetan monk Lama Tsering Wangdue speaking on the topic of “Buddhism as a Path to Peace”. Lama Wangdue holds the venerable title "Geshe", Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy, which he earned after 17 years of studying the Five Major Treatises of Buddhism at the Sera Jey Monastic University in Bylakuppe, India.
Mrs. Jana Robicheau, Director of the Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche Meditation Center in Vermont and a “Khadroma Yogi” in the Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, also visited UTS and participated in the Geshe Lama's activities both at UTS and at a local Tibetan monastery in Wappingers Falls. (In the Tibetan language, kha means sky, celestial space, or emptiness; dro is a sentient female being who is dancing or otherwise in motion. The Tibetan kha'dro goddesses are embodiments of wisdom and compassion and represent the sacred union of body and mind.)
While at UTS, both Khadroma Robicheau and Geshe Wangdue accepted invitations from UTS Director of Interfaith Development, Chris Antal, to be on the developing Interfaith Advisory Council at UTS. They also met with Academic Dean Dr. Andrew Wilson to discuss the Buddhist component of an interfaith MRE program as well as classes Geshe Wangdue will offer at UTS beginning in the Fall term.
The following day Geshe Lama Wangdue and Khadroma Robicheau accompanied by Mr. Antal, Dean of Students Sunhee Davies, and several others including Kenritsu Yamamoto and Chung Hee Bessell of the Recruitment team, went to walk Fathers trail and the Barrytown campus. The group was guided by Community Relations Director, Mr. Henry Christopher.
Despite the cold weather, Geshe Lama Wangdue enjoyed the nature around campus and even prayed for a special interfaith blessing at Mr. Christopher’s in-home soap factory, which was also toured by the group.
Throughout the walk, the Lama took time to answer questions asked by members of the party. Amongst others he addressed the issues of reincarnation and inner peace within a younger Generation of students.
Geshe Lama Wangdue escaped Tibet at age 14 to study in India, under the oversight of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He studied there for 17 years, one among some 5,000 students. Their daily schedule started at 5:30 a.m. and ended between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Through this course, he graduated with the degree, "Geshe", (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) in 2001 with highest honors and an excellent record in monastic discipline and academic achievement. Toward the end of his student career, his work on curriculum development brought him a personal audience with the Dalai Lama, who asked him to carry out an interfaith mission in America.
Since then Geshe Lama Wangdue has moved to Cambridge, MA, where he became a free-lance teacher and also taught at the Episcopal Divinity School. One of his students was a young Harvard student who was very interested in Buddhism, Hyung Jin Moon. The two became friends, and through the relationship the Lama attended two conferences of the Universal Peace Federation in South Korea. At the second of these, in February 2007, he met Mr. Antal. The two ended up spending four days together traveling to three different Buddhist monasteries in the southern part of the Korean peninsula.
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