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Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Emory

With its intimate connections to Tibetan institutions of higher learning and unparalleled access to distinguished Tibetan scholars, Emory University has quickly gathered a unique set of resources for excellence in the field of Tibetan Buddhist Studies. The university has benefitted from the addition to the faculty of two distinguished scholars, John Dunne and Sara McClintock, and has acquired a library of over 30,000 volumes of Tibetan texts. Emory is now unique among Tibetan Buddhist Studies programs in North America in having both western-trained scholars and a traditionally trained Geshe (the highest Tibetan monastic degree), in addition to a steady stream of visiting distinguished Tibetan scholars.

This unique array of resources focuses especially on two complementary areas of study: Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan Buddhist contemplative practices. Widely recognized as a unique and tremendously valuable feature of Tibetan culture, Tibetan philosophy explores especially the concept of interdependence and its implications for notions of identity and ethical practice. Another great treasure of Tibetan culture is the vast array of contemplative practices that seek to enhance human flourishing. Based on Tibetan philosophical notions such as interdependence and detailed theories of mind-body interaction, meditative practices in Tibet include methods to cultivate the "good heart" of compassion. In both these areas—the philosophical and the contemplative—Emory has developed a unique program that highlights the strengths of the faculty and the University as a whole.

Undergraduate and Graduate Education

Emory's resources for the study of Tibetan Buddhism enable the faculty to offer a wide range of unique courses that hold value and interest for students of all majors and backgrounds. Recent undergraduate offerings include courses such as "Religion and Healing: Buddhist Meditation," "The Buddhist Psychology of Enlightenment," "The Life and Works of the Dalai Lama," "Religion and Flim: Picturing Tibet," "Asian Religious Traditions," and "Science and the Nature of Evidence: Secular Ethics and Universal Human Values." Past courses such as "Phenomenology of Depression" brought together faculty from Emory's departments of Psychiatry, Religion, and Anthropology, and the course "Mind, Body, and Healing" was co-taught by Geshe Lobsang Tenzin and visiting scholar Dr. Pema Dorjee, one of the preeminent practitioners of Tibetan medicine. These offerings, rarely available at other universities, enable students to participate in cutting-edge research on Buddhist theories of emotions and the methods that seek to transform emotional reactivity. As these and other courses illustrate, students interested in Tibetan Buddhist Studies benefit greatly from the Emory-Tibet Partnership's support for creative and interdisciplinary approaches to undergraduate education, largely through the commitment of the faculty to team-teaching interdisciplinary courses in inter-religious dialogue and important new fields such as Mind/Body medicine.

In these various areas, undergraduate education on Emory's Atlanta campus is sustained and greatly enhanced by Emory's Study Abroad programs in Dharamsala, India, where undergraduates encounter the unique opportunity to conduct their studies in a Tibetan cultural environment with leading figures in the Tibetan community, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Emory University offers both a spring semester program and a four-week summer program focused on Mind/Body Sciences. For more information visit http://www.cipa.emory.edu/tibetan/.

At the graduate level, Emory's unique strengths permit advanced research not only in Buddhist philosophy, but also in highly interdisciplinary fields such as Contemplative Studies, Complementary Medicine and Tibetan Cultural Studies. Graduate students have conducted doctoral research in topics as diverse as contemporary Tibetan art, the ethics of compassion, and the Buddhist theory of emotions. Cutting across disciplinary boundaries, Emory's faculty offers students the resources to engage with the living tradition of Tibetan Buddhism while remaining grounded in the rigorous intellectual vision of Emory's Graduate Division of Religion.




Emory-Tibet Science Initiative department of religion CIPA MESAS Emory College Emory University Drepung Loseling Monastery