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 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.