Emory students scheduled for session with Dalai Lama this fall

Spirited Thinking | April 30, 2013

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His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama returns to Emory Oct. 8-10.

When His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, who is Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory University, returns to Atlanta Oct. 8-10 of this year, his schedule will include a session for Emory students titled "Secular Ethics 101."

“His Holiness has spent many years developing his ideas of these ‘Secular Ethics,’ a theme which has been a primary focus of many of his teachings and books in recent years,” says Lobsang Negi, director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership.

But the term "secular ethics" does not mean ethics without religion, according to Negi. "It is His Holiness's conception for a universal set of ethics and principles that is the result of his lifetime of wisdom and experience," he says.

"The Dalai Lama has made invaluable contributions to our understanding of what it means to be an ethical citizen of the world," says James Wagner, president of Emory. "We are looking forward to the return of Emory's Presidential Distinguished Professor and the opportunities for our faculty and students to engage with him on these vital issues."

The Dalai Lama last visited the campus in 2010 for a series of events on science research and meditation, creativity and spirituality, interfaith dialogue, and a teaching on compassion. He was named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory in 2007, the first university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Laureate.

His appointment was an outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which was founded in 1998 to bring together the best of Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions. As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama continues to provide teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory's study-abroad program in Dharamsala, India.

"Since his first appearance on Emory's campus more than 25 years ago—and especially since his visit in 1995—the Dalai Lama has encouraged development of a special kind of partnership that takes advantage of Emory's penchant for interdisciplinary collaboration," says Gary Hauk, vice president and deputy to President Wagner.

"The Emory-Tibet Partnership has brought together faculty members and researchers from different departments in Emory College of Arts and Sciences as well as the schools of medicine, law, public health and theology for substantive teaching and research," adds Hauk. "Certainly his appointment as Presidential Distinguished Professor has helped to shine a spotlight on these endeavors, for which we're grateful."

As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama "has committed to visit Emory as frequently as possible," says Negi.

Although it has worked out that the Dalai Lama has been coming to Emory every three years since 2007, "this timeline is particularly beneficial as it ensure that most Emory students will get to experience at least one visit from His Holiness during their time at Emory," says Negi.