Dalai Lama Becomes Emory Professor

On Monday, His Holiness, the Dalai Lamawas formally installed as a professor” at Emory University, as “Tibetan monks wearing moon-shaped yellow hats chanted and played cymbals, gongs and horns.” The occassion was marked with a gift of a “faculty ID card,” although the Dalai Lama’s face is “recognized around the world.”

“I suspect you will not need to carry this with you for identification, but in any case, we wanted you to know you are welcome,” student Emily Allen said as she handed him the card, a present from the students.


Dorie Turner of AP News reports, that “in his first speech as a faculty member, the Dalai Lama encouraged his audience of thousands of people to look beyond money and fame for happiness and to use their education for the greater good.”

As a professor of this university, I think you should listen to me,” the 72-year-old monk and Nobel Peace Prize laureate said with a laugh.

Later, in an address to a crowd of thousands at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, the Dalai Lama called the U.S. the world’s “greatest, most powerful” democracy and said it should send more members of the Peace Corps, instead of soldiers, to other countries to spread democracy peacefully.

“The concept of war is outdated,” he said. “Through war, through violence, you cannot achieve what you want.”

During the weekend, he delivered a lecture on the basics of Buddhism to thousands and participated in a conference on depression. He also joined with spiritual leaders from the world’s major religions — including Rajmohan Gandhi, a grandson of India‘s Mohandas Gandhi — to discuss peaceful resolution of military conflicts.

As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama will provide private teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory’s study-abroad program in Dharamsala, India, and will periodically visit Emory.

There’s more on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Emory University here and here. Emory University is “recognized as one of the leading centers of study of Tibetan philosophy and religion in the West, primarily due to the university’s extraordinary relationship with Tibetan Buddhist institutes of higher learning based in India, including the Drepung Loseling Monastery and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.”

One of the most ambitious projects of this partnership is an historic initiative to develop and implement a comprehensive science education curriculum for Tibetan monastics.

“I deeply appreciate that Emory University has made a commitment to fully collaborate with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives to develop and implement a comprehensive and sustainable science education program for Tibetan monastics,” says the Dalai Lama.

Many of Emory’s university-wide strategic plan initiatives address the interface between religion and science. His Holiness has pioneered in promoting a genuine and substantive dialogue between science and spirituality. Emory’s commitment to developing and implementing a science education program for Tibetan monks and nuns will help realize the Dalai Lama’s vision of offering comprehensive science education within the monastic curriculum.

The Dalai Lama truly is a man ahead of the curve and ahead of the conservative thinking here in America that implies that religion and science don’t mix. 

11Alive.com reports that “more than 10,000 people turned out for a free public speech by the Dalai Lama at Centennial Olympic Park on Monday afternoon.” If I lived in Atlanta, I know I certainly would have been among the crowd.

Related: Congressional Gold Medal Awarded to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

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