2011

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/7
  • Venerable Tulku Lobsang Akarpa

  • Venerable Geshe Lobsang Sopa, Gaden Shartse Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Lobsang Jamyang, Gaden Shartse Monastic College

  • Mr. Kunsang Dorjee, Central Tibetan Administration

The first exchange program was offered in the Summer Quarter of 2011. The participants of this summer program spent their time intensively learning about the anatomy of the brain and how it functions. They engaged and participated in discussions as well as experimented with the brain’s activities during meditation with the students and faculty from the department of Cognitive Sciences. In addition, they visited the beautiful beaches and other landmarks in Southern California and participated in other activities on UCI campus. The visiting scholars were also introduced to the famous American sport of baseball at an Anaheim Angels’ game. They also attended an outdoor concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Unfortunately, we lost our dear friend, Geshe Lobsang Jamyang, in 2020. He remains in all of our hearts.

2013

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/6
  • Venerable Geshe Lobsang Chophel, Gaden Shartse Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Jampa Lobsang, Gaden Shartse Monastic College

  • Mr. Kunsang Dorje, Central Tibetan Administration

  • Mr. Tenzin Sangpo, Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD)

While attending the intensive language-training program, the visiting scholars made a special field trip to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to meet with Professor of Religious Studies, Jose Cabezon and his graduate students. UCSB has a library dedicated to Tibetan Studies and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama blessed this room. They also met the renowned writer Pico Iyer at UCI campus. The quarter ended with a memorable visit to the UCI Children Center.

Note: Mr. Kunsang Dorjee subsequently received Fulbright scholarship to pursue his MBA degree at Rochester Institute of Technology. He is now residing in Portland with his wife and two children. Mr. Tenzin Sangpo received a four-year scholarship to pursue his undergraduate degree at Hampshire College in Mental Health Counseling. He is currently a residence translator at Tara Mandala Retreat Center.

2014

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/7
  • Venerable Tulku Geshe Jigme Thubten Tender, Gaden Jangtse Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Jangchup Dorjee, Gaden Shartse Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Jampa Wangchuk, Gaden Shartse Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Jigme Lodoe, Institute of Buddhist Dialectics

Visiting the UCI Stem Cell Research Center was the highlight of this year. Christina Tu, the Assistant Director of the Core Facility gave the scholars a very informative tour of the research center and educated them on the research that utilized stem cells to find cures for cancers and other diseases. 

 

In exchange for the kindness of UCI faculty students and staff, Geshe Jangchup Dorjee shared his Buddhist point of view on the “Eight Verses of Training the Mind” and provided meditation guidance to the staff and friends of School of Humanities. Then, in the month of May, the Visiting Scholars held a weekly meditation session with the UCI Buddhist Association members in the campus’ Aldrich Park. Gaden Shartse Monastery tour monks joined the UCI Visiting Scholars on May 21 and 28th to lead two meditation sessions on the “Eight Verses of Training the Mind” and “Tonglen” meditation technique at the Anteater Recreation Center for the entire UCI community and the public. Throughout May, they also held a series of discussions/dialogues on the subject of “What is the Mind” with Cognitive Correlates Meditation, a group of graduate students from the Cognitive Sciences program and their faculty mentors.

 

At the conclusion of the program, the visiting scholars were invited to attend UC Irvine’s Class of 2014 commencement, a historic commencement ceremony, featuring then President Barack Obama.

Note: Venerable Jigme Lodoe has since received his Geshe Degree from IBD in 2015.

2015

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/7
  • Venerable Geshe Jampa Norbu, Gaden Shartse Monastic College

  • Venerable Kachen Lobsang Zodpa, Tashi Lhunpo Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Tenzin Tselek, Institute of Buddhist Dialectics

  • Mr. Tenzin Tinley, Kathmandu, Nepal (currently reside in Los Angeles, USA)

Weekly meditation sessions, led by the Visiting Scholars, continued to be the main focus of the program. Geshe Jampa Norbu and Venerable Kachen Lobzang Zodpa led the weekly sessions entitled, “Training the Mind for Peace, Happiness and Compassionate Living”, while Venerable Tenzin Tselek and Mr. Tenzin Tinley led weekly Tibetan language classes.

The Visiting Scholars were introduced to the Friends of Tibet group in Santa Barbara by the famous Thepo Rinpoche and had a wonderful time meeting the Bhutanese community there. They were also introduced to a small group of Tibetans living in Ojai and Los Angeles, and the Vietnamese Buddhist community in Garden Grove.

The Scholars’ favorite activities on the weekends were to enjoy nature. They had many peaceful mornings walking the nature trails in Laguna Canyon and meditating at the local beaches in the early morning.

During the quarter, the Center for Living Peace in Irvine and UCI organized an event to celebrate His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. Kachen Lobzang Zodpa and Geshe Tenzin Tselek visited the Center to teach the staff and patrons singing “Happy Birthday” in Tibetan and were videotaped bestowing their birthday wishes to His Holiness. Unfortunately, none of the scholars were able to attend the event in July, as the program ended in June.

Note: Ven. Tenzin Tselek has since received his Geshe Degree from IBD in 2018 and is now teaching at Sarah College in Dharamsala.

2016

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/7
  • Venerable Geshe Tsewang Dorje, Sera Jey Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Lobsang Choephak, Institute of Buddhist Dialectics

  • Venerable Tsering Dhargyal, Institute of Buddhist Dialectics

Due to high demand at UCI, Geshe Tsewang Dorje continued offering the weekly guided meditation class, “Training the Mind for Peace, Happiness and Compassionate Living”. Geshe Tsewang also led a one day retreat on the subject of Instructions for Meditation on the View of Emptiness, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  He was invited to give the same talk in Santa Barbara. Venerable Lobsang Choephak and Tsering Dhargyal led weekly Tibetan language classes during the quarter. The Visiting Scholars were also invited to lead a meditation lunch series for the staff at UCI Main Library.

 

Among many highlights of Spring Quarter 2016 was a personal visit to UCI by the Venerable Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobzang Tsetan, the then Abbot of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Bylakuppe, India. Khen Rinpoche is the direct disciple of His Holiness the 10th Panchen Lama with the historical seat at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet. Thepo Rinpoche from Santa Barbara also made a visit to UCI to meet with the visiting scholars and the students. Visiting the UCI Children Center was another highlight of the program. Geshe Tsewang taught the children a short meditation on a special mantra, The Visiting Scholars also played basketball and shared snacks with the children.

Note: Ven Lobsang Choephak has since received his Geshe Degree in 2018 and is now teaching Buddhist Study at a Ladakhi/Indian Military base near Leh, Ladakh.

2017

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/5
  • Venerable Geshema Tenzin Chopa Lhadron, Jamyang Choeling Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshema Lhamo Gurung, Jamyang Choeling Monastic College

Spring Quarter 2017 was a very special year. The UCI–Tibet Initiative invited two nuns from the first group of Geshemas to attend the Program: Geshema Tenzin Lhadron and Geshema Lamo Gurung from Jamyang Choeling Institute in Dharamsala, India. Geshema Chopa Lhadron and Geshema Lhamo Gurung are among the first twenty Tibetan Buddhist nuns in Tibetan history to receive the Geshe degree from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. They received their degrees in December 2016.

Throughout the quarter, the Geshemas continued leading the weekly meditation classes. Needless to say, both Geshemas were in very high demand as their schedules were busy with meeting different groups who wanted to learn about their journey to receive the highest degree in Buddhist philosophy for nuns. Radio interviews and invited talks were conducted not only at UCI but also at different Buddhist centers in Orange County and Los Angeles County. Their weekly talks were also web-casted at the Nechung Dharmapala Center in Los Angeles. The Geshemas concluded their quarter at UCI by attending the Class 2017’s commencement ceremony at the University of California, San Diego. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama spoke at this event.

Note: Geshema Chopa Lhadron is from Zanskar, Ladakh and Geshema Lhamo Gurung is from Mustang, Nepal.  After attending UCI –Tibet Initiative, Geshema Lhamo Gurung completed a one-year Tantric study and has since completed a silent retreat.

2018

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/16
  • Venerable Geshe Tenzin Norbu, Gaden Shartse Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Lobsang Gyeltsen, Rudok Monastery, Ladakh

  • Venerable Geshe Tenzin Gaphel (Wangchuk), Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala,

  • Venerable Geshe Ngawang Sangye, Sera Jey Monastic College and Kopan Monastery

This year the Visiting Scholars took turns every week guiding and teaching UCI students meditation techniques. The weekly sessions were web-casted online courtesy of the Nechung Dharamapala Center for listeners outside of UCI. The Chinese Buddhist community in Irvine also hosted a teaching event led by Geshe Lobsang Gyaltsen and the other scholars off campus. 

The highlight of the year was a visit to the Japanese Buddhist Church of Orange County. The visiting scholars were invited to attend the annual Spring Celebration and gave talks to the Japanese Buddhist audience. Geshe Tenzin Norbu shared his knowledge on a Buddhist point, while Geshe Lobsang Gyaltsen shared his emotional story in the journey escaping Tibet to India. Our special appreciation must go to Reverend Marvin Harada of the Japanese Buddhist Church of Orange County for hosting the monks, and our long-time Dharma friend Tenzin Kacho for introducing the Visiting Scholars to the local Japanese Buddhist community. Even with their busy schedule, the scholars enjoyed their visits to the local Orange County and San Diego beaches. Last but not least, the visiting scholars received two invitations to visit two different children’s centers on the UCI campus. The monks shared the Buddhist art of butter sculpture with the children during these visits.

Note: Geshe Wangchuk co-taught a freshman seminar on “Emptiness and the Lotus” with UCI Physics professor Muchun Chen during Winter Quarter 2018. The seminar was a great success.

2019

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/11
  • Venerable Geshe Jigme Wangdu, Gaden Jangtse Monastic College

  • Venerable Geshe Thupten Jinpa, Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal

  • Venerable Geshe Lobsang Jinpa, Sera Jey Monastery 

  • Venerable Ngawang Rigdol, Ngari Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Ladakh, India

Although the visiting scholars’ schedules were very busy during this quarter, they were very generous with their time in order to accommodate all scheduled activities. 

 

The weekly meditation class on “Eight Points of Mind Training” was led by Geshe Jigme Wangdue in Tibetan and translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa. In addition to the weekly meditation, the four Visiting Scholars were invited to lead a meditation session at the UCI Anteater Recreation Center’s Yoga Festival event. The Scholars also visited classrooms and had dialogues with students in the East Asian Language Department about Vajrayana Buddhism in Japan, specifically at Kōyasan, (temple on the mountain). The scholars discussed the sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism with the students. The Scholars also met and exchanged Buddhist ritual dances with the students at the Dance Department in the School of Arts. They also met with the UCI Women's Soccer team to provide a short guided meditation to calm the mind of the athletes before their games. Finally, the Scholars shared experiences with the staff at the Division of Continuing Education and met with Student Wellness and Health Promotion staff at UCI. 

 

Field trips included two trips to Santa Barbara to participate in the celebration of Saga Dawa at the invitation from the Thai Buddhist Temple and an organized Buddhist ceremony at a private residence. The visiting scholars also had a memorable trip to San Diego and a boat ride through the Long Beach harbor.