Center’s Thupten Tendhar, Tibetan Buddhist Geshe, Meets with the Dalai Lama

My name is Thupten Tendhar and I have been an assistant for three years with the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies. I am working toward a Masters Degree in Adult Education, and I also teach a course in the URI Honors program. Currently, I am conducting a correlational study between Inner Peace and Physical Health among Rhode Island Older Adults with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).

I was very fortunate to have a personal meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his recent visit to Emory University, Atlanta. For most Tibetans, meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama is something more precious than our own personal lives. Tibetans from diverse ages, genders, and occupations escaped from Tibet to India and travelled through the frozen Himalayas for months just to see the Dalai Lama. During the journey, they had to endure life threatening dangers and immense physical hardships. While they put their lives at risk, their hearts are completely fulfilled and healed when they eventually got to see the Dalai Lama. Unfortunately, many Tibetans got arrested during their escape and lost their lives. In Tibet, people are also arrested and sentenced with years of rigorous imprisonment simply for singing a prayer for His Holiness or possessing a small portrait of the beloved spiritual master.

Although I have been far away from my Tibetan home for most of my life, I consider myself to be one of the most fortunate Tibetans on this planet today. I am blessed to have opportunities to meet His Holiness, serve him and receive his teachings on how to be a good, loving, compassionate and universally responsible person. His advice for combining compassion with wisdom is a principal guidance for my studies and teachings here at URI. My poetry book “PEACE Rhythm of My Heart” is a small reflection on my struggle for peace, harmony, freedom and a meaningful life.

Early one September morning this fall, I received a phone call from my friend Gala Rinpoche from Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta. The monastery invited me for a special audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visit to the Emory University in October 2013. A few years ago, I had served as one of the monk artists during His Holiness’ visit to Emory in 2007, and was responsible for assisting with his meals during his stay in 2010. So, this was another humbling opportunity to meet His Holiness and attend some of his teachings on secular ethics, nonviolence and peace. During this visit, I also served MC for Mystical Arts of Tibet and Grammy Award Nominee Tibetan flutist Nawang Khechog’s performance as part of the 2013 Dalai Lama’s Emory visit events.

The Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies and my professors at the Education Department were so kind to adjust my schedule, and gave their full support for my visit with the Dalai Lama. I appreciate His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Center for Nonviolence and The University of Rhode Island for enriching my life with wisdom and compassion.