The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies will host a lecture by a prominent Buddhist Geshe titled “Unlock Your Happiness Potential” on Nov. 8.
The lecture will be held in Room 105 of the Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences at 7 p.m. The speaker, Geshe Dadul Namgyal, is a senior resident teacher at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta, Georgia.
The monastery is a center for Tibetan Buddhist studies, practice and culture. Namgyal also served as an auxiliary English translator for the Dalai Lama and is involved in the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, a program between the monastery and Emory University that develops a science curriculum that merges western science with ancient Tibetan philosophy. Namgyal also merges these two disciplines when teaching how people can find happiness and will include modern psychology to support Buddhist philosophy.
“He is a great scholar and has worked closely with the Dalai Lama,” Paul Bueno De Mesquita, director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, said. ”So it’s not just any guest speaker who’s coming. It’s a very special and highly revered scholar.”
The lecture will focus on the idea of unlocking one’s potential for happiness over what exactly makes people happy, according to Bueno De Mesquita.
Thupten Tendhar, another Buddhist Geshe and nonviolence trainer at the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies, studied under Namgyal at the monastery. He described Namgyal as a compassionate person with knowledge of not only Buddhism but also Tibetan literature and English. Tendhar said that Namgyal will discuss how anyone, regardless of background, is capable of being happy and that happiness comes from a state of mind.
“Disregarding the conditions, everyone has the potential to be happy,” Tendhar explained. “A rich person can be happy, but a poor person can be happy. Money is not the defining condition for human happiness. But many tend to think that ‘I can only be happy when I achieve this and this and this,’ but when they reach that situation, they may not be as happy as they were taught.”
Bueno De Mesquita and Tendhar both said that the lecture would apply to modern issues and the modern world. The lecture will also encourage listeners to share their own experiences and questions about achieving happiness.
“Students will hear his teaching, and then they’ll have an opportunity to actually ask him,” Bueno De Mesquita said. “I mean it won’t be like a private therapy session, because there could be 100 people there. But if you have something on your mind or something your concerned about, or ‘how can I make my life better,’ this is a great opportunity to ask a kind of master teacher what wisdom he would share.”
The lecture is part of a potential future lecture series by the Center of Nonviolence and Peace Studies. Tendhar said that the Tibetan American Association in Connecticut invited the Dalai Lama to visit their community, and possibly a nearby University. Bueno De Mesquita would like to see the Dalai Lama speak at the University of Rhode island someday as part of this series.
Students involved at the center have shown interest in the lecture.
“I want to hear what perspective he has on life and on different topics,” Mauricio Garcia Campos, a student peace ambassador at the center, said. “That could potentially even help me apply this knowledge into my life.”
Another student peace ambassador, Taylor Stickles said that she was looking forward to learning how to find happiness since mental health has been a big issue in recent years.
“I think this event would connect really well to some of the issues that are going on in our country with mental health, and how people can learn ways to combat that,” Stickles said.