My favorite answer to this question comes from our teacher and President, Yangsi Rinpoche, who usually laughs when someone asks this, and says, “you can do anything.”
I think this bears some consideration. Rinpoche, who is a very modern teacher trained in a very traditional system (Sera Je, one of the great Tibetan Buddhist monastic colleges), is the founder and creator of the program of study at Maitripa College. In addition to being known as a great scholar and practitioner among the Tibetan community, Rinpoche has also had the very clear advantage in the west of being able to approach the development of education systems here with some amount of lucidity and genuine intent, unsullied by much in the way of complex motivation. Rinpoche came to this country, quite simply, to teach and to serve.
To Rinpoche, the purpose of an education at Maitripa, of an education anywhere, is to facilitate the ability of the student to do anything. This speaks to what in fact were the original goals of most education programs in the early days of the United States, which were intended to shape not only the intellect of the students, but also their “character,” those qualities of mind and spirit that cannot be learned, but can only be nurtured. As our society has developed, our priorities have shifted, and we are currently in the midst of a movement away from valuing holistic education that holds as its primary goal the development of the full potential of the human being. This question often arises from a grounding in that place.
At Maitripa College, through careful course design and intentional integration of both traditional and modern methods of teaching and learning, we are dedicated to providing an educative experience that is holistic, that supports not only your acquisition of knowledge and skills, but also the integration of that knowledge into your life, relationships, and service to the world. An education at Maitripa College can give you a foundation for becoming a Chaplain or Spiritual Care provider, a leader in your community, a translator, or scholar or many other things, but most of all, on the basis of an ancient tradition that teaches wisdom and compassion as two wings of a bird in flight, it will help you create the internal resources and resilience to do anything for the rest of your life.