I started at Maitripa a month after completing an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies in Colorado. The opportunity to learn the Buddhist path directly from Yangsi Rinpoche and to be part of a dharma community brought me to the school. I arrived in Portland in January of 2006 an eager and idealistic student.

What Maitripa led me through was beyond my previous conceptions of learning and developing oneself as a person. Over and over it opened my eyes to new perspectives, and challenged me in ways for which I couldn’t prepare. It was a priceless education and truly a personal process of transformation. The program challenged me to develop book smarts, experiential meditation smarts, and grounded, egoless service smarts all at the same time. I had to apply my studies on campus, at home, at work—everywhere—and all that time continuing as a student.

Currently I am using my degree in two ways. I am applying for further graduate work in religious studies as I pursue an academic teaching career. I am also furthering my studies in translating Tibetan Buddhist texts, an interest developed at Maitripa.

My degree is also being put to use in the details of my daily life. What I learned at Maitripa can’t be separated from how I relate to my world—to other people, to myself, and to the environment. The qualities and tools that I have from my time there are at my core and will be utilized for the rest of my days on Earth.