In Tibetan culture, and many others, lapis lazuli is considered a most precious stone, often even treasured as more valuable than diamonds. Traditionally, lapis has always been associated with spiritual attainment, honor, vision, the sea, the sky, wisdom, and truth. Among Tibetans and many others, its deep blue color has long been associated with healing. Aligning the mission of Maitripa College with these qualities, we chose the name Lapis for this space in the Maitripa mandala.
“Lapis: The Learning Story” diverse articles reflect the living pedagogical narrative of Maitripa College, which is a completely unique blend of traditional Tibetan Buddhist and Western approaches to teaching and learning. Please check here often for regular glimpses into the unique teaching, learning, and practice that is flourishing in the programs and community at Maitripa College.
For most of March, I found myself stunned by the pandemic and overwhelmed by the steadily rising numbers. Swamped by the flood of suffering, I found it very difficult to concentrate on meditation. My ability to focus wobbled like a poorly made gyroscope. I found this very disheartening. To recover my ability to meditate… >READ IN FULL
The Word of the Month by Maitripa College Professor Bill Magee (one of world’s foremost teachers and translators of classical Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhist texts) is for those interested in fun facts about Sanskrit, Tibetan, and English words in Buddhism. The word this month is bodhicitta/ >READ IN FULL
Michael Ium graduated from the MA program at Maitripa College in 2014 and is currently a doctoral candidate in the department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His doctoral research is focused on the early history of Ganden Monastery, the home of Tsongkhapa’s nascent Geluk tradition and the mother of all Geluk religious centers who would come afterwards (including Maitripa College!). In this article, Michael explores the joys and challenges of becoming a Tibetan translator. >READ IN FULL
This space will present The Word of the Month for those interested in fun facts about Sanskrit, Tibetan, and English words in Buddhism. As a translator, I deal with these words as commonplace every day, so it is good to step back now and then to reflect on their meaning and usage. The first word we encounter is buddha. >READ IN FULL
Jane Sellers was among the first wave of students who moved to Portland in 2005 and 2006 to take part in an educational experiment: a new advanced program of Buddhist studies being developed under the guidance of Yangsi Rinpoche called Maitripa College. Jane graduated with a Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies from Maitripa in 2009. She moved back to Colorado in 2014 where she served from 2016-2019 as the study group coordinator and then center director (and one of the FPMT teachers) at Lama Yeshe House, Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s center in Denver. Recently retired from her career as a physician assistant, Jane talked to Communications Coordinator Kate Macdonald about the Buddhist path, the benefit of Maitripa’s degree program, the role of travel and retreat in her life, and more. >READ IN FULL
“Learning to be non-reactive would be my fundamental proposition for you. You are all going to be working on a team, working in groups, communicating over email, and so on. The word ‘compassion’ sounds religious, but ‘non-reactive’ actually means the same thing.” This was the message from Maitripa College President Yangsi Rinpoche to graduate students in Dr. Kevin Kecskes’ Administrative Ethics and Behavior course at Portland State University in early 2020. >READ IN FULL
In the first months of the year 2000, about 50 students from all corners of the globe huddled in the meditation hall at Tushita Meditation Centre in Dharamsala, India. We were all in various states of fear, joy, and expectation, having untethered ourselves from our daily lives in other places for the next two months to come to India, receive daily teachings, and be led in meditation and practice in retreat on the lamrim, the graduated path to enlightenment, by our teacher Yangsi Rinpoche. >READ IN FULL
Five years ago while I living in Austin, Texas, well before I had any idea that I might attend school at Maitripa College, my partner and I went to a Buddhist center for a meditation session. The center was relatively small, with room for about 20 people. Immediately upon entering, the meditation hall felt foreign. The various altars, the images of the gurus, the bright golds, yellows and reds of the decorative cloths—I did not know what to make of it; the culturally foreign aspects of the experience felt distracting and unnecessary. >READ IN FULL
In the nearly fifteen years that I have been in dialogue with applicants of Maitripa College programs, a few main questions have arisen over and over. These questions are deeply felt and important, and, since they have arisen from many voices over the years, we have decided to focus this conversation around them. >READ IN FULL
Our motivation for learning Tibetan, or learning to translate a Tibetan work into English, tends to be focused on the end result—the way that our labors fulfill the goals of others. But there is another aspect of working with Tibetan texts that is important, which lies in recognizing the value of engaging with them for the purpose of advancing our own development. >READ IN FULL