The Mission: Maitripa College is a Buddhist institution of higher education offering contemplative learning culminating in graduate degrees. Founded upon three pillars of scholarship, meditation, and service, Maitripa College curriculum combines Western academic and Tibetan Buddhist disciplines. Through the development of wisdom and compassion, graduates are empowered with a sense of responsibility to work joyfully for the wellbeing of others. We serve our students and the region through diverse and relevant educational, religious, and community programs.
Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon, will produce enlightened practitioners, politicians, businesspeople, social workers, teachers, artists, philosophers, scientists, environmentalists, and healthcare workers for the 21st century. We will fulfill this vision through the development of an accredited Buddhist university offering higher education guided by the principles of Buddhist thought. Maitripa College will educate students in traditional areas of liberal arts, such as philosophy, political science, languages, and the arts, as well as in practical areas of expertise, such as psychology, social work, environmental sciences, business, and healthcare. The emphasis of the education at Maitripa is on integrating Buddhist principles into the student’s chosen field of study, and on developing the qualities of a good heart, tolerance, forgiveness, and joy in the students’ minds as a basis for active engagement and benefit in society.
Furthermore, Maitripa College is inspired to:
- Offer educational programs in Buddhist philosophy, languages, liberal arts, social service, and social science that reflect the standard of the tradition of scholarship of Tibetan Buddhism.
- Offer educational programs on a scholarship basis to those students who demonstrate both merit and need.
- Develop a community of scholars, practitioners, and friends to foster the spirit of analysis and exploration of Tibetan Buddhism in all its facets, and to integrate the principles of Buddhist philosophy into western culture.
- Create educational programs that function in conjunction with a program of meditation/mind training that will contribute to the development of the qualities of a good heart, tolerance, forgiveness, and joy.
- Encourage academic study, meditation for personal development, and community service as three aspects of a complete education.
- Operate in the spirit of the Buddhadharma, under the principles of awareness of logical analysis, karmic cause and effect, ethics, equanimity, compassion, wisdom, and dependent arising.
- Remain committed to non-sectarianism in relation to the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and encourage and foster an environment in which interfaith and interdenominational dialogue is supported, encouraged, and utilized as a resource for personal development.
- Complete the accreditation process and become a recognized, accredited university.
- Promote the integration of Dharma principles in all aspects of college life, sustaining attitudes such as non-harming and the perfections of generosity, ethics, patience, joyous effort, concentration, and wisdom.
- Promote a sense of harmony, service, and joy in the daily life of our community as a basis to participate as an integral part of a wider society and the world.
The Educational Philosophy
Maitripa College is an affiliated member of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), and functions as a nonprofit organization. The College is dedicated to higher education through three educational pillars of scholarship, meditation, and service. We offer an education that not only teaches these principles as a theory, but also guides students to integrate them into their minds, hearts, and daily lives inspired by an attitude of universal responsibility. Maitripa College provides an intellectual, experiential, and practical education inspired by Buddhist principles.
The core of education at Maitripa is a Buddhist Studies curriculum of philosophical study, meditation training, and service learning, under the direction of Yangsi Rinpoche, which provides a foundation for every degree program.
Developing the Wisdom To Sustain Compassion
Maitripa College’s educational program is based in the conviction that Buddhist thought and practice has significant contributions to make to American society and culture. On the basis of a worldview that emphasizes the interdependence of individual, society, and environment, Buddhism encourages the cultivation of wisdom to create compassionate individuals with a sense of responsibility for the community and world in which they live. Maitripa College seeks to do this through the powerful medium of higher education, through the offering and development of degree programs for adults. The core program at Maitripa integrates rigorous training in Buddhist thought and philosophy with the application of those ideas through both contemplative practices and active community service. In the process, Maitripa College combines aspects of a modern liberal arts education with traditional tools from Tibetan Buddhist scholarship.
Statement on Academic Freedom
Maitripa College is committed to maintaining a climate of academic freedom, which is essential to the fulfillment of the educational mission of the college, and of fundamental importance to any academic institution. Academic freedom is defined in this case as the freedom of scholars, faculty, and students within the college to pursue knowledge and truth, to speak, write, engage in research or other creative work in order to expand knowledge, publish research findings, teach, and learn in an atmosphere of free inquiry and exposition without unreasonable restriction. Students and faculty at the college should bear in mind that these freedoms carry corresponding duties and responsibilities, which should be kept in mind at all times in order to maintain the integrity of the educational process.
Maitripa College faculty members have a primary obligation to fulfill their teaching and research responsibilities, and to be effective teachers and scholars. The freedom accorded to faculty members to seek and state the truth as he or she sees it is implicative of a corresponding obligation of self-discipline. Faculty members must make every effort to be accurate, objective, and restrained, and show respect for the opinions of others. Faculty members must practice academic honesty. All interactions with students and peers must be governed by this guideline. Evaluation of students’ work must be based on academic performance alone. Faculty members, students, and staff are not exempt from abiding by the rules of ethical conduct as put forth in this document.
Maitripa College is an affiliated member of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). The name Maitripa was given to the college by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the founder (with Lama Thubten Yeshe) of FPMT and Spiritual Director of FPMT. FPMT is an international nonprofit organization committed to creating harmonious environments and helping beings develop to their fullest potential of infinite wisdom and compassion.
Maitripa, whose name means “He Whose Protection is Loving-Kindness,” lived in the 11th century. He was the teacher of the famed saint Marpa the Translator, and counted the eminent Naropa among his contemporaries and teachers. Maitripa was at Nalanda during the time of the great Atisha, and at Vikramashila University at the height of its fame in India. He was renowned as a great scholar and yogi, but eventually left the monastery to continue his practice as a mahasiddha. Maitripa is particularly renowned for his transmission of the mahamudra teachings of the Uttaratantra Shastra, and for his spontaneous songs of spiritual realization.
Maitripa College represents the first steps in the fulfillment of the aspirations of our founder, Yangsi Rinpoche, who envisioned the development of a Buddhist college of higher education where students might gain a philosophical background in Buddhist thought while at the same time gaining a practical education and the tools to integrate both into the modern world.