Featured Scholars and Poets
Mark Epstein, M.D. is an American psychiatrist who has written extensively about Buddhism and psychotherapy. Epstein is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Medical School. He has been a practicing Buddhist since his early twenties. He is a psychotherapist with a private practice in New York City, contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University. His books include Thoughts Without a Thinker and Going to Pieces without Falling Apart.
Jane Hirshfield is the author of several collections of verse, many of which are influenced by her Zen Buddhist practice and her knowledge of classical Japanese verse. She has also edited and translated The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu; and Women in Praise of the Sacred: Forty-Three Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women. Her prose works include Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (1997). Her honors include The Poetry Center Book Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, Columbia University's Translation Center Award, the Commonwealth Club of California Poetry Medal, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. In 2004, Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets.
In 1989 His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. His Holiness has traveled to more than 62 countries spanning 6 continents. He has met with presidents, prime ministers and crowned rulers of major nations. He has held dialogues with the heads of different religions and many well-known scientists. Since 1959 His Holiness has received over 84 awards, honorary doctorates, prizes, etc., in recognition of his message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion. His Holiness has also authored more than 72 books. (http://www.dalailama.com/)
Over the course of his long career, WS Merwin has published over twenty books of poetry. In 1976, Merwin moved to Hawaii to study with the Zen Buddhist master Robert Aitken. Merwin has won two Pulitzer prizes, as well as the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the Bollingen Prize, a Ford Foundation grant, the Governor's Award for Literature of the State of Hawaii, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the PEN Translation Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award, and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Metteyya Sakyaputta (Awadhesh Tripathi) was born in the same birthplace as the Buddha: Lumbini, Nepal. Although born into a devout Hindu family he met his Buddhist teacher, Venerable Sujata at the age of nine and studied and practised meditation under the venerable teacher for nine years. Metteyya has always been involved in social service work in the community and founded Metta Children's School at the age of fifteen which has now grown to two branches and provides free education to over 800 impoverished local children. Metteyya eventually decided that the best path for social work for himself was to become a Buddhist monk and thus was ordained as such in Lumbini in early 2007.
D. Max Moerman is an Associate Professor at Barnard College in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures. He is the Associate Director of the Donald Keene Center for Japanese Culture, Columbia University, and of the Columbia Center for Japanese Religions. His numerous articles include “The Life of the Death of the Buddha: The Parivirvana in Japanese Iconography” and “Passage to Fudaraku: Suicide and Salvation in Premodern Japanese Buddhism.”
Trinh X. Thuan is a professor of astronomy at the University of Virginia. He is the author of more than 230 articles on the formation and evolution of galaxies, in particular of dwarf galaxies, and on the synthesis of light elements during the Big Bang. He is the recipient of the 2009 UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science and the UNESCO Albert Einstein Silver Medal. His book written with Matthieu Ricard, The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet, explores how Buddhism and modern science address life's most enduring questions. (http://www.trinhxuanthuan.com/)
Having been named by Time as one of the “25 Most Influential Americans,” Robert Thurman has cultivated a worldwide awareness of Tibet through his writing, translation of important Buddhist texts, and social activism. He is the co-founder and president of Tibet House U.S. and is the Je Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, holding the first endowed chair in this field of study in the United States. Thurman has dedicated his life to the study and preservation of Tibet’s cultural heritage, and is the first American ordained as a Tibetan monk. (http://www.bobthurman.com/)
Kevin Trainor is the chair of the Department of Religion at the University of Vermont. His area of research includes Theravada Buddhist traditions, especially Buddhism in Sri Lanka. His publications include: Embodying the Dharma: Buddhist Relic Veneration in Asia (2004), Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide (2004), Relics, Ritual, and Representation in Buddhism: Rematerializing the Sri Lankan Theravada Tradition (1997), and "Constructing a Buddhist Ritual Site: Stupa and Monastery Architecture," in Unseen Presence: The Buddha and Sanchi (1996). He has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar attached to the Department of Linguistics at the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka, and was a Visiting Scholar at Cornell University in 2004-05.
The Ven. Bhaddhamanika was ordained as a nun in Lumbini in February 1999. She guides meditators at the Panditarama-Lumbini Temple in Lumbini.