Buddhist scholar to speak in Edwards | VailDaily.com

Buddhist scholar to speak in Edwards

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyBuddhist scholar Tenzin Priyadarshi will discuss nonviolent conflict resolution tonight at The Bookworm of Edwards.

A devout Buddhist who studies under the Dalai Lama will speak tonight at The Bookworm of Edwards.

The Ven. Tenzin Priyadarshi said he plans to discuss nonviolent conflict resolution, using Burma in Southeast Asia as a case study.

Priyadarshi plans to outline strategies for thwarting anger and disillusionment, along with guidelines to help people develop their sense of meaning in life.

“I hope I can give them a toolbox so they can become a better person,” he said.

Born in India, Priyadarshi entered a monastery at age 10. He trained in Japanese and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism in India and Nepal, and was ordained as a monk by the Dalai Lama.

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His epic studies took him to Harvard University, where he completed his graduate work in comparative religion in 2003.

Presently, Priyadarshi, 29, serves as a chaplain for Boston’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He will be visiting Edwards as part of a brief state tour.

Tonight at the bookstore, Priyadarshi will outline a history of nonviolent movements throughout the world. He hopes to engage the community in a discussion on Buddhist principles.

Ben Gaylord, event organizer and member of a local group that studies Buddhism, said he expects 35 to 40 people to attend.

“We’re hoping to broaden people’s minds as far as how nonviolence works,” he said. “Aggressive activity often times causes more harm than good and we need to be a lot more gentle with ourselves and develop more tolerance in most situations.”

Tolerance has certainly defined Priyadarshi’s life. He devotes much of his time to humanitarian projects in the United States, India, Nepal, Japan and Sri Lanka. He also founded the Prajnopaya Foundation, a group dedicated to combating suffering worldwide.

A rigorous scholar, Priyadarshi met with the Dalai Lama this past weekend in New York and plans to reconnect with the renowned religious figure in India next month.

“He’s one of the greatest human beings that I know, greatest teachers that I know,” Priyadarshi said of his mentor. “I have always admired his sense of kindness, his sense of clarity.”

Estimates suggest Buddhism has more than 350 million followers and ranks as the fourth-largest religion in the world. The philosophy emerged about 2,500 years ago in Ancient India with the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, a sheltered prince who sought enlightenment after being exposed to human suffering.

Buddhist beliefs vary widely, but all branches share a desire to end suffering and the cycle of rebirth.

As part of their studies, members of a local group interested in Buddhism engage in web casts with Priyadarshi.

Edwards Sangha member Susan Mackin Dolan said tonight’s discussion will allow the community to talk and listen to a scholar who has a lot to offer as a teacher and an intellectual.

Mackin Dolan hopes to learn more about nonviolent solutions to the world’s problems.

“So far the world has not completely embraced and tried this technique and I think that war is an outdated method of solving conflicts,” she said.

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