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Stories from Our Students

Traveling through a valley of flowers

I have the sense in Tibet that the land is alive. It reads like a manuscript punctuated with white Buddhist stupas and illustrated with painted rocks and caves high in the mountainside. Triangles and circular structures made of prayer flags mark where the local gods inhabit the mountains and lakes.

Friends in high places

On the way to Myanmar I stopped in Japan to meet with scholars there studying Southeast Asia, Burmese Buddhism and Pali philology. In Myanmar I studied Burmese and also acquired numerous new materials crucial to my research, including an invaluable anthology of twenty-first century interpretations of Ū Nārada’s controversial writings.

Discovering India, discovering myself

Once we made it to India I understood why people love traveling. There is enjoyment in being in a new place and seeing a new culture. But maybe what is really best about traveling is that it helps you understand and appreciate yourself.

Buddhist texts and life in Nepal

Nepal is a place full of opportunities to learn about religion, as well as humanity and its resilience. After the devastating earthquake, people continue their practice of the Dharma despite economic and political difficulties. Inspirational is one of the many things one could call this experience. My research in Nepal is not over but has just begun.

Confidence in myself as a scholar of religion

Sitting in a shared Jeep, nearly thrown out the back with every turn, I held onto a metal bar to steady my body and sanity as we wove up a dusty mountain. I wondered, “What on earth am I doing in Sikkim?” Conducting my own research was not something I expected to be doing during my university career.

Connecting art and religion

We visited caves at the Mogao and Yulin Grottoes, many of which are rarely open to the public. Dunhuang was a perfect site to negotiate issues of global vs. the postglobal. Interdisciplinary collaboration between international scholars of history, art, and religion should be encouraged.

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