Ross School To Host Eminent Buddhist Monk and Professor

Buddhist Monk and Professor Lama Tenzin. Photograph courtesy of The Ross School

Tenzin Yignyen, a Buddhist monk and visiting professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will return to the Ross School on Monday, March 18, for a weeklong visit to share his message of compassion with the East End community. Lama Tenzin’s visit each year offers the community the opportunity to learn more about the principles of Buddhist philosophy, including the importance of mindfulness, meditation, and acting with compassion. The monk will hold a lecture on March 21 at 6 p.m., open to the public and free of charge, on the tenets of Buddhism and providing insights into how they can be practiced in our daily lives.

In past years, Lama Tenzin’s address to the community has reminded its members to be mindful in their interactions with others and offered guidance in achieving a shared, universal hope of being happy. “Happiness cannot be found in physical things like money,” Lama Tenzin said at last year’s lecture. “Profound happiness comes from the heart.”

The preeminent highlight of Lama Tenzin’s annual visit is his construction of an intricate sand mandala, a sacred practice within Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Throughout the week, students, teachers, and parents enjoy the opportunity to witness the ritual, watching as Lama Tenzin constructs the piece with colored marble dust.

Lama Tenzin ends his annual visit by dismantling the sand mandala and returning its components to the sea, surrounded by members of the Ross community. The ceremony symbolizes the Buddhist principle of non-attachment, the idea that nothing — neither possessions, relationships, nor accomplishments — is permanent. “We are human beings,” says the monk, “with marvelous hearts and minds, not machines. We must act like human beings.”