Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Carina Julig at Carina.Julig@colorado.edu.
Distinguished Tibetan Buddhist teacher and scholar Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche gave a talk at CU’s Norlin Library Wednesday night. Rinpoche preceded his talk with a traditional Tibetan smoke purification ceremony in front of the library’s west entrance, and then gave a lecture based on teachings from his new book, Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness.
Rinpoche’s talk focused on the importance of finding happiness and emotional stability. How meditation can help people obtain this was also discussed.
“Any quest for unconditional happiness must begin within our own mind,” his book states. “Thoughts and emotions are just mental events, not who we really are.”
Throughout the talk he stressed how meditation can be a tool to help people understand their own minds and deal with the stress and anxiety of daily life.
“Where there’s tranquility, there’s happiness,” Rinpoche said. He described meditation as an essentially secular practice that anyone could do, without needing to be a Buddhist.
Rinpoche is based in California’s Bay Area and runs the Pristine Mind Foundation, an organization dedicated to spreading Buddhist teachings. In his personal life, he said he regularly meditates one to two hours a day. But traveling does interrupt this schedule.
The talk was organized jointly by the Norlin Library and the Religious Studies department. Norlin has plans to begin a weekly meditation group for students to attend.
“The idea for meditation seems to be floating around in academic studies and scholarship, and in the culture at large,” said Andrew Violet, the library’s graphic design artist. “I think it’s sort of arising as a pendulum shift to counter what an information-rich environment we live in these days. And working with some of the young millennials, I think there’s a desire for a little more physical community space.”
“The library is really positioned well to offer meditation on campus,” said religious studies librarian Megan Welsh. “And we want students to feel a sense of ownership over the library, it’s your space.”
“I think meditation is very beneficial for students,” said Tucker Foley, a graduate student in Tibetan Buddhism at Naropa University. “Students have some of the busiest schedules of anyone. If we spend four years running around frantically, we’re setting ourselves up for a really stressed-out life and for a very busy mind. I think meditation is key to balancing your life in a healthy way.”
The library aims to begin the meditation group in October as the student body gears up for midterms, and will announce the program through social media and on the library website.