The Speech of Encouragement by Prof. Lozang Jamspal, Dean of IBC
Highly Respected Venerable Wei Wu, founder of the International Buddhist College;
Prof. Charles Wileman, IBC Rector;
Vice-Rector Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa;
Prof.Tilak Kariyawasam, Dean of the Graduate School;
also Noble Sangha, Professors, Lecturers, Academic Staff and Non-academic Staff, Graduating class, IBC students, distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
On this auspicious occasion, I would like to recite some famous Buddhist verses.
ये धमार् हेतुप्रभवा हेतुं तेषां तथागतो ह्यवदत्।
तेषां च यो िनरोध एवंवादी महाश्रमणः॥
ye dharmā hetuprabhavā
hetuṃ teṣāṃ tathāgto hyavadat/teṣāṃ ca yo nirodha
स्य शासनम् ॥
(Udānavarga, chapter 28. verse 1)
etaṃ buddhānaṃ sāsanaṃ//
(Dhammapada, verse 183)
सवर्दृिष्टप्रहाणाय यः सद्धमर्मदेशयत्।
अनुकम्पामुपादाय तं नमस्यािम गौतमम्॥३० ॥
Prajñānāmamadhyamakārikā, chapter 27, verse 30
I studied Buddhism at the Tibetan Monastic University to complete my intermediate education, and it took me more than 8 years to finish my MA. To be a student of Buddhism was not easy there. I could not afford to buy lamp oil in order to read books. So I had to recite and memorize texts in the dark.
In 1958, I went to Sanskrit University of Varanasi India, where I earned a Sanskrit diploma in 3 years. Then, I went on to get a Śāstrī [BA] degree in 2 years, and in 1968, after 3 more years, I received an Ācārya degree. To be a student there also was not easy. For the first 3 years, I had financial difficulties. Since I was an earnest student, the professors recommended me for a job in the University, during my śāstrī and ācārya studies. While there, I had the opportunity to volunteer to help
Tibetan refugees, who did not know the Indian language, which I had learned by living in central India. In 1984, I went to Columbia University in the United States to study the western way for an
MPhil and PhD in Buddhism. Columbia University recognized the Ācārya as an MA. In 1991, I received my PhD degree in Buddhism from Columbia University.
To be admitted to Columbia as a student was not easy financially, and my English was not
sufficient. I took a placement test, and scored a level 5. To study in the graduate program, I needed a level 10, so I had to study English for several more years.
I met a professor of Buddhism in the program, and he asked me why I was coming to Columbia to study Buddhism. He did not think it was a realistic goal. But my former life’s karma was ripened. I was appointed a teaching assistant [TA] to teach a classical Tibetan language course with this professor. Thus, I did not need to pay tuition, and I even got a s2pend for being a TA. For the 2nd year and other years, I got a Columbia scholarship. Not only that, while I was working on my PhD, through my advisor’s recommendation, I got a grant from Naritasan Institute of Japan to edit the Lexicon of the Viśvalocana Sanskrit manuscript and its Tibetan translation. I also got a free place to stay half a block from the Columbia University campus.
Now we are all here at the International Buddhist College as teachers, as staff, and as students. We honestly have to take responsibility to achieve the goals of our education. I always encourage my students to learn some basic Buddhist terms in four languages: Sanskrit, Pāli, English, and their own
native language. IBC provides courses to learn those languages.
The highly respected philanthropist, the Venerable Wei Wu founded the International Buddhist College a decade ago. Venerable Wei Wu wrote to me that we cannot pay you a salary equal to your USA salary, but we will pay such and such, and give you lodging. If you require more, we will get some money from Malaysia. I said, I don’t need more. Satisfaction is highly important in any civilized society. In Sanskrit, one says: “Saṃtoṣa eva paramaṃ nidhānam.” I am totally satisfied here.
Although I was invited to live and teach in my own country, France, and other places, seeing Venerable Wei Wu’s vast good works for International Buddhism, I have decided to stay with you as long as I can and work for IBC, physically and mentally.
I wish to congratulate the graduating class for finishing their degrees and persevering, even though they had many difficulties. You graduating students have come from all over the world to study Buddhism here at IBC. Your coming from long distances shows your great commitment. Now, wherever you go, you should make good use of your IBC education, in everything that you do with your life.
To the new and continuing IBC students, I encourage you to study and work hard, so that we will all gather to celebrate your graduation in the future. We are all one big family. As they say in the west, IBC is your alma mater or “kind mother.” So, I hope that those who are graduating will have good memories. Those who are staying should beautify IBC, by applying themselves to their studies and
removing all obstacles through diligence—including, I may add, removing the litter that we see on the campus grounds! Many students and staff of IBC have contributed to the upkeep of IBC. There is a saying that many people’s hands are gold. All these activities show our gratitude for great kindness of Venerable Bhante Wei Wu and the devoted support of his followers. Thank you.