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Presenting at Spiritual Care Grand Rounds at LA County Hospital-USC Medical Center

SPIRITUAL CARE CLINICAL INTERNSHIPS & GETTING READY FOR DISSERTATION QUALIFYING EXAMS

I have now completed the coursework requirements for my doctoral program (with GPA of 3.8/4.0), and am now completing the doctoral program clinical requirements: 4 ACPE-accredited Clinical Pastoral Education spiritual care internships. The first I did at Massachusetts General Hospital, the second and third were served at LA County Hospital-USC Medical Center, and the last is currently underway at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. Both MGH and UCLA hospitals rank in the top 5 rated hospitals in the USA. LA County also offered a great diversity of clinical service opportunities, as a level 1 trauma center with ICUs, burn unit, jail unit, psychiatric ER, county morgue, and crematorium, and I personally served in all of these centers at one time or another. (As shown in the above photo, I also had the privilege of presenting on Buddhist notions of spiritual pain as part of an interfaith panel for Spiritual Care Ground Rounds at LA County Hospital in the fall of 2013. I also was featured in a photo in the LA Times article about a mass burial at LA County Cemetary.)

ACADEMIC & RESEARCH WORK

My major forthcoming theology paper, "Prospects for a Buddhist Practical Theology" is due to print in May at the International Journal of Practical Theology, and I am very excited to share my rationale for undertaking contemplative Buddhism research, which includes a complete psycho-spiritual transformative (theological) context, to international audiences including numerous esteemed theologians and religious scholars in Europe and elsewhere! I believe this is a ground-breaking paper, and while it is primarily concerned with Buddhist contemplative practice research, it serves as a proof of principle for theological work in any living religious or spiritual tradition.

My other recent scholarly publications, "Leveraging Inter-religious Dialogue into Transformative Action Using Practical Theology’s Reflexive Frameworks" and "Fearlessness vs. Recklessness: A Refutation of Buddhist Gender Essentialism and Chauvanism: Reconsidering the Marks and Signs of a Buddha" continue to gain popularity with readers around the world.

I am also now preparing to complete my PhD dissertation qualifying exams and dissertation proposal process later this year.

I am poised now to pioneer new methods in communicating Buddhism in a manner that is not alienated from its religious and historical context nor its contemporary position as a vibrant, living tradition of human practitioners! I feel that this is a real breakthrough.

I am also thrilled to report that I have been recruited by His Holiness, the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa to translate his autobiography from Tibetan into English, which is an enormous honor and privilege. May this work proceed swiftly and according to all desires and expectations!

SAME OLD-SAME OLD-SOB STORY OF DOCTORAL STUDENT RESEARCHING IN RELIGION

Unfortunately, research in religion is not so valued in our world as researching bombs, military hardware, or other consumer gadgets. Since I have a summa cum laude degree in physics, it is a poignant awareness to know that doctoral studies in engineering and physics require no student loans and even pay the student $60K a year! Alas, no financial aid is available for the extra costs required to complete my spiritual care internships helping oncology patients to make sense of their life and death health issue ($500 in tuition + $1200 in commuting expenses), so I am basically having to rely on the 99c Only store and donations now to get by. I'm now on the hook for over $70,000 in student loan debt. (I'm told this isn't too bad for a doctoral student, but I still have, qualifying paper exams and dissertation work still to go: about 3 more years!) It is really a horrible pity that in order to train to properly serve the sick and poor without harming them and others, one must either be independently wealthy, or in poverty oneself! The good news is that I am hoping to graduate, and be earning in time for my student loans to come due!

I am also still in need of another 2-3 sensors for my biofeedback system for assessing contemplative practice. These items run about $400 each, and if anyone wants to sponsor them, they will be named after any donor forever!

Having said this, I am really grateful for the support I have recieved from numerous people, including RdF Corporation, Jim and Van Loc Doran, my beloved mother, Cecila, and anonymous others.

Anyone who might be able help with this enormous challenge may start with even a tiny donation and make a contribution with everlasting value! Donors will be referenced in all published research, and lab equipment donors will have the lab named after them!