.: Latest News
I have now completed the coursework requirements for my doctoral program (with GPA of 3.8/4.0). These courses included core requirements in practical theology as well as work in research methods, Vajrayana sacred texts, and feminist theology.
My formation as a Buddhist theologian has developed solidly upon the previous year's work, resulting in one scholarly publication, "Leveraging Inter-religious Dialogue into Transformative Action Using Practical Theology’s Reflexive Frameworks" courtesy of Memnosyne and the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, and another major paper, "Prospects for a Buddhist Practical Theology" already accepted for publication, forthcoming in the coming months at the International Journal of Practical Theology.
I had the honor and privilege of this year of offering an invocation and helping to coordinate the Buddha Jayanti Celebrations for the Pashupatinath Foundation held at California State University at Long Beach, and later again for the Non-Resident Nepali North American conference general assembly meeting. The photo here shows me receiving a certificate from the Ambassador from Nepal to the USA, Dr. Sharma.
ACADEMIC & RESEARCH WORK
This year I have expanded my research methods from quantitative tools exploring neurophysiology to include qualitative inquiry methods by which subjective, first-person contemplative experience can be elicited, described, interpreted, and analyzed.
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 happy to report that I have been able to serve my Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in shaping our Americas programs in editing texts, (in addition to some other work under review, pre-publication) and also was able to help the theology study group at Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach take their dialogue to a more substantial level, during my recent consultative visit as a participant-observing session-leader.
I am now on schedule to serve my chaplaincy internship this summer at University of Southern California Medical Center/LA County Hospital c/o Urban Interfaith Chaplaincy and St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care. I have a total of four units of chaplaincy residency to complete as part of my doctoral program requirements, and this summer unit with comprise the second unit.
Unfortunately, no financial aid is available for the extra costs required to complete this internship ($650 in tuition + $600 in commuting expenses), so I am basically having to rely on soup kitchens and donations now to get by, which is not pleasant for a vegetarian (university financial aid rules forbid students getting food stamps). I'm now on the hook for over $54,000 in student loan debt. (I'm told this isn't too bad for a doctoral student, but I still have about a year of clinical chaplaincy training, qualifying paper exams, and dissertation work still to go: about 3-4 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!
I am also still in need of another sensor for my biofeedback system for assessing contemplative practice. This item runs about $400, and will be named after the 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!