Soul Friend to the Community

Supporting Community Healing 

October's teaching will be away- join us in Amherst, MA!

11th Annual Exploring Buddhism Seminar

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Dewey House Philosophy Lounge, Smith College

The Qualities of the Buddha

With Geshe Ngawang Singey and Five College Professors

Open to Public with a suggested donation: Adults: $20/session ($50/3 sessions); Seniors: $15/session ($40/3 sessions); Five College students free

Seminar Overview: The traditional Buddhist understanding is that the Buddha was neither an ordinary human nor a god -- he was a very rare and precious instance of an Awakened Being, a perfectly enlightened Buddha. The Buddha fully realized and, over 45 years of teaching, skillfully explained a path for liberating our minds from habit patterns that trap us in cycles of greed, hatred and ignorance. He emphasized that all beings have the potential to realize the same awakening he achieved. More than just an exemplary teacher, he was the "bringer of light to the world." Our seminar will explore Buddhist perspectives on the special qualities of the Buddha, from his rich wisdom and compassion to his extraordinary powers of perception.

10am-12:00pm. Five-College scholars Prof. Maria Heim, Amherst College, Dept. of Religion and Prof. Jamie Hubbard, Smith College Dept. of Religion will join Geshe Ngawang Singey in discussing views from different Buddhist traditions about what a Buddha is and does: Moderated by Prof. Jay Garfield, Smith College Dept. of Philosophy. Opportunity for Q & A.

1:30-3:30pm. Geshe Ngawang will discuss the qualities of the Buddha from the perspective of the Tibetan tradition. Opportunity for Q & A.

5:30-7:30pm. Puja/prayer session to bring about happiness and peace and to ward off obstacles, led by Geshe Ngawang.

Geshe Ngawang Singey is Director of Jampel Nyingpo Ling (JNL), Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies, and Community Religious Adviser at Smith College. Born in Kham, Tibet, at age 17 he left to study at Sera Jey Monastery, south India following the 1959 Chinese invasion of Tibet. He received novice and ordination vows from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and after 20 years of instruction in philosophy, psychology and other Buddhist studies, he attained the Geshe degree (roughly equivalent to a Western doctorate.) He taught dialectics (debate) at Sera Jey for 8 years, moving in 2003 to the U.S., where he founded Thosum Gephelling Institute in Williamsville, Vermont and Jampel Nyingpo Ling in Amherst, MA. He teaches in both centers as well occasional sessions at Smith College and Kurukulla Center in Boston. His JNL classes are held twice a month at Amherst College.

Presented in partnership with Amherst College Department of Religion, Smith College Department of Religion, Hampshire College Tibetan Studies Program, Five College Buddhist Studies Certificate Program, UMass Asian Arts & Culture Program, and Jampel Nyingpo Ling

I am so very happy to be introducing my beloved Buddhist teacher, friend and mentor "Geshe-la" to the Anam Cara community and those who visit. Geshe-la will be coming to ACC on the 4th Sunday of each month to give teachings, Q&A, and lead us in meditation. 


There's a lovely story behind the auspicious day I met the Ven. Geshe Ngawang Singey, the respected man and Tibetan monk  I came to call 'beloved teacher'. By far one of the wisest and most influential people in my life, with unending patience Geshe-la poured out teachings for me over countless cups of tea, lingering late into the evening long after the weekly community teaching had ended, elaborating on the meaning and principles my western mind was trying to wrap around. Indeed, during the time I lived as steward at Turtle Point retreat in southern VT and where Geshe-la and Ed his translator lived as well, I would not let an opportunity pass to satisfy a question burning in my mind. Whether a crossing paths in the hallway or a chance meeting while foraging for a late night snack in the kitchen, there was always a question on my lips that would require of Geshe-la "a lot of talkie and talkie" until understanding dawned in me. There would be a lot of  break out laughter too because I could not understand his english and I knew zero Tibetan. But this made me listen harder, and when even that failed, he would call out to his translator and with sleepy eyes Ed would join us around the farmhouse table to discuss my many questions. 

When circumstances of life brought my time at Turtle Point to an end (in 2008), it was our parting intention that once my life was reestablished in Connecticut, Geshe-la would come to bring the teachings I had come to cherish, with him, and into a new community that I would have  established- aka the Anam Cara Center. Thankfully, over the past decade I have practiced much of what I had learned from Geshe-la, the meaning of patience being one that has served me very well, for over the decade that has gone by, there has been increased depth and height and breath of spiritual building on top of spiritual building, personally and collectively that has opened my heart, my mind and my vista and  has prepared me for this day, and the next chapter of my life.