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Home Newsletters So-Wide Space March 2012

So-Wide Space March 2012

Article Index
So-Wide Space March 2012
Report from Richard Gombrich
Centre for Applied Buddhism
OCBS Student Grant
His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa
OCBS Update
Visit of Dr. Lobsang Rapgay
Volunteers at the OCBS
All Pages


Welcome to the March 2012 Issue of So-Wide Space.

In this issue, Richard Gombrich reports on his recent activites at the OCBS, we announce the visit of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa to Oxford (with two public events to be held at Wolfson College), as well as present the talk by Dr. Lobsang Rapgay who visited the OCBS.  We are also busy preparing for the arrival of the new Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies, provide you with details of the new Centre for Applied Buddhism, announce the winner of the Student Grant and much more.

Report from Richard Gombrich

For the second year running, I have given an introduction to Buddhism to graduate students at the University Dept. of Education, most of whom will go on to become school teachers of Religious Studies.  Professor Liam Gearon took up a position in that department in the autumn of 2010 and asked if we might do this annually; we were happy to agree.  On 7th February he brought a party across to our office.  This is a very easy audience to speak to, because on the one hand they are interested and on the other they arrive knowing very little on the subject.  What they really need is a framework which they can then fill in with detail according to their individual interests.  I therefore give them a rapid outline of the place of Buddhism in time and space, how it is like or unlike other religions, its range of internal variety and the main reasons for its appeal these days.  I briefly explain why I founded the OCBS and what it aims to do.

This year I began by speaking for nearly an hour and then Susan provided coffee and biscuits.  I warned them that during the break they should prepare questions.  There were plenty of those; they filled the second hour, and could probably have gone on much longer.  Though I do not offer them a general bibliography, I often suggest further reading when I reply to a question.  It is perhaps a pity that we do not get more opportunities to deliver this kind of introduction.

The Centre for Applied Buddhism

We would like to bring you details of a new initiative from our colleagues at the Institute of Oriental Philosophy – the launch of a new ‘Centre for Applied Buddhism’.

"The time is right to embark on a new venture investigating Applied Buddhism in all its aspects. The application of Buddhism in people’s daily lives, the interaction of Buddhism with contemporary society and the dialogue with psychology, science, philosophy, creativity and many other areas. This new centre will continue and develop the work that has previously been carried out within the Institute of Oriental Philosophy-UK which is now closing down. In recent years the IOP-UK had increasingly become involved in the work of making Buddhism more widely accessible through its programme of ‘Creative Awakening’ seminars. The new centre will develop this work through an innovative programme of events, seminars and conferences open to all and covering areas such as environmental issues, war, economics, politics and science in relation to Buddhism. The IOP-UK’s academic work will continue within the Centre for Applied Buddhism as will the development of the Library with its wonderful collection of books on Buddhism and related subjects. The centre will be based at Taplow Court near Maidenhead, just thirty minutes by train from London and with easy airport accessibility.”

There will be a launch event for the new Centre at Taplow on 31st March at 2.30pm.

Speakers will include Michele Lamb from SGI-UK, Maitrisara from the Triratna Buddhist Order and Ven. Amaranatho a Theravadin monk who now lives as an alms mendicant. If you wish to attend or for more information please contact Val Stephenson at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

OCBS Student Grant

We are very happy to announce that this term’s student grant of £500 has been awarded to Chris Jones.  Chris is reading for a DPhil. in Buddhist Studies at Oxford.  We are very grateful to the generosity of Dr. Thet Thet Nwe for making this award possible.

Visit of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa

His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa visited Oxford this month.  There were a number of activities including a visit to the OCBS and two public events held at Wolfson College:

Education, Health and Environment in the Buddhist Himalayas
Time: 3:30-4:00pm

As head of the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and founder of the Live to Love Foundation – a worldwide humanitarian initiative, his Holiness will speak about some of his current projects.

Panel discussion - Mindfulness: Combining Ancient Wisdom with Modern Science
Time: 4:30pm - 5:30pm

His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa and Mark Leonard (Oxford Mindfulness Centre). Chaired by Diana Quick. 

Followed by a reception at Wolfson College from 5:30pm.

Update on the OCBS

Here at the OCBS we are preparing for the arrival of the new Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies – an event we are very excited about.  We have had a very productive few months to start the year – our Hilary Term Lecture Series (with audio podcasts available here) has gone well with very high attendance and we have had another Buddhism Lunch at the University for all of those interested in Buddhist Studies.  We are also gearing up for the publication of the next volume of the Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies.  If you haven’t subscribed yet and are interested in doing so please visit

Our volunteers have been very active, assisting us in all parts of our operations.  We also now have a small team of volunteers assisting us in developing our fundraising activities to secure the future of the Centre.  This is a very important project for us and there will be more details about this going up on our site soon.  Thank you for your continued interest and support of the Centre.

Visit of Dr. Lobsang Rapgay

It was an honour for the OCBS to host Dr. Lobsang Rapgay on Thursday 8th March at 4pm. He delivered a talk entitled:

“Emerging independent scientific support from modern cognitive sciences for the original version of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness - Thoughts of how to advance the understanding and practice of mindfulness”.

The audio podcast of this talk is available here on our website.

Volunteers at the OCBS

We are very happy to announce that we now have a total of 10 people volunteering at the OCBS.  They help us out with many differing aspects of our activities including the website, this newsletter,  audio recordings, the library and much more. We are lucky to have such a committed and talented group of people working for us and it has helped us to expand our activities even more.

On 22nd February we had an evening to say thank you to all of our volunteers with catering provided by one of our fellows – Sarah Shaw.  It went on until 10pm and it was great to have some of our students and fellows turn up to give our volunteers a sense of the bigger picture and the benefits their activities are bringing.


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