As an indication of increasing Chinese interest in Tibetan Buddhism, Hong Kong University is organizing a lecture series entitled “Inside Tibetan Buddhism” that will last from February 15 until June 7, 2003. Scheduled speakers include Tibetan lamas residing in Tibet, Nepal and India as well as Chinese scholars from the mainland and Hong Kong.

The series is scheduled to begin on February 15, 2003, with a lecture on “Transforming Problems into Happiness” by Lama Thubten Zopa, head of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, an international network of Tibetan Buddhist centers. Lama Zopa resides in Nepal. Khenpo Chodrak Tenphel from the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi, India, will speak on “Tibetan Buddhism and the Transformation of Mind” on March 9, 2003 while Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche from Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India, is scheduled to lecture on “Seven Points of Mind Training” on April 18 and 19, 2003.

Among Tibetan lamas from Tibet are Mocha Rinpoche (“Moza Rinpoche,”), from Kathok Monastery in Kham, who will speak on “The Invaluable Human Body Endowed with the Eight Aspects of Freedom and 10 Aspects of Completion” on March 26, and Tulku Lungdok Tenzin Songpo, deputy abbot of Larungar Buddhist Academy in Serthar, Kham, in present-day Sichuan Province, who will speak on “Thirty-seven Verses on the Conduct of Buddhist Practitioners” on May 3, 2003.

Chinese scholars include Prof. Wang Yao from Tsinghua University, who will speak on “Two-way Exchanges between the Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist Cultures” on February 22 and March 1, 2003; Ma Shiu Hung from the Chi Lin Nunnery who will speak on “The Studies of Mind in Tibetan Buddhism” on May 17, 2003, and Prof. Victor Mair of Hong Kong University, who will speak on “the Mummification of Holy Men in Tibet” on June 7, 2003.

The purpose of the series is to “let people gain a deeper understanding of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition,” according to a University announcement.

In advertisements placed in Hong Kong newspapers, the University’s Centre of Buddhist Studies, said, “With its copious Buddhist literature and systematic theories and a structured, profound system of practical steps for spiritual attainment, Tibetan Buddhism undoubtedly has a significant position in world Buddhist history. However, because of such factors as the origin and development and indigenous features of the religious tradition, many people can only see Tibetan Buddhism behind a veil of mystery and they can hardly get a full picture, thus resulting in all kinds of misunderstanding.”

Enquiries about the lecture series can be made by telephone 2859-2848 or Fax: 2549-3040. Admission is free.

The Centre of Buddhist Studies was established in September 2000 and is reported to be the first academic center to focus on Buddhist Studies at the University of Hong Kong and at other local universities.

The Center’s activities include teaching and research, talks, workshops, seminars and conferences to promote Buddhist Studies on a broader base. It aims “to develop ties among the fields of education, psychology, social work and health care, with a view of applying Buddhist teachings to a modern societal context.”

The University said, “China’s opening up policy has resulted in a new surge of religious fervour, in particular the revival of Buddhism. There is a pool of talent and potential for serious Buddhist studies waiting to be tapped and explored. Concurrently, research and studies worldwide, some of which are being approached from new rather than traditional perspectives, are also readily available.”