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Buddhism the focus of upcoming events on campus


The world of Buddhism will be explored in depth through a provocative and exciting slate of events happening soon at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

The Tung Lin Kok Yuen Chinese Characters Public Lecture Series features a public lecture and documentary film series that will bring renowned Buddhist scholars and exciting films to the campus. All of the events are free and open to the public. They have been made possible through a gift of $4 million to Buddhist Studies made by Tung Lin Kok Yuen Chinese
Characters Hong Kong, a non-profit organization focused on raising and inspiring public interest in Buddhism. The gift, which was announced in 2006, is the biggest gift to the University of Toronto Scarborough in campus history. It supports the upcoming events as well as scholarships, visiting professors, and other activities.

“We are delighted to be the forum for discussions and examinations of Buddhism once again,” said Professor Bill Bowen, chair of the humanities department at the University of Toronto Scarborough. “Events we have organized in previous years have generated a great deal of excitement and interest in Buddhist thought and culture, not just from our campus but from the greater community, and we expect that level of interest to continue to increase. A growing number of people worldwide are expressing interest in Buddhism, and these events aim to help us in understanding Buddhism today.”

Here is a list of events:


Gender, Sexuality and Tibetan Buddhism: How Sex is Used in the Spiritual Path,” a lecture by Buddhist Studies professor Jeffrey Hopkins of the University of Virginia at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Theatre AA-112. (A free shuttle bus is available to UTSC from the U of T St. George campus with pick up in front of Hart House at 6:00 p.m. and returning downtown after the lecture.) Jeffrey Hopkins is Professor Emeritus of Tibetan Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia, where he taught Tibetan Buddhist Studies and Tibetan language for 32 years starting in 1973. Hopkins is considered one of the most renowned Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Studies scholars of his generation. He is a leading authority on Asian Studies over the last four decades. He founded the university’s world-famous Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Studies programs and directed the Center for South Asian Studies, and has shown remarkable literary output. He earned a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin in 1973, and served as the Dalai Lama's chief interpreter into English on lecture tours from 1979 to 1989. He has published 39 books in a total of 22 languages, as well as 23 articles.


Buddha’s Lost Children, a documentary film, at 7:30 p.m. in the Management Building, Room MW-110. In the borderlands of Thailand’s Golden Triangle, a rugged region known for its drug smuggling and impoverished hill tribes, one man devotes himself to the welfare of the region’s children. A former Thai boxer turned Buddhist monk, Phra Khru Bah Neua Chai Kositto (Tiger Monk), travels widely on horseback dispensing prayers, health care, education and tough love to villagers far from the protection and support of governments or NGOs. This film gives new meaning to the term “grassroots Buddhism” and in the end, it’s the children’s journey that the viewer shares. (Shuttle bus available from Hart House on St. George campus at 6:00 p.m.)


Amongst White Clouds: Buddhist Hermit Masters of China’s Zhongnan Mountains, a documentary film, at 7:30 p.m. in the Management Building, Room MW-110. Filmed on location in China by American director Edward A. Burger, the film takes an unforgettable journey into the hidden tradition of China’s Buddhist hermit monks. This film is an intimate insider’s look at students and masters living in scattered retreats dotting China’s Zhongnan Mountain range. These peaks have reputedly been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor, some 5,000 years ago. It was widely thought that the tradition was all but wiped out, but the film emphatically demonstrates its endurance. . (Shuttle bus available from Hart House on St. George campus at 6:00 p.m.)


Words of My Perfect Teacher, a documentary film, at 7:30 p.m. in the Management Building, Room MW-110. This film examines the phenomenon of a Buddhist teacher. We generally expect our spiritual leaders to be serious and all-knowing. We don’t expect them to be witty, mischievous and overly concerned with soccer results. In Lesley Ann Patten’s warm and funny story of her quest to be the perfect student, she follows (and sometimes chases) Buddhist teacher Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche around the world, interviewing him, his followers and other Buddhists. This beautifully filmed “game” of follow-the-leader will draw viewers into questioning their own beliefs and their place in the world. (Shuttle bus available from Hart House on St. George campus at 6:00 p.m.)

For more information, contact the Department of Humanities, Arts & Events Programming Office at or by calling (416) 208-4769.

© University of Toronto Scarborough