Thupten Tendhar

Although Thupten Tendhar has been far away from his Tibetan home for most of his life, he considers himself to be one of the most fortunate Tibetans on this planet today.

“I am blessed to have had opportunities to have met His Holiness the Dalai Lama personally, served him during a visit to the United States, and received many of his teachings on how to be a good, loving, compassionate and universally responsible person,” said the URI graduate student, who’s pursuing a Master’s degree in adult education.

Thupten says that the Dalai Lama’s advice for combining compassion with wisdom is the principal guidance for his studies and teachings here as a graduate assistant in URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. His graduate thesis focuses on the link between inner peace and physical health among the elderly.

Those same principles also guided his recently published poetry book, PEACE Rhythm of My Heart, which he describes as a small reflection on his personal struggle for peace, harmony, freedom and a meaningful life. For most Tibetans, meeting with the Dalai Lama is more precious than their own lives, for they could be arrested and sentenced to years of rigorous imprisonment simply for singing a prayer for the Dalai Lama or possessing a small portrait of the beloved spiritual master.

In fact, if Thupten were to return to Tibet, he and his family could be in danger as a result of his personal experiences. But, “I believe in living in freedom, not in fear and intimidation,” he said.