Maitripa College invites Dalai Lama to Portland — and he accepts
by Nancy Haught, The Oregonian
on May 03, 2013
Michael Ium drove from Toronto to Portland to study Tibetan Buddhism at a college he’d never seen in a city he’d never visited.
“I parked my car right there, 23 minutes before my first class,” he says, nodding toward Southeast Market Street. Red and yellow silk flags fly from the roof of Maitripa College. Tibetan prayer flags hang over the doorway. Otherwise, from the outside, it looks like any other office building or warehouse along Southeast 11th Avenue.
Inside, Maitripa is a hybrid: a modern college mingled with the essential elements of Tibetan Buddhism. The library is filled with short, wide books, written in the angular script of the Tibetan language. A state-of-the-art classroom sits alongside a traditional meditation hall, where golden images of the Buddha are framed in intense shades of maroon, yellow, orange and deep blue.
Maitripa is unique in the United States as a free-standing graduate school solely devoted to Tibetan Buddhist studies. Here continuing education and graduate students immerse themselves in a belief system that arose centuries ago on the other side of the world. They take a class or attend full time. Some are regulars at free public teachings on Thursday nights.