Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life

DRBU Spiritual Life strives to support students' spiritual aspirations in a holistic manner that integrates their studies, spiritual practices, and daily life on campus into one whole.  The hope is to provide the inspiration for students to take every opportunity of their lives to develop self-knowledge, wisdom, and virtue. 

The combination of regular daily practice, immersive retreats, and the DRBU classes allow students to take what they read in the primary texts and apply and investigate them in their everyday lives. The regular practice provides a foundation for constant mindfulness, while the retreats provide a depth of inquiry into the mind without distraction. The DRBU classes give constant opportunities to be engaged with the profound wisdom of great spiritual practitioners and philosophers from the East and West.

As a Buddhist institution, DRBU is committed to supporting the spiritual pursuits of students from all religious and spiritual traditions. To this end, DRBU provides services and facilities to promote holistic development among students and to nurture their spiritual pursuits. At the same time, we actively cultivate the values of personal integrity, mutual respect, and spiritual friendship among the entire DRBU community

What is it like to live in a monastic environment? 

A unique quality of our campus is the presence of Buddhist monks and nuns engaged in a life devoted to spiritual practice based on the monastic discipline established by the Buddha. Students are able to witness first-hand the living tradition of the Buddhist monastic Sangha and its role in developing a life of mindfulness and simplicity that leads to wisdom and inner freedom.

The monastics lead the daily ceremonies and spiritual practices in the Buddha Hall, in addition to performing various essential functions at CTTB, including grounds maintenance, working in the kitchen and dining hall, and teaching at the grade schools. Monastics also play a vital role at DRBU as faculty, staff, and/or students. 

Out of respect for the monastic community with whom we share our campus, students are asked to adhere to a Code of Conduct while on campus, a set of guidelines that reflect the spirit of the monastic tradition and are intended to foster a sense of wholesome community living. 

What kinds of spiritual practices are followed at DRBU?

A number of spiritual practices are available on a daily basis. Meditation is regularly offered in the morning. This is an opportunity to focus and ground the mind before the school day starts. In addition, spiritual practices occur in the Buddha Hall every day, such as Morning Ceremony, Evening Ceremony, and Meal Offering. These ceremonies include recitation of scripture, mantras, and sacred names. For many spiritual traditions, recitation and chanting forms an important component in immersing oneself in spiritual texts and developing mindfulness and focus.  Students also gather on their own to engage in spiritual exercises they find inspiring and meaningful. Students are encouraged to develop an individual practice that reflects their unique spiritual needs and aspirations. 

Am I required to participate in ceremonies or other spiritual activities? 

All extracurricular spiritual practices are optional. Students may participate as much or as little as they wish. 

What kind of support does Spiritual Life offer students?

Spiritual Life is headed by DRBU’s chaplains, whose role is to serve as guides and mentors for the DRBU community. Chaplains are available to answer questions, provide feedback, or simply have a talk about life. In addition, Spiritual Life regularly hosts different events, including talks, workshops, and check-in groups, whose function is to provide students with space to reflect on their spiritual practices and to seek support and guidance as needed. 

It is also not uncommon for students to find spiritual support in their relationships with faculty, staff, and other students. While each member of the community has their own unique reasons for having come to DRBU, they are often guided by a shared sense of inquiry into deeper questions of meaning and purpose. This shared intentionality helps foster a sense of intimacy and “spiritual friendship” among community members, a feeling that we are all here to support one another in our spiritual growth and development.

Why is spiritual practice important?

DRBU aims at educating the whole person and thus strives to nurture individuals who see learning as a lifelong endeavor that encompasses all the spheres of life, including the intellectual, social, aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual. By spiritual practice, or cultivation, we mean nothing more nor less than that which enables the individual to “look within,” to access and attend more closely to their own heart and mind, and to seriously consider and know for themselves what it means to be fully human. The aim of Spiritual Life is not to prescribe any particular belief or methodology, but to encourage students to open up the space needed to pursue these deeper reflections. Ultimately, it is up to each student to determine what cultivation means to them and how it is best pursued. 

Can I come to DRBU if I’m not Buddhist?

DRBU is home to a community diverse in background, tradition, and spiritual belief and practice, including those who identify as Buddhist and/or engage in Buddhist practices, as well as those who don’t. DRBU’s fundamental goal is to guide students in the activation of their intrinsic wisdom, and to create a space in which they are free to pursue the fundamental questions of human existence. While these questions are integral to the Buddhist tradition, they are not unique to Buddhism. Students are encouraged to pursue their personal cultivation using the practices and methodologies that are most suitable to them.