The following is an interview with Lan Huang, a 2018 graduate of the MA program.
What are you currently up to?
Now, I work full time at DRBU. I have a background in psychology and statistics, so I’m happy to put my skills in use! I’m part of the recruitment, outreach, and development team. I also work at the Office of Institutional Research, where we collect, analyze, and report data about many important aspects of the university and promote a culture of evidence-based decision-making at all levels.
How have you applied what you learned at DRBU to what you are currently doing?
What I have learned at DRBU permeates everything I do in every moment of my life because it has changed my worldview. I came up with a funny way to summarize it: Confidence, Compassion, and Clarity! :)
The first C is about having a deep confidence in the inherent wisdom of all individuals. This confidence is unconditional and unwavering -“Although you may identify yourself with your current circumstances, I see you as a (future) enlightened being.” We don’t even have to go that far -“I’m confident that each of us has the capacity to be fully aware of what’s going on in every moment and form intentional actions based on that to benefit oneself and others.” I think this confidence is what DRBU’s educational model is founded on. Based on my own experience here, all the mechanisms of the program are designed to activate this confidence in each individual. Confidence can only grow through accumulation of successful experiences, which means everybody has to work really hard to uncover his or her inherent wisdom instead of just talking about theories!
From this confidence, compassion for oneself and others naturally arises - “I wonder how I can uncover the wisdom within me!” “Hey, you and I are the same in terms of our highest potential! We should support each other! ” I guess, at some point, one may realize helping oneself and helping others are nondual! So, compassion is the second C!
Then the next question is how I can have a level of clarity to see what’s actually going on so I can be most effective in helping anybody, myself included. I’ve learned at DRBU that clarity comes from stillness of the mind. If I don’t have a certain level of stillness, I will surely act based on my habituations, which can make things worse even with the best intentions. Many of the texts I read discuss how to develop this stillness. Based on my current understanding, essentially, this stillness comes from perfecting one’s moral virtue. So, clarity is the third C!
To sum up, DRBU has taught me how to care for and nurture the roots of my life, instead of working on branch tips - all the superficial stuff that I used to waste a lot of time on! So I’m forever grateful for my education here.
What is a favorite pastime / memory from your time at DRBU?
Sitting in silent meditation together with the entire school during our Contemplative Exercise Immersions! The energy is amazing.
Insights, advice, and/or words of wisdom you'd like to share with new/current students:
Cherish your time as a student here. My two years at DRBU were the happiest in my life and I have grown so much as a human being! Give it all you've got! - Reading, writing, classroom discussions, work study, contemplative exercises, contributing to the community in any way you can, etc.. Support and take care of each other. Some of you will find lifelong friends here. Lastly, try to bring joy and light to others whenever you can and wherever you go. The world desperately needs more confidence, compassion, and clarity!