Name: Alex Valdes
Cohort: BA ’24
Hometown: Cool, California
What were you doing before DRBU?
I taught yoga, worked at a physical therapy clinic, and attended college courses at my local junior college.
What is an influential class, book, or concept that blew your mind?
The Contemplate Exercises Immersions always blow my mind.
My professors continuously blow my mind as well.
Can you tell us the title of a recent paper? What is it about? What is it really about?
A recent paper I wrote for Buddhist Classics III is titled, “The Current of the River of Desire”. The paper is about the Buddhist Practitioner's view of desire and how that plays out in a DRBU student's experience. The title is inspired by the Śūraṅgama Sūtra.
How has DRBU changed you? Are there any surprising things you learned or challenges you faced?
DRBU has generally caused me to be more resilient and has also changed how I react to certain situations. I constantly learn more about myself and surprise myself at my abilities.
What does contemplative practice mean to you? Do you have a daily practice?
Contemplative practice is anything that allows you to become more aware. True Contemplation provides insights into reality and gives you a tremendous amount of clarity. My daily practice includes sitting with tea and going for walks.
What’s it like to be a part of the DRBU community? What do you do outside of class?
Being a part of the DRBU community requires a lot of effort and selflessness. It is at times uncomfortable, but is so beautiful and such a rare opportunity in this life. Outside of class I spend time in nature, write music, and drink good tea. I’m always keen on a ping pong match, too.
How has financial aid played a role in your being at DRBU? What’s your service scholarship (work study) job?
Financial aid is indispensable for me. I would not be able to attend DRBU without the financial aid package. My service scholarship jobs have changed each semester. I have worked at the recycling center, served tea to guest speakers, worked at the library, cleaned Building 123, organized the Art Studio, renovated out-of-date spaces, written synopsis for BTTS, and many more work-study-related tasks.
What are you interested in doing after DRBU? How does what you’re learning here carry out into the world?
I hope to get my MA. I also hope to travel and continue my personal studies. My career goals are still undecided.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about applying to DRBU?
Visit the school if you can. Be prepared to work and study diligently, but also trust your intuition. Many who feel called to study at DRBU find themselves here for reasons that are not always fully comprehensible.