What was I doing before DRBU?
I was part of the teaching faculty in a couple of masters courses about psychodynamic psychotherapy and contemporary psychoanalysis, as well as having a private practice in Cuernavaca and Mexico City.
Influential book I’ve read:
The Platform Sutra, The Lotus Sutra, and The Avatamsaka Sutra.
Concept that blew my mind:
The ultimate expansiveness of the mind, going beyond dualism and non-dualism.
Challenge(s) I faced:
I began my DRBU degree without having planned it. I knew nothing about the MA program before coming to DRBU for the Buddhist Classical Texts Translation Seminar in 2018. After the seminar ended, I decided to stay on at DRBU, leaving everything that was going on in my life behind, which was a challenge. However, the whole DRBU experience has certainly been interesting and transformational, and that makes up for every difficult moment along the way.
How has DRBU changed me?
Living and working in a community that shares the same interests and orientation towards deep and committed cultivation has been very inspiring. And it has motivated me to fulfill this old dream about becoming a meaningful bridge between Buddhist studies and cultivation and contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice.
What surprised me about DRBU?
How much it stays in everybody’s hearts and minds. And how much it has made me want to preserve the bonds I’ve formed, wherever I might be after the program is over for me.
Title of senior essay/a recent paper:
"The Role of the Good and Wise Advisor"
What is it about?
Understanding the concept of a ‘good and wise advisor’ and the importance of not confusing it with a deluded, deviant, or confused part of our so called ‘self’.
What is it really about?
We all have an essential nature that is waiting for us to allow it to rise and guide us with the light of our inner wisdom, however, we have to “learn” how to get in touch with it mostly by working through our defilements and afflictions. We usually need the help of a good and wise advisor, to lend us a hand to achieve this goal. Many consider that cultivation is done easily on their own, but I don’t agree. We usually need a wiser person around us to help us adjust our own inner compass. However, a real discerning process must be done to prevent ourselves from being misguided or confused, a circumstance that frequently makes us take the wrong person, situation, or the least adequate part of our so called ‘self’ as the true good and wise advisor.
What’s your service scholarship (work study) job?
I have helped in the K-12 schools, in the libraries, and in DRBU’s bookstore.
Do you have a daily practice— if so, what is it?
Yes, of course. I do an early morning yoga-meditation 45 minutes practice, then the Shurangama Sutra recitation in DRBU’s Chan Hall, I try to go to evening ceremony in CTTB’s Buddha Hall as often as I can, and I attend as many Dharma Talks I can go to or listen to. Recently, I have been fortunate enough to receive the generous, helping hands of friends that have allowed me to attend some of Berkeley Buddhist Monastery’s Dharma talks, such as Marty Verhoeven’s Avatamsaka Sutra lectures on Fridays. I do hope I am able to do that throughout this last semester as much as possible.
What do you do for fun?
I like to go for walks, listen to soft music, read, visit interesting places, dine out, and share time and interesting conversations with beloved family members and friends.
How has financial aid played a role in your being here?
It has been a fundamental factor. Without it, I would have not been able to stay here.
How does what you’re learning here carry out into the world?
The teachings, in a way, have always been in my heart and mind even before I began to learn about Buddhism and formally cultivate. They have always been part of who I am and want to be, I think. Now, thanks to the master’s program, the teachings are connected to texts that I can study, have in mind in a more conscious way, and that are more accessible for me to refer to with others.
Keep on working in my own area of expertise as before, keep myself updated in my own discipline, keep on studying more about Buddhism and its practice, and keep on cultivating more and hopefully better, wherever I go and wherever I am. Share my DRBU experience with whoever is interested in listening. Some may get inspired to come too!