Sehen Gamhewa

Sehen Gamhewa
BA student | Class of 2025

Abstract answer because I don’t really have one. Anywhere between Kuwait and Sri Lanka

What were you doing before DRBU?:
A comp. sci. degree

What is an influential class, book, or concept that blew your mind?
The multiplicity of reality, and how every awareness/one really is their own universe, and not in the sense of the world of people they know, but very factually have entire existences, experiences, and universes revolving around them.

Can you tell us the title of a recent paper? What is it about? What is it really about?
Buddha-nature in action. I forgot. Lemme look it up real quick. I think it’s about how nirvana is in action, in every moment of existing. Or something like that. I feel like everyone gets something different from what they read or see, but that would be the general gist of it lol. 

It’s really about how trippy everything is, and like, chill out, and try doing things without intentionally doing them. More so, to be led into doing things by the voice inside your head, that is pretty much your intuition, your deep-down inner moral compass or whatever people want to call it.

How has DRBU changed you? Are there any surprising things you learned or challenges you faced?
It’s pretty much wiped me out of existence, which is cool. I guess the coolest things I found out were about myself and how I could draw so many personal connections with and from the things I was reading. And if anything, about the fact that everything I drew was because I was relating every connection to a self that existed, and the moment you become aware of them it kinda dissipates, and you’re just like, “Woah what just happened? Did I wake up from a dream or something?”

What does contemplative practice mean to you? Do you have a daily practice?
Yes. Lol. I think contemplative practice is to be taken very literally. It’s to practice being contemplative, in other words, ridding yourselves of intention, not doing anything, which doesn’t always translate to not doing objective actions, but to not create intentioned action or effort etc. 

I practice a sort of constant contemplation thing, where I have questions or statements I make about reality playing on the backburner. That way, I don’t really have to sit down and meditate because I’m tormented by myself at each moment of my existence. 

Other than that, I make tea and meditate at night. Sometimes, I read Sutras or texts and laugh with them because they’re great. Poetry and art is cool too.

What’s it like to be a part of the DRBU community? What do you do outside of class?
Interesting. It’s a little hard to describe the experience, but I would say a lot of it is positive. People really care about you here, and in a positive sense, in that there is this wholesome wanting to help and to better whatever is happening, which is cool to see. That doesn’t mean everything is perfect, though. Especially because you realize that you brought yourself with you. People are still people, you are still you. Once you see that you start to snap out of it and work with what you have and at making that experience better. But just that simple act of compassion and care you get can go a long way. 

Out of class, I’m usually either by myself or hanging out with a few friends. Little rituals, conversations about where we’re at experientially or what happened at school or this really attractive person I saw, etc. etc. It’s really not a Buddhist experience in the cultural sense, if that’s what you’re thinking lol. It is Buddhist in the sense that we’re usually pushing each other to grow in a more freedom sense.

Can you share a memory of a quintessential DRBU moment with us?
Man. So, last Saturday, after pizza night, me and Brandon bring down the tea and start brewing some forty-year-old Pu’er for everyone, and everyone’s like super high on the tea (clean high btw no illegal substances involved, at least not on campus lol), and I am reminded of Alfonso’s dreams, so I play a video of trippy cartoons from the sixties or something, and then soon after, I’m mixing multiple tracks of chillstep electronic music and mantras or recitations of Buddhist sutras, and it’s beautiful because you can see the air just curve into this magical experience where two different worlds are colliding, and this really personal integral experience is synthesizing where people are making sense of something completely different and new and original to them. A very DRBU moment, if I may.

How has financial aid played a role in your being at DRBU? What’s your service scholarship (work study) job?
Yes. lol. Wouldn’t have been able to attend, let alone come to California without that Dharma bread from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I’m pimped out frfr

I work on the magazine, wash dishes (ugh), and do admissions work, plus general amazing things to remind the campus that I am a child still

What are you interested in doing after DRBU? How does what you’re learning here carry out into the world?: cool stuff. Fun stuff. Somewhat ironically, staying here has taught me how much fun it is to have fun and be happy and be myself, and I plan on taking that out to the world, to play in the giant divine playground that existence is, and to help as many people as I can realize that. Objectively speaking, sure, I’ll probably do something in music, maybe writing because I’m really good at that, maybe art cause I like it too, maybe film, maybe philosophy and teaching because that would be fun lol. But there’s a lot of freedom of mind, intelligence, and confidence that I’ve gained staying here, you know! And it is pretty cool to be able to take that out, share, and maybe bring something back to share as well :’)

What would you say to someone who is thinking about applying to DRBU?
You should do it, probably. It kinda does stuff to you. 

If I was you, I would worry more about getting in here rather than getting in somewhere else.

Like this is exactly what, to me, a top-tier experience of education, learning, and fun and even, hell, love has been.

It’s probably gonna be a lot more difficult to get in here in a few years, given how this place is growing and expanding. So, take a shot. Definitely get involved and try it out, a few classes, a few sessions, and if you know it really won’t work, then there’s no shot there. That’s just something that won’t work for you, and that sucks, but merry going ‘bout your way it is, mate.