Buddhist monk speaks to students about love, compassion

By HAWKINS TEAGUE, Murray Ledger & Times, February 15, 2011

Murray, KY (USA) -- Tibetan Buddhist monk Tsering Phuntsok spoke in a crowded Mason Hall Auditorium Monday afternoon, speaking to students, faculty and administrators about his religion’s concepts of love and compassion.

Phuntsok has been a monk for 23 years, living and working in Dharamsala, the exiled home of the Dalai Lama, according to an MSU press release. Phuntsok works and studies with the Dalai Lama, has been an instructor at the monastery where he trained, and works on projects to address the needs of the Tibetan refugees and Indian people in Dharamsala. He also facilitates cultural exchange programs between U.S. students and the Tibetan community.

Jeff Wylie, senior lecturer in MSU’s college of health sciences and human services, moderated the event. Wylie said he first met Phuntsok while visiting some colleagues at Hopkinsville Community College and was excited to bring him to MSU.

Phuntsok said the core teaching of Buddhism was non-violence. He said Buddhism recognized that all humans are bound to suffer, but tries to counter that by determining the causes of suffering, which include covetousness and grasping something that one desperately wants. Other causes include “harsh speech,” “idle gushing,” killing stealing and sexual misconduct, he said.

“Compassion is to wish others free from suffering,” Phuntsok said.