Send Jonnie and Chris to India!

AN OVERVIEWWe have been accepted into a Buddhist Studies program based in India this fall. Run by Antioch University, this 34-year old program will provide us with a unique and incredible experience of delving headfirst into one of the oldest world religions, right where it all began: Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained Enlightenment!

Who are we?
We are two undergraduate college students who have a penchant for adventure and a desire to study Buddhism in a deep and interactive way.

Christopher- I am a twenty yr old Psychology student at the University of the West, a Buddhist-founded school located in Los Angeles. I was baptized Presbyterian, but at 11 yrs old I walked into a Center for Spiritual Living and everything changed. Since then, every teacher, mentor, and friend I have made has helped to open me up to embodying greater Love and realizing the Oneness of everything, including all faiths. My interests are spirituality, world affairs, hiking, cooking, conflict resolution, and travelling.
Jonnie- I am a 19 year old community college student studying fine arts and film. I was exposed to the philosophy Science of Mind when I was about eight years old, which has instilled within me a desire to live life fully. Consequently, I yearn to explore as much as I can, especially from perspectives I am not accustomed to. I have also always felt a great connection to Eastern religions and culture, which I am very excited to explore and learn more about. I believe that this experience will serve as major inspiration with my art as well as how I create my future.

Why are we doing this?
Christopher- As soon as I heard about this opportunity, I thought, "Oh my god. This is incredible. I need to do this." I chose the university I currently attend because I was so interested in Eastern traditions. I feel a strong connection with the Buddhist philosophy, and in many ways I see it as Science of Mind with different terminology. In fact, one of my goals in India is to begin writing a book comparing Buddhism with the American-born New Thought philosophies, using interviews as a major guiding force. Yet ultimately, I am most excited for the unimaginable learning and growing experience this will be.

Jonnie-I have always been the shy, introverted type who doesn't take many risks. When Christopher brought this program to my attention, it sounded amazing, and I thought, what's holding me back from doing this too? The answer is, besides fear, nothing. And why did that need to hold me back? India has always been a dream destination for me and the idea of living there for 4 months was an incredibly opportunity! This program is going to be life changing for me. It has already redefined my beliefs of my personal power and I know that the frequent meditation and semi-rustic surroundings are going to ground me and give me a much needed sense of perspective. I would like to bring a camera with me to document my experience and also perhaps make a documentary on women in Buddhism as my independent project. All in all, I know I will come home with a new view of the world and a greater knowing of myself.

What will be be doing?
From September into November, we will be at the Burmese Monastery in Bodh Gaya, living on a vigorous daily schedule that begins with 5:30 meditation and continues throughout the day with a class in Buddhist Philosophy/Culture, Hindi Language, and the various Meditation Traditions of Buddhism.

From November into December, we will embark on a three-week independent study project that will allow us the freedom to travel in India and/or other parts of Southeast Asia applying what we have learned to do an in-depth, hands-on study of some aspect of the philosophy and culture.

Throughout our time, we will be blessed with expert lecturers, truly authentic teachings, and an abundance of opportunities to engage with Buddhist pilgrims, monks, and other significant figures. There is also a strong chance that we could meet and talk with the Dalai Lama.

For more information:

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Christopher Yamas 
Los Angeles, CA
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