Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation and True Buddha Foundation co-sponsored the 2010 Lotus Scholarship, a special project, to support Buddhist Studies. We are featuring each scholarship recipient here and in True Buddha News. Lindsey DeWitt is pursuing a doctorate in Buddhist studies at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her dissertation will focus on the social and historical dimensions of Buddhism and the position of women and gender therein, emphasizing the importance of Buddhist women and clarifying their contributions. Through her work, Lindsey hopes to enrich modern understandings of Buddhist history and culture. After acquiring her Ph.D, she plans to become a Buddhist studies professor.
1. Question: What inspired your decision to study Buddhism?
Lindsey’s answer: Growing up in Wyoming did not facilitate the learning of foreign cultures and religions, so the first course on Asian history and religion I took in college was unbelievably eye-opening. I dove in head first after that moment, intrigued most by Buddhist philosophy and the powerful ways it has influenced culture and history over the centuries. I could not imagine another course of study that was more meaningful or natural to me.
2. Question: Describe your greatest accomplishment so far while in pursuit of your degree in Buddhist Studies.
Lindsey’s answer: Taking my book knowledge to Asia and leading students through temples and sacred sites teaching them about this rich tradition that had inspired the course of my life
3. Question: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Lindsey’s answer: A state of mind free from fear of challenges that embraces acceptance and always leads with kindness.
4. Question: In your next life, who or what would you like to be?
Lindsey’s answer: I could not spoil the surprise for myself by contemplating this too much now.
5. Question: What impacts have the study of Buddhism had on your life?
Lindsey’s answer: It is difficult to gauge the impacts of Buddhist Studies on my life. Surely it is far more than the amount of schoolwork I have accomplished, or the academic accolades I have been bestowed. It also manifests in my basic outlook on the world, in my relationship to the world, and my relationships in the world.
6. Question: How has the Lotus Scholarship helped your study of Buddhism?
Lindsey’s answer: The Lotus Scholarship fell out of the skies, like a lotus petal dropping in fact, at a time when financial matters had begun to invade my thoughts to an unhealthy degree. I cannot describe how meaningful, on many levels, this wonderful gift has been. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.