CMU professor translates teachings of Dalai Lama

Guy Newland author of the book "From Here to Enlightenment: Teachings of the Spiritual Faith."

A professor of religion at Central Michigan University translated the teachings of the Dalai Lama earlier this month and compiled them into the book "From Here to Enlightenment: Teachings of the Spiritual Faith."

In 2008, the Dalai Lama agreed to travel to America and teach the ways and meanings of Tsongkhapa's classic text "The Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path To Enlightenment" at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn. He spoke to more than 4,000 people of all different races, sex and religions.

Guy Newland began the translation process in 2009 and finished in 2010. Newland compiled the six days of teachings at Lehigh University into a book that could reach out to Westerners and people of all religions worldwide.

"I was invited to do it by Joshua Cutler, director of the Tibetan Learning Center of Washington, New Jersey," Newland said.

Cutler and his wife Diana helped organize the event with Lehigh University in 2008 after many years of preparation and projects to help push the event forward. Newland had previously worked with them to translate in the 1990s.

In order to begin the process, Newland had the transcripts and mp3 recordings from the teachings at Lehigh University sent overseas to a friend in India. From there, they were translated into and written down in Tibetan, which Newland was able to read and translate into English.

“Part of his purpose of being Dalai Lama is to not have different religions pitted against each other, but seeing religion as different ways of helping people with different kinds of minds,” Newland said.

Newland began his life with aspirations of being a scientist, mainly interested in working on the theories and findings of the beginning of the universe and how things exist.

As he grew older, his desire to find an answer to how things exist grew more philosophical, and he found that science would not give him the answers he was searching for.

“I started to see those questions not as scientific ones but (as) existential ones,” Newland said.

A long-time follower of Buddhism, Newland has had extensive experience with translating, compiling and editing important Buddhist teachings.

Beginning in the early 1990s, Newland collaborated with a few friends and colleagues to publish the teachings of Tsongkhapa's classic text into three volumes that were released in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Throughout his many years of work with Buddhist texts, Newland has had the chance to meet the Dalai Lama on several occasions, including his visit to Lehigh University. In 1985, he had his first private audience with the Dalai Lama.

Newland described him as very charismatic and understanding.

“He has a personality that most people, even when they disagree with him, find immensely enchanting,” Newland said. “He doesn't get fooled by his own publicity.”


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