CONWAY, Ark. (February
17, 2020) — Hendrix College Associate Professor of Religious Studies Dr.
William M. Gorvine has been selected as a 2020-21 Fulbright U.S. Scholar. He will
use the funding to explore the relationship between traditional Buddhist
practices and secular training in mindfulness and compassion.
will have him spending several months in India, working with Tibetan monastic
scholars at Menri Monastery, where he has maintained connections with the
community of monks for the past two decades.
“They were important
contributors to the book project, and I’m excited to work with them again,” he
said. His 2019 book, Envisioning a
Tibetan Luminary: The Life of a Modern Bönpo Saint (Oxford University
Press), is based on fieldwork conducted in eastern Tibet and within the Bön
exile community in India.
Since his time as
a Fulbright Scholar in India while a graduate student at the University of
Virginia, when he also took an immersive pre-dissertation trip to Tibet,
Gorvine has studied the living Tibetan minority tradition of Bön and its
influence on broader contemplative practices. For this project, he will examine
key works that provide instruction and advice on contemplative practices that
correspond to popular forms of secular mindfulness and compassion training. He will
explore how certain traditional Tibetan materials connected with current
contemplative approaches have the potential to contribute to and complicate
practitioners’ understanding of their everyday endeavors.
Gorvine plans for
this project to culminate in a new book that will highlight the ongoing
influence of writer and teacher Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (1859-1934). The project
will also involve Tibetan language work and original translation—meaning it
will make some works available to an English-speaking audience for the first
time. The project will explore how Tibetan texts influence contemporary
mindfulness discourse, and how they prove meaningful or effective in Tibetan
cultural contexts, while considering how shifting contexts and interpretations have a bearing on their use in other
settings, such as the contemporary mindfulness movement.
“I hope this
project will provide a course correction of sorts—a reminder that mindfulness
practices have origins outside of the social sciences, which is where secular
culture often places them,” Gorvine said.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international
educational exchange program, designed to build lasting connections between the
people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of
Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional
achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their
respective fields. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual
appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State.
Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations
around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which
operates in over 160 countries worldwide.
Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late
U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given
more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of
all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research,
exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international
concerns. For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S.
Department of State, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright or contact the
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office at 202-632-6452 or ECA-Press@state.gov.
A private liberal
arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns
recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is
featured in Colleges
That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About
Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix
as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876,
Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To
learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.