Author and Scholar to Speak on Tibetan Buddhism

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jan Willis, a professor of religion at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., will speak about Tibetan Buddhism at Agnes Scott College on Jan. 20.

The lecture, “Distinctive Features of Tibetan Buddhism: Discussion and Practice Session,” will be at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Hall, Terrace Level. The lecture is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Bonnie Brown Johnson Women’s Health Lectureship.

Willis will also speak at the college’s Martin Luther King Jr. Opening Convocation at 1 p.m. on Jan. 20 at Presser Hall, Gaines Chapel. Her talk is titled “Who Then is My Neighbor?: The Ethics of Interconnectedness.”

One of the earliest American scholar-practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, Willis has published numerous essays and articles on Buddhist meditation, hagiography, women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and race. Her latest book was Dreaming Me: An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey (2001). Willis also is the author of The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (1972), On Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhumi (1979), Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition (1995); and the editor of Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (1989).

She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland and the U.S. for four decades and has taught courses in Buddhism for 32 years.

Time magazine named Willis one of six “spiritual innovators for the new millennium” in 2000. She was a recipient of Wesleyan University’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2003, and she was profiled in a 2005 Newsweek article about “Spirituality in America.”

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.