Friday, October, 17th, 2014 University Chaplaincy Stories
The Venerable Upali Sraman served as Tufts Buddhist Chaplaincy Intern during the 2014-2015 academic year and rejoined the University Chaplaincy team in November 2015 as Buddhist in Residence.
Born in Bangladesh, Venerable Upali became a Buddhist monk in 2002 and was educated in Sri Lanka since 2003. He graduated from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, specializing in Sanskrit, and he received a fellowship to study about religion, modernity, and Indian history at the Center for Modern Indian Studies in Goettingen University of Germany for the winter semester 2011-2012.
Academically, his subjects of interest include South Asian religious studies in general and Buddhist studies in particular. He enjoys reading ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts and gleaning practical wisdom for the modern world. He enjoys discussing the features of modernity and the interconnections between religion and politics.
In 2009 he was the English medium winner in an anti-corruption assignment competition that was organized by Transparency International Sri Lanka. From 2007-2011 he was a regular contributor to the online Bodhi Journal which was published on the www.buddhistdoor.com website. He also contributed essays in other academic journals and presented papers in several conferences in Sri Lanka.
Before coming to the USA in 2013, he taught at the Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy (SIBA) for one year and was an associate editor of the Sri Lanka International Journal of Buddhist Studies. He taught Pali, Sanskrit, Sri Lankan Sangha Administration, Vinaya Literature, and Dhamma Communication.
At the center of his studies and daily life is meditation as gleaned mostly from early Buddhist literature and contemplative traditions. He has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 2003. He was introduced to Vipassana meditation in 2009. He has also led meditation in various formal and informal settings.
Presently he is a Master of Divinity student at Harvard Divinity School. Being a student in the USA, he has been amazed to discover how students and people in America have a deep interest in mindfulness meditation. It was a revelatory experience to learn that mindfulness meditation and Buddhist teachings have the capacity to help people in their stressful situations in daily lives and to solve relationship problems. This realization has inspired him to take up a chaplaincy residency at Tufts University.
Being a chaplaincy resident at Tufts, Venerable Upali is interested in supporting people interested in meditation and helping people however he can. He is also very much interested in working in an interfaith environment, sharing his experiences and learning from his colleagues.
Apart from studies and work, he has a deep interest in Bengali folk music and songs (especially Bauls), watching documentaries and sometimes comedy films, and spending time with friends.
To learn more about The Venerable Upali Sraman, please visit the following link from Harvard Divinity School: