USAO to host Tibetan monks for sixth annual Ableson Religious Reconciliation Lecture

Banner for the Ableson Religious Reconciliation lecture series

USAO to host Tibetan monks for sixth annual Ableson Religious Reconciliation Lecture


The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma will host three Tibetan Buddhist monks on March 28 as part of the sixth annual Ableson Religious Reconciliation Lecture series. Starting at 7 p.m. in the USAO Ballroom, the Venerable Geshe Lobsang Chophel will give a short talk entitled “Tibetan Buddhist approaches to peace and compassion” and then lead a discussion with the audience. He will be joined by fellow monks Dorjee Tsering and Padma Dimdul.

Closing out a week of activities with Norman Cultural Connection, Chophel and his fellow monks will travel to USAO for the first of three lectures about resolving conflicts from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective. The following two lectures will take place during the 2017 summer and fall trimesters and will cover Buddhist approaches to violence and reconciliation, respectively.

Venerable Geshe Chophel entered monastic life at seven years old. After nearly four decades studying and practicing Buddhism, he attained the highest degrees offered in his lineage, similar to a western Ph.D. He has studied with many renowned Buddhist teachers, including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Chophel has been a professor of Buddhist philosophy at Gaden Shartse Monastery in Mundgod, India since 1995. He led the Compassion Tour in 2014 and is returning to Oklahoma to become a resident teacher at Norman Cultural Connection.

“We are so honored to be hosting these three monks at USAO,” said Dr. Zach Simpson, USAO associate professor of philosophy and religious studies. “This is a rare opportunity for our students to learn about another culture and another religious tradition’s approaches to peace and conflict directly from a renowned practitioner of this discipline.”

Norman Cultural Connection is a local nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the awareness, understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity. Through educational programs, public outreach and opportunities for dialogue, they seek to create a supportive community for the development of personal and collective well-being.

The Ableson Religious Reconciliation Lecture is named in honor of USAO Alumni Hall of Fame member U.S. Navy Captain, Bradford Edward Ableson. A visionary in religious reconciliation, an architect of the modern model for military chaplains and a chaplain to President Bill Clinton, Ableson graduated magna cum laude from USAO in 1980.

Ableson served a 25-year naval career, providing combat ministry for the Marines during the first Gulf War, serving as an executive to the chief of Navy chaplains and, later, as command chaplain of the U.S. Strategic Command where he served as special advisor on matters of religion at the strategic level. While at the Strategic Command, Ableson was named priest-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral – a position he held until his death at the age of 50 in 2009.