Saturday 24 August 2019

Tibetan monk bringing peace of mind to university

Tibetan Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten at NUI Galway
Tibetan Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten at NUI Galway

Caroline Crawford

A Tibetan monk will help an Irish university to become the first in Europe to adopt a mindfulness culture.

NUI Galway is holding a series of 'Mindful Way' lectures to help students and staff deal with the stresses of daily life.

Tibetan Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten, based at the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland, will deliver classes on mindfulness on campus, as part of the university's 'Mindful Way Initiative'.

He described the initiative as "a powerful blueprint for the world" as it would produce evidence-based research on the power of the meditative process.

He said teaching mindfulness to students helped them develop emotional intelligence, resilience and a more genuine understanding of happiness.

"I really believe if we can teach mindfulness to students, we are preparing a more mindful society for the future. It gives people greater ability to deal with stress and live harmoniously with one another," he added.

Thubten, who has worked with a large number of private companies including Google, said the business world was also beginning to realise the benefits of introducing mindfulness classes.

"My interest is in helping people but that has a knock-on effect. People are realising now that if the staff are stressed, work goes down the drain. People end up sick. There have been a lot of studies about how when you bring mindfulness into a company the amount of time off for stress-related illness reduces and people make less mistakes. Mindfulness is a mental fitness," he added.

Professor Lokesh Joshi, vice-President of research at NUI Galway, said the aim of the Mindful Way lecture series was to look at ways to provide staff and students with the necessary tools to deal with life's stresses.

He said the programme would focus on the evidence-based impact of mindfulness on performance and well-being.

"We will be looking at the scientific evidence of mindfulness and focusing on bringing different researchers within the university together on this.

"We hope that within five years there will be a visible, measurable difference, not only to people's well-being but also the productivity of staff and students," he added.

Irish Independent

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